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(Full video and transcripts available at the Official DNC Convention website.)

Tuesday’s convention theme was “Renewing Americas’ Promise”, but with it being the 88th anniversary of the passage on the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, and with it being the night of Hillary’s big speech, women seemed to dominate the stage more than men.

Following a surprisingly hard-hitting opening speech by (of all people) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the most camera face-time was granted to women speakers such as Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Katherine Marcano, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa flood victim; Anna Burger, Officer with SEIU & 1st Chair of America’s newest labor federation, “Change to Win”; Pauline Beck, a Homecare worker & member of SEIU from Oakland, California; and The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona.

One speech worthy of special mention was that of Gloria Craven, a laid-off North Carolina textile worker with huge medical bills. Not an elected official or leader of any organization, and by my initial impression, looked like a mistake to have such a large, heavy-set woman in a faded blue mu-mu address a national audience with a thick Southern accent. But she then related the story of how, after working in a textile mill for 30 years, her company went bankrupt and 8,000 employees suddenly found themselves without a job. She developed medical problems, but with no insurance and little savings, she could not afford medical attention. Most people in her town never finished High School, but when the mill closed down, President Bush told everyone to “go back to school” (presumably college). Both her and her 62 year old husband did, but not everyone has the time or the money to go back to school, and there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people in their 60’s just starting out in a new trade. This was a very personal story from someone that I think many Americans can identify with. While you can expect the Republicans to put on their own parade of people telling us just how well they are doing in the Bush economy, that’ll go over like a lead balloon because most Americans know better.

Knowing how Republicans think, I highly expect to see a number of veterans parade across the RNC stage talking about how we’re “winning” the war in Iraq and how “pulling out now would be a disaster”. By contrast, the Democrats have yet to put a single veteran on stage. This is partly due to the military code of conduct that you “don’t criticize a sitting Commander-in-Chief”, but all ignorant voters will see is one Party (the Republicans) “honoring the troops” by allowing so many of them to speak in support of the current strategy in Iraq, while the Democrats look like “they don’t want anything to do with the military”, seemingly “ashamed of our troops” and unable to find any military personnel that agrees with them. No one ever said the average American voter was bright.

The most entertaining speech of the night, which Primetime networks popped into the middle of, was that of Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey. The pundits were quick to repeat the popular misconception that Senator Casey’s father, the late former governor of Pennsylvania, was barred from speaking at the 1992 Democratic Convention “because he was pro-life”. No. The governor was not permitted to speak because he refused to endorse the Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton, for President. And you don’t bestow an honored speaking slot to someone that refuses to endorse the nominee. But still, the myth continues. Senator Casey also noted that he “strongly” disagreed with Senator Obama over the issue of abortion, but was throwing his full support behind him. Thus, he received a speaking slot… and made the most of it.

Two of the best lines of the night belonged to Senator Casey: “When you vote with George Bush over 90% of the time, that’s not a maverick, that’s a side-kick!” to which the audience laughed and cheered. He continued, “We can’t afford four more years of Bush/McCain politics. Not four more years. Four more months!”, which provoked the crowd into chants of “Four more months! Four more months!”

Casey was followed by the nights’ marquee speaker, Senator Hillary Clinton, who, despite delivering a great pro-Democrat, anti-McCain speech, failed (in my mind) to give a rousing endorsement of Senator Obama. I was waiting for an “I was wrong” or “Since then I’ve learned…” moment from her, but none was forthcoming. Only once did she ever directly address those who would dare vote for John McCain: “Were you supporting ME, or what our Party stands for?” (not an exact quote), trying to remind any “PUMA’s” out there that a vote for John McCain means voting for someone that supports everything she’s against. But I still came away feeling I never heard an enthusiastic endorsement of Barack Obama.

The biggest “missed opportunity” of the night was Chelsey Clinton’s introduction of her mother. Though preceded by a video retrospective of her mother & grandmother, she then introduced her mother without additional comment. What I was really hoping to hear was Chelsey tell any potential “PUMA”s still out there, “When I was 14 years old, Senator McCain told the joke: ‘Why is Chelsey Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.‘ Now, I want any of my mother’s supporters still thinking about voting for John McCain to look me in the eye and tell me you’re going to vote for that man.” That would of been great. Sadly, a missed opportunity in my opinion.

Republicans were all over the airwaves immediately following Hillary’s speech and the next morning to continue the “Obama should of picked Hillary” meme to try and sway disenfranchised Hillary supporters over to McCain. I wish I could say people are bright enough to see through this, but they wouldn’t be doing it if they knew it wouldn’t work to a least some extent. I mean, REALLY, are you going to take advice from Rudy Giuliani on who to vote for? Do these voters REALLY think these people genuinely have the Democratic Party’s best interests at heart when they tell us “what a mistake it was” for Obama to not pick Clinton? (To quote Saturday Night Live) “I mean, really.”

On a humorous side note, upon learning that Senator Obama would be delivering his Thursday night speech before a record 70,000 supporters in the open-air Invesco Field football stadium Thursday night, “Focus on the Family” leader James Dobson encouraged his fellow religious wingnuts to “pray for rain“. So if God sends a deluge to spoil Obama’s big night, obviosly it would mean God agrees with them and doesn’t want Barack Obama to be elected.

Which had me thinking, if instead of being spoiled by rain, Senator Obama is “rewarded” with beautiful weather the night of his big speech, would not the opposite be true?

Weather forecast for Obama’s Thursday night speech:
Denver Thursday forecast

Notice the surrounding days. Almost like “one day of good weather” is being cleared out just for Senator Obama’s big speech. Hmm.

ADDENDUM: A quick check ofthe blogs this morning reveals that anyone that dare disagree (as I do) that Hillary’s speech was anything but a Home Run, are being met with open hostility. To those who feel as such, I’d argue that you aren’t thinking like a “PUMA” or a “Republican” who are saying that Hillary’s speech is evidence “the wrong candidate got the nomination”. We wouldn’t still be hearing this nonsense if she had stressed Senator Obama’s strengths more. – Mugsy