Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday night speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver was as effective as her gaudy, orange pant-suit. It kept my attention, served its purpose and was aesthetically disturbing.
It all began with a stunning video homage to the former first lady’s life work followed by a heartfelt introduction by daughter Chelsea Clinton, whom I actually had the opportunity to speak with when she came to campus last semester.
I asked Chelsea Clinton one simple question: If any song could play whenever you entered a room, what would it be? Her answer: “Beautiful Day” by U2. My unspoken answer: Of course you would. To be honest, I was expecting something a little more creative like “Get It Shawty” by Lloyd, but that’s what I get for setting high expectations for public figures.
However, at this particular venue, Clinton, with her aggressive one-liners and call for party unity, met the expectations of pundits on cable television.
This address was highly anticipated because of the heated primary race in which Barack Obama emerged as the party’s nominee for president. According to a Gallup Poll conducted in March, 28 percent of Clinton supporters claimed they would throw their support behind GOP nominee John McCain if Obama won the primaries. This fear of a party severance has continued to resonate in the weeks leading up to the convention. As predicted, unity was a consistent theme in Clinton’s speech.
“The time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose,” Clinton said.
It was particularly nice when all her sad anecdotes about middle-class American struggles were tied to unity. If she wanted a smooth transition from depression to excitement, it was flawlessly executed.
Some of the aesthetic choices in regard to broadcasting on MSNBC were fascinating also. I especially liked when Clinton spoke about helping every child live up to its God-given potential, the camera cut to a grinning Latino boy stolen right out of an orthodontist commercial. It showed the same kid two more times, along with a variety of spectators from different ethnic and age groups. They planned that one out nicely.
Clinton also stepped up to the plate and went on the offense against McCain, a move which until that point had not been made during the convention.
Despite her amusing little quirks, Clinton gracefully achieved what was necessary: she pushed to rid the party of its internal kinks and pointed the arrow at McCain. We will await the Republican response from St. Paul, Minn., next week while the Obama camp capitalizes on momentum garnered from its convention.
As tactful as Clinton’s speech was in effort to unite the party, there is still one question I’d like to ask her the next time she’s strolling around the campus commons: Is coming in second place really like kissing your sister?
Joey Parr is a senior radio-TV-film and political science major from Fort Worth.