Lew Frederick

Damn he is good.

Bill Clinton is just plain amazing. The man can take over a room and it does not matter how large that room might be.

Let me tell you, when he is only nine rows away, the energy is truly a force of nature.

The Oregon Delegation sits right behind Iowa, right in front of the podium. We get the full force of any speaker. My hands are sore from the applause.

Clinton’s words, phrases and incredible analysis of the status of the country, the world and the social and political atmosphere should be studied carefully.

“Strength and Wisdom are not opposing values!”

And he followed a series of speakers who, in any other setting, would have made history on their own...

Hillary Clinton’s sense of the future and praise of John Kerry and Bill Clinton had an eloquence, a grace to it. It had, like many of the presentations last night, a sense of hope, a basic statement that we can and will do much better once we see real leadership in the White House, Congress and at all levels of the political spectrum.

The personal got political with comments from Kerry’s shipmate-now minister.

History’s promises turned unused and wasted opportunities were obvious in Jimmy Carter’s steady haunting speech.

And if I ever hear someone try to characterize Al Gore as stiff, I will remind them of the pointed, clear focus of his comments.

A sports analogy might work here… and since this town is a baseball haven… Despite the fastballs thrown during the last few years, we had a series of homeruns last night from damn near everyone on the roster… and the equivalent of a Grand Slam from Bill Clinton.


Daytime speeches and pundit attempts

Speeches, speeches everywhere. I heard from at least 15 luminaries outside of the convention floor during the course of one day: Military leaders, religious leaders, and of course, political leaders. It will be difficult to absorb all of the phrases and stunning ideas presented so far.

One idea surges to the front: “We are at a crossroads. This is a time of decision and that is recognized by some many people.”

The energy to make that change permeates the air. It is almost thicker than the Boston humidity. Everywhere. Everyone.

And despite their best attempts, even the cynics feel the impact, though they’d like to dismiss it. And they try.

There are phrases that people like to throw around. Reporters and supposed pundits are often guilty of this. They believe it places them and others above the fray. The one that comes to mind right now is: “Preaching to the choir.” It is a way of trying to say that a speaker or group of speakers can’t really convince others so they are only talking to those who already agree with them. For those tossing out the criticism it is a way of saying, we’re tired of showing that people agree with you, we need to see conflict and if we don’t see that conflict we are going to create some if necessary. Baring no creation, we will attack you for saying the same thing to your supporters that you say everywhere else.

Well here’s a clue. The reason some things are said to the choir and to others is because they resonate with both. The reason the choir needs to hear those things is because they need to see support among the pews as well as out on the street. The choir needs to understand where the speaker is coming from and reinforce that with their own personal experience to take it out to the community and create change. The speaker has already seen the reaction and needs to keep the message going while informing the choir about what is working.

And it is not just a matter of repetition or “sticking to the talking points” to simply manipulate people because there is no substance behind the rhetoric. That propaganda approach is used so cynically by some political leaders that it has become a regular segment on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It is shown clearly, forcefully in “Outfoxed”.

Preaching to choir… you better.

Right now the choir is the American public. They see without a doubt the mess created during the last 3.5 years. They see without a doubt the lack of leadership. They see without a doubt the need for a change to a respected, concerned and hopeful future.

There will be people throughout the country nodding their heads and some shouting “Amen” when the speakers come to the various podiums this week. The only difference we will see between the members of the choir is how large that choir loft is: a number of the soloists are present in Boston… the harmony is in Atlanta, Clarksdale, Prairie View, Colorado Springs, Sikeston, Watertown, Cleveland, Harrisburg, Little Rock, Oakland, Twin Falls, Jacksonville, Asheville, St. Peter, Tuscon, Macon, Richmond, Spooner, Port Townsend, Ogden and Portland.

That is one helluva choir.

Can I get an “Amen!”?

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    Let me tell you, when he is only nine rows away, the energy is truly a force of nature.

    I don't know--I was three thousand miles away and don't recall ever being more impressed. You didn't have to be there to experience--which is truly delightful. (I'm sure your experience was better, of course.)

    Incidentally, speaking of the choir, Reinhart, who is in Boston ('embedded,' as he styles it) wrote a column about them. He couldn't bring any reasonable criticism of what the DNC's offering, so he attacked the exuberent conventioneers. He mocked them for being so ferociously anti-Bush, as if this is somehow deplorable.

    Makes me wonder, though--will conventioneers be so united FOR Bush in New York?

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    One of the marvels of Clinton' speech (and I say all of this as someone who was never quite to Clinton cheerleader so many others were) is how well it served as a kind of microcosm of everything the convention as a whole needed to do. Much of the media talk about the convention has been about what Mark Shield's on PBS deemed the "persuadables" -- not just undecided voters, but undecided voters with high negatives against Bush. You can see that goal in Clinton's speech. His long litany of distinctions between Bush and Kerry, and who to vote for depending on what you support (e.g., if you support taking cops off the streets and putting guns back on the streets, then by all means vote for the GOP), was Clintons pitch to the persuadables. It was saying, "We know you don't like Bush all that much, and you know what? You're right not to. Here's why. Look at what he andhis people support. Is that really what you believe? I don't think so. I think you believe what WE believe."

    And Carter. Jimmy Carter. I scared the crap out of my cat because when it become clear that he was going to let loose with both barrels (albeit in his lowkey statesman-like delivery), I believe that I shouted at the top of my lungs, Go Jimmy Go!" They sent the 80-year-old out to deliver a smackdown and damn if he didn't do so.

  • Moses Ross (unverified)

    As I was watching Jimmy Carter give a scathing review of the Bush policy failures in foriegn affairs, I was reminded of the pride I had in my county and in my government when President Carter signed the Camp David accords with Begin and Sadat. There was a reason he was there at that moment in time. His faith in the peace process gave me hope as a younger man that our government could be an instrument of positive change.

    I lost that faith during the Reagan/Bush years. It had been replaced by a cynicism that the selfish manipulation of government by a few could override the needs of the many... of the greater good. I began to lose my pride in my government.

    Bill Clinton changed that for me. He reinstilled in me the hope that our government could be used properly, to help all people, not just a priviledged few. He began to restablish my pride in my country to be that instrument of positive change.

    Many times, during the last 3.5 years, I have thought back to those feelings of pride that President Clinton inspired into me. They have brought me through the Bushite dark ages and motivated me to work harder for the Democratic Party to affect the positive change that we need. Instead of the frustrations that I felt during the Reagan/Bush years, I now feel hopeful, because I know that it doesnt have to be that way, they way they would like you to feel, that feeling of hopelessness as they try to take away the power of the individual.

    Bill Clinton showed through his actions that our government can be run for the common good. His speech last night reminded us of that. Bill, we missed ya.

    His passing of the torch to John Kerry should motivate us all to work even harder to make sure that he is elected. If only to reestablish that pride, that pride in our government, our leaders and most important, our country.

  • tammy (unverified)

    My, my how easily we choose to forget the mess Clinton made in the White House. People are so fickle. I don't want to be around if Kerry gets elected President. You all just gloss over Kerry's voting record and Clinton talking to foreign dignitaries while Monica is busy down below!

    To reestablish pride, Moses? So what sort of pride did we feel when the Democrats were last in office? I never felt any pride at all of Clintons embarrassing scandals. The entire world was laughing at us! Get real!

    Bush has restored pride and given us a reason to salute our flag once again!

    Clinton gave us spots on dresses and who knows what Kerry will do! I tremble to see it!

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    Clinton gave us spots on dresses and who knows what Kerry will do! I tremble to see it!

    I'll take spots on dresses over wars of choice and extremist erosion of civil liberties any day.

  • Torea (unverified)

    Clinton's speech, in a word, was dazzling. That you must revert to a criticism of Democrats that hinges on one man's indiscretions is almost shameful. While I do agree that Clinton and his tenure merit circumspect evaluation -- it's difficult to overlook the failure of the United States government (among others) in dealing with Rwanda, Sudan -- your argument is poorly constructed, just another distraction from the "real issues" (if any exist).

  • tammy (unverified)

    You know what? I rarely dabble in politics. My blog is not a political blog. My family is basically non polictical. But when you have a President making out in the White house you know this coutry is in trouble. And the reason I "reverted to criticism of one mans indiscretions" is because that one man was being held up by these bloggers as such a wonderful person!

    And yes, my arguement is poorly constructed. I don't have brainy things to say about politics. I don't like politics. I pay little heed to politics. I, however do understand the difference between a President who trys to do the right thing and a President who uses his position as an opportunity to commit adultery and then lies to the entire nation about it. That cannot be overlooked.

    Having said that I will admit something. I think Clinton is incredibly sexy. He exudes sexuality. But that doesn't make him a good man or President!

  • Jonathan (unverified)

    Oh, you're right, how dare any party/person do anything short of playing to the lowest common denominator. I have to agree on the general premise, though ... Eisenhower had an affair, and look how he tarnished our country. How simple is it to understand that the "Clinton issue" of Monica Lewinsky is not something Clinton did, but something Ken Starr did? He forced the Lewinsky "issue" day-in and day-out brought the stain for the world to see. That means (in my mind, at least), that the fault for the indiscretion is borne by many in D.C., and does not deflate Clinton's remarkable accomplishments.

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    But when you have a President making out in the White house you know this coutry is in trouble.

    Not half us much trouble as the country is in with this president who isn't making out in the White House. So what's your point?

  • tammy (unverified)

    Ya know Bix, you and I never see eye to eye. What's my point? My point is I hate everything Kerry stands for and has voted for! I love President Bush! So what's your point?

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    My point is that (while I understand that we're supposed to be using this site for productive discussion), it's utterly ludicrous and nonsensical for people to be (1) fanatically passionate in their hatred for Clinton because he did stupid sexual things in office, and also be (2) fanatically passionate in their support for a man who lied to bring the nation to war and has not respect for the Constitution. It's irrational and it's dangerous.

  • Mellow Man (unverified)

    Tammy, You're the kind of voter the Republicans love: delighting in your ignorance, but happy to be led by emotion. Hate everything Kerry votes for? Did you know he voted for the war in Iraq?

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