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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Clinton Factor

One of the time-honored traditions of national political conventions is the struggle between convention manangers, who wish to promote the image of a relentlessly united and enthusiastic party, and the news media in search of controversy.
Inevitably, the struggle in Denver revolves around the Clintons, Hillary tonight and Bill tomorrow night.
To read some of the news accounts, HRC’s speech will represent a moment of high drama and political peril. Will Hillaryites stage some sort of protest? Will the ongoing negotiations on the precise staging of the roll-call vote tomorrow break down and break into public?
If you’re in Denver, and want to get on television, the most direct route is to pose as an angry HRC supporter who’s mulling over a vote for John McCain.
The reality is that HRC will almost certainly deliver a rousing unity speech, to an appreciative audience, and will personally offer the motion on Wednesday to make Obama’s nomination unanimous. Yes, Bill’s speech on Wednesday will be watched (just as his last two convention speeches were) for signs that he’s “upstaging” the nominee, though this year the nominee will be exceptionally difficult to upstage.
And in the end, all the talk about Obama/Clinton discord could actually increase the perception of unity, when the discord fails to materialize.

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