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Running scared

Armstrong Williams | 9/21/2012, 1:06 p.m.
At Thanksgiving, embracing the winds of change and increasing our faith

After a well-executed Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., it is now time for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Democrats responded to the RNC by changing their speaker lineup, adding women and minorities to their roster, which I take to mean that RNC was effective. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech was presidential--it wouldn't be hard to imagine her giving that if she were the nominee. Just as stirring was Sen. Marco Rubio's. Some left-wing critics noted that the RNC stage was more diverse than the RNC delegation; I ask, would you prefer it the other way around?

I'm afraid that that's the case with the DNC. As the very liberal Matt Yglesias tweeted, "[The] DNC lineup exaggerates whiteness of the party relative to its actual voting base." So in the Republican Party, the white majority is governed by minorities, and in the Democratic Party, the minorities is ruled by whites. You tell me which party is racist, which is the party of old white men!

One good way to judge the confidence of a campaign is to note how often it uses ad hominem attacks. The more ad hominems, the less confident they must be. Keep this in mind as you watch the DNC.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Tuesday night speaker, reminds me a lot of a younger Obama. He is young, Black and at least pays lip service to healing the partisan divide in this country. His speech tells me that Americans aren't quite jaded with this sanctimony yet.

President Jimmy Carter, whom Mitt Romney subtly compared President Barack Obama to during his acceptance speech, is not present. Neither, tellingly, is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is on the opposite side of the globe, visiting the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China and Russia. She has become a popular figure as secretary of state and would be a valuable asset at the convention, but as secretary of state, she can't participate in any political events.

Her husband, however, will be there, which, surprisingly, will probably not hurt the Democrats' focus on women voters. Clinton is, despite his sins, highly popular with women. They propelled him to re-election in 1996, and he is as much of an asset in this voting bloc as any female speaker.

Every convention, on both sides, wants more than almost anything to get a high-profile politician of the opponent's party to endorse their candidate. This year, the Republicans got former Rep. Artur Davis, and the Democrats have former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a much better known figure than Davis. I expect that this will be effective in Florida, which may be the most important state in the union this November.

The usual Sunday morning attack dogs will be there: Sens. Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. I can't see how their decidedly negative rhetoric will inspire the base. Negativity is the whole purpose of the Massachusetts lineup: Barney Frank, Deval Patrick and Tom Menino, who will no doubt decry Romney's tenure as governor.