Democratic Convention Diary (Day 3): Roll Call; Bill Clinton’s Night

PHILADELPHIA — I love the Roll Call of the States. It’s my very first political memory: 1960, Los Angeles, Kennedy nomination. Alabama starts it off. Then, each and every one of the states and territories. They all get their day in the sun, their 30 seconds of fame. It ends with Wyoming. I remember Teno Roncalio, putting JFK over the top in 1960, as I listened to the convention — in bed with my transistor radio glued to my ear.

Last night, the secretary shouted out, “District of Columbia, how do you cast your vote?” Mayor Muriel Bowser made us proud. Standing perfectly straight, she proudly delivered D.C.’s 44 votes and said in the first sentence those glorious words: “D.C., soon to be the 51st state casts …”

You learn some valuable Americana if you listen attentively. Montana wants to send the first Native American to Congress. North Carolina has the largest military base in the world — Fort Bragg. North Dakota has five native tribal nations. Virginia has the largest naval station in the world — Norfolk.

This was Bill Clinton’s night. He is a natural. The ultimate performance from the ultimate pol pro. So easy to listen to. He spins a story with effortless charm and warmth. He helped Hillary and gave a perspective and picture that the country needs to hear. When he referred to the GOP depiction last week, he said that it was all “made-up” and the his version was “the real one.”

The former president closed with “Good for you. You nominated ‘the real one.’ ” The hall erupted with cheers. The audience loved every moment. They could have nominated him last night.

Another moment which stays with me earlier in the evening was that of former Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa celebrating the 20th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act. Talking about his brother Frank and teaching the thousands in the hall to sign, shaping his hands to signify America. How poignant.

The highlight, the most memorable moment was Larry Sanders, the older brother of Bernie Sanders, delivering the Democrats abroad. With tears in his eyes and paying tribute to his parents, “who loved FDR and the New Deal” and “died young.”

I think I’ll stop there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *