Monday, September 1, 2008

Manhattan in Denver - DNC 2008

On this Labor Day, Manhattan Viewpoint salutes all workers and unions. We will examine labor issues later this year. This week's posting looks back at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the race for the Presidency of the United States.

Witnessing the beginning of the end of the 2008 Presidential race while enjoying the city of Denver, my mind remained focused on the world's most important city and on the Borough of Manhattan that anchors our great city. It was fabulous to be in Denver to witness the official nomination of the next President of the United States. It is also great to be home.

Manhattan Should Be Proud

Denver welcomed Manhattan's public leadership last week, and Manhattan should be proud of how its leaders conducted themselves on the National Stage. NY Governor David Paterson spoke on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention. He electrified all of those assembled in the Pepsi Center with his very clear explanation of why the US needs to reject John McCain and embrace Senator Barack Obama.
David Paterson represented our State and our borough perfectly. I was cheering loudly as anyone ("David. David. David. . .") as he concluded his remarks.

Later, Chairman Charlie Rangel, by whom I am represented in the House of Representatives, led the remarks of Congressional Black Caucus in a tribute to the late member of Congress Stephanie Tubbs Jones. As usual, his remarks were well suited for the moment. While there had been controversy regarding whether Chairman Rangel would be permitted to address the Convention, the Chairman rose above the controversy and made us all very proud with his sensitivity and eloquence.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton spoke as well as they've ever spoken, and these two adopted Manhattanites (or Friends of Manhattan if you wish) were the Story of Tuesday and Wednesday of the Convention. Bill Clinton's office is in the heart of Upper Manhattan, and he represented us extremely well on Wednesday. Hillary Clinton couldn't have done a better job of making it clear that all of us should work as hard as we can to elect Senator Barack Obama to the Presidency. She's been attacked, underestimated, underappreciated, and pushed aside by so many (which is a familiar experience for many of us in Upper Manhattan). She showed on Tuesday night of the Convention that she is better than her critics. She returned later in the Convention to make the motion to nominate Senator Barck Obama for the Presidency by acclimation. She was the heroine of the week.

Bill Clinton's presentation at the Convention was the single best presentation by any speaker. No one was surprised, but everyone was excited.

After the Convention, We Pray for a President Obama

The 2008 Democratic Convention was strong in terms of pageantry and high on emotion. It was historic and inspiring. I had to wait in line for 2 hrs to get into Invesco Field for the final night of activities (see the picture at the right for a view of the size of the line for entry to Invesco Field), but it was worthwhile. I'll tell my grandchildren about it someday.

John McCain interrupted the Obama momentum with his daring choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I respect McCain for being willing to share the national stage with a strong, outspoken woman who has the executive experience that he, Senator Obama and Senator Biden all lack. As I look at the impressive life and accomplishments of Governor Palin (beauty queen, basketball star, Governor, mother of five, and reformer), her emergence on a national ticket reminds me how much focus will be necessary to elect Senator Obama to the Presidency. She is a true conservative who does not favor abortion rights, and she is very unlikely to support improved lives for those of us in New York City if she joins John McCain in the White House. We Democrats should not claim that she is "more of the same", because she is like nothing we've seen before. We Democrats should not claim that she is unqualified, because her qualifications meet or exceed those of our Presidential nominee. We Democrats need to remind the electorate that the electorate agrees with the Democrats on all of the key issues. The electorate is disappointed and disgusted with the Republican Party and wants to give us Democrats a chance to see if we can do better.

Manhattan needs an Obama Presidency - two terms. Let's pray that the incredibly appropriate words of Chairman Rangel, our Governor, and our friends, the Clintons, can combine with the hard work we all must do during the next 2+ months to propel Obama - Biden into the White House and give Manhattan the friend in the Oval Office that we've lacked for the last 8 years.

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