Party stars, missteps and missing in action
The Kansas City Star
Speaking of which…
OK, so the political conventions weren’t exactly an American Idol remake, but they did put some talent on display.
Mariah Carey wasn’t available, so The Star’s editorial writers volunteered to be judges for a day.
Here are the speakers each of us found effective:
Bill Clinton. The former Democratic president told Barack Obama’s story more directly than the president has stated it himself. As one tweet put it, he should be “Secretary of Explaining Things.” __ Miriam Pepper
Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, the stars of the GOP confab. Vice presidential nominee Ryan traced the outlines of the looming fiscal crisis, highlighting the need to reform our entitlement system — a critical agenda item that Obama completely ignores. New Jersey Gov. Christie has taken flack for talking too much about himself, but his story was germane to his argument. His point was that hard choices were made in New Jersey. Big things can be accomplished with strong leadership. __ E. Thomas McClanahan
Michelle Obama. The first lady managed to present her husband as a champion of middle-class Americans, portray Mitt Romney as heartless by comparison and inspire a multitude of women to step up their gym workouts. Not a bad night’s work. __ Barbara Shelly
Barack Obama. The president’s acceptance speech was exceptional because he delivered a concrete plan for what he hopes to accomplish in a second term — such as more manufacturing jobs, more affordable college costs and 100,000 more math and science teachers. Obama’s specifics were a far cry from Romney’s convention speech. __ Lewis Diuguid
Emanuel Cleaver. The Democratic congressman tapped into his preaching roots and delivered a rousing motivational speech. Kansas City’s former mayor gave Democratic delegates good reasons to have hope. __ Yael Abouhalkah
A shaky platform
Pity Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles. As chairman of the Democratic National Convention, he got to break the news to delegates that a mention of God and a declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were going into the party platform, whether delegates liked it or not.
A lot of them didn’t like it. Three times Villaraigosa called for a voice vote. Three times the “no’s” were thunderous. But Villaraigosa was under orders from President Obama to tamp down a waxing controversy and get God and Jerusalem into the platform. So he gaveled the deed done.
The whole thing was a preventable debacle, an unforced error. Multiple Democrats, including Obama, mentioned God and faith in their speeches. So why make a point of leaving them out of the platform, or risk irritating already frayed relationships with Israel? Dumb, just dumb.
Paging Dave Spence
Is the Missouri governor’s race ever going to get rolling?
Republican nominee Dave Spence, a man with no political experience and little name recognition, really needs to start introducing himself. But he makes few public appearances, instead sticking to fundraising and endorsement events, which help him escape contact with the pesky media.
Nixon, on the other hand, is here, there and everywhere. In fact, the Republican state auditor just blasted him in a report for gallivanting around and getting state departments to pick up the tab.
Tom Schweich’s audit elicited a rare statement from Spence, who proposed limits on travel at taxpayers’ expense, starting with the governor.
We agree that Nixon should spend more time in Jefferson City. There is really no need to travel to three or four different locations to make the same announcement.
Spence, on the other hand, needs to hit the road.