What Really Matters
by Marc Steiner, in Denver at the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Everyone is fulminating over Biden. Was he a good pick, should it have been Hillary, the negative things said about Obama in the past …Will Obama have a bounce after the convention .. will it be nullified by the RNC. blah blah blah …The election starts after Labor Day. The one mystery in this convention will be answered on Tuesday and Wednesday nights when Hillary and Bill speak, respectively. Will they behave, will they support Obama unabashedly and fully? And even more important, will they stand with him on Thursday and pledge to campaign with him. That is the biggest question of this convention. It will be the substance that will make or break this convention, Obama’s anticipated awe-inspiring acceptance speech on Thursday, not withstanding. All the rest is pundit window dressing.
What makes a difference now is whether Obama can stimulate the undecided voters who are not racist and would vote for a black man. The Change theme may have worked in the Democratic primary but he has to bring hope with substance to the larger electorate. He has to inspire with creative ideas about how he will rebuild Detroit, create jobs that pay to build new energy, give us our public schools back, and get us out of Iraq with dignity. American voters are as equally divided now as they were in the last four elections. There are more folks than the polls show who would never vote for a Black and can’t stand Michelle Obama as strong Black woman but the demographics have changed. There are more Latinos, Blacks and young people in the population and voting. If he cannot inspire his base to stay with him and come out to vote while convincing those unsure that his message of hope has substance, then welcome John McCain to the White House.