The US presidential elections are barely seven weeks away. The Charlotte Democratic Convention and the Tampa Republican convention are over. It’s time now to assess who will have the last laugh.
If political oratory has any impact on the fate of the elections, the Democrats without doubt have an edge. I was watching the Charlotte (North Carolina) Democratic convention on CNN live. Former President Bill Clinton’s eloquence and his electrifying presence gave Obama a head-start. Clinton’s elegant personal style and handsome demeanor delighted the crowd. His speech was particularly captivating for its balance, vigor and enthusiasm of delivery. The feel-good vibes at the convention is surely a positive impact of Clinton’s speech.
“If you want a ‘you’re on your own’, ‘winner take all’ society, you should support the Republican ticket,” Clinton said. “If you want a country of shared responsibility, a ‘we’re all in this together’ society, you should vote for Barack Obama and vice -president Joe Biden.”
After his spirited and rousing speech, one Republican strategist even went to the extent of declaring it “the moment that re-elected” White House incumbent Barack Obama.
Clinton delivered one of the most effective offensives against Mitt Romney, ripping apart the Republicans’ economic argument. “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learnt to hate them the way the far-right that now controls the party seems to hate our President and a lot of other Democrats,” Clinton said to the thunderous applause from the capacity crowd at Charlotte.
During the mid-term election in 2010, the Democrats also roped in Clinton to boost their chances at the polls. But, Clinton could not save the party from a major drubbing despite his massive efforts to help raise money and boost morale. In that election, where the Republicans were fuelled by the rise of a new conservative grassroots movement and anger over Obama’s economic and healthcare policies, Democrats lost 63 seats in the lower legislative chamber and came close to losing majority control of the Upper chamber.
Compared to 2010, when the party was demoralized and sharply divided over healthcare reforms, Democrats are now far more united against the Republicans.
The Republican convention at Tampa, on the other hand, was more about showing hatred for President Obama rather than support for Romney. The contrast was also evident in the packaging of the two conventions.
The Republicans focused their convention on what was essentially a political repair job to “humanize” Romney in the eyes of the voters who see him as an “out-of-touch” multi-millionaire.
Also, the Republicans had to tip-toe around political landmines such as Romney’s role as Massachusetts Governor over universal healthcare policies and gay rights in 1990.
In June this year, I happened to be in Washington DC and I had the chance to speak to an American about the prospects of Obama and Romney. Walking along the 17th Street on the Connecticut Avenue (Where White House is located), the American, who works in the Department of Veteran Affairs, told me that the November 6 election would be a close fight. “I would like to give Obama a second term. Obama will win, but it’d be a close fight,” he added.
Talking of Romney’s prospects, he said the Republicans themselves were deeply divided and many of them have reservations about Romney.
Meanwhile, critics also questioned Romney’s decision to appear on a soft focus daytime chat show on Friday, addressing trivial issues like what he wears to bed each night instead of focusing on the Middle East.
So, it’s advantage Obama.