I was impressed with tonight’s speakers at the Democratic National Convention. Julian Castro spoke of the need to build opportunity through investments in education. The mayor of San Antonio was not very widely known before his announcement as the keynote speaker, but tomorrow morning he will be a household name. He told the story of his grandmother immigrating from Mexico to the United States and working to make sure that her daughter made it through college. Focusing on education is smart strategy considering the Republicans in Congress opposed President Obama’s successful efforts to end subsidized student loans for banks and putting the savings towards Pell grants. Mayor Castro has a bright future in the Democratic Party if Texas trends blue as is expected over the next decade in a similar way as California and Nevada.
Michelle Obama reminded Americans why they voted for her husband four years ago. She spoke from the heart about how she and the president both grew up from humble roots and understand what it is like to barely survive. “Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are — no, it reveals who you are,” the First Lady said.
Unmentioned in the speech, but definitely implied, was that Mitt Romney grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. While this in itself is not a problem – great presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy had immense wealth – Romney doesn’t see a problem with himself having a lower tax rate than someone working a minimum wage job. In fact, the Ryan budget that Romney supports would eliminate the capital gains tax, which is where most of Romney’s income comes from.
Overall, it was a much more positive portrait of America than the doom and gloom that we saw last week from the GOP. Tomorrow we will hear from Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, 2004 Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry, and the big kahuna of the night, former President Bill Clinton. President Obama and Vice President Biden will also be officially nominated tomorrow night. Thursday Vice President Biden will speak followed by President Obama’s acceptance speech.