The Makings of a Majority Party...?

Paul Evans

The major themes echoing from the convention suggest the President is ready for a fight over who is best prepared for the duties of the office - a fight he is spoiling for.

Pundits across the political spectrum agree that the Democratic National Convention was a powerful tool for President Obama and his campaign for re-election in 2012.

It was a passionate, thoughtful display of the party's best and brightest.

In its shadow, the media elite are scrambling to find something new to say about the week. And with commercials to sell (mortgages to pay), the talking heads have indeed compared almost everything: messaging, speeches, strategies, and tactical discipline.

In the end, the consensus appears to be that the Democrats used their opportunity well, while the Republicans "blew" an opportunity to showcase the President as a failure.

Frankly, these conventions matter very little to "non-believers." But the perceived momentum coming out of these spectacles can play at least a minor role in shaping the landscape for the week that follows.

The new environment is charged with a more confident, less apologetic Democratic Party than seen in years - perhaps decades.

This did not happen by accident. It was shaped through the language - and style - of the key players.

Most point to the speeches of Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, and President Obama as a targeted display of the man, the mission, and the seasoning of our President. It was a thoughtful, well-articulated mosaic of what must be done, why it matters, and how an election can matter in the lives of everyday Americans.

Michelle Obama performed brilliantly; it is hard to view the President as distanced or cold as we might have been able to do, prior to her comments. Through her experience, we learned more about the man.

When listening to Bill Clinton we were reminded of better times. Americans liked Bubba, and past transgressions have faded (especially when put into context with the sins of his successor). Clinton made an artful, inspiring case for the President. It will be hard to refute.

And Obama himself - with admissions of failures made, lessons learned, and our shared history through the recent crises helped himself immeasurably.

Gone was the lofty rhetoric of yesteryear.

In its place was the language of a tested man, the words of a President burdened by a nation at war, a global economy in recovery.

Obama presented himself as a President - as the President - as OUR President.

The major themes echoing from the convention suggest the President is ready for a fight over who is best prepared for the duties of the office - a fight he is spoiling for.

The minor themes include an emerging Middle Class ethic, a definition of government as helper (instead of problem), and the Democratic Party as the place where veterans are valued.

Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of this convention season was how different the parties have become - from the parties they "used to be."

The Democrats, not the Republicans, appeared the most competent on the economy.

The Democrats, not the Republicans, appeared the most experienced in the affairs of international diplomacy.

The Democrats, not the Republicans, appeared the most prepared for the tough fights against enemies that still seek us harm.

And the Democrats, not the Republicans, appeared to be the party of faith in the foundation of our American Principles - of optimism surprisingly absent in Tampa.

The Democrats effectively rewrote what "supporting the troops" means in the 21st Century.

Obama can make the hard choices.

Obama will act decisively.

And Obama will fight for the care our warriors require after the fight.

This is a salient point: if the veterans determine the Democratic Party is the rightful "home" of those associated with military families and their care - than we will realize a significant demographic shift over the coming years.

As a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq - I was heartened to see the President, Vice-President, and their wives fighting for the men and women in uniform. I am proud of my party for fighting for our veterans'.

And I'm proud of my party for redefining the meaning of "strength" in the 21st Century.

It is time for us to recognize that strength means the Peace Corps, at least as much as it means the Marine Corps - America is larger than the might of our military, and it came through.

Time will tell, but this convention may well have been the moment when the Republicans "lost" their primacy on foreign policy/veterans' issues.

The elements of a national majority party were revealed this week.

It will be exciting to see if the Republican Party continues to devolve into what is effectively a regional power.

And it will be interesting to see how this transformation manifests itself in Oregon politics...

connect with blueoregon