Not really old enough to remember anything before 2000, so Im gonna go with the obvious choice of Barack Obama.
Abraham Ribicoff, 1968.
HHH on Civil Rights in 1948.
Calling Barack Obama for president in 08 in 04.
1988, Jesse Jackson, "Common Ground"
Barack Obama accepting the nomination 2008
In the pre-computer age, a tape of the Mario Cuomo speech from 1984, if I recall correctly, did provide hope and comfort through the dark years of Reagan's second term and GHW Bush. My own evolution was taking me to the left of the cowardly and self-serving actions of Democratic politicians of the time, however as an idealistic statement of basic values and goals Cuomo did a great job.
Barbara Jordan, 1976. I was 16 and I will never forget that speech. A few years later I got to take a class from her in grad school. Nothing like being quizzed by Barbara Jordan to make sure you did your homework reading. To this day, when I imagine the voice of God, it is Jordan's voice I hear.
I really loved the end of Bill Clinton's speech in 1988. He was so long-winded, when he finally said, "In conclusion," the crowd just roared. My Arkansas-bred boyfriend told me to watch out for that guy.I'm not much for conventions, anyway, but Clinton can really shuck the corn.
I second Barbara Jordan. Great speech.
Third Barbara Jordan.
Fourth on Jordan. makes me want to go dig it out of a youtube archive or something.
Ann Richards in 1988: "Poor George [H.W. Bush]--he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth"—among other terrific lines, delivered perfectly. No, it wasn't the greatest or most inspiring speech in Democratic convention history. But it may have been the best executed exemplar of the nasty partisan speech tearing down the opposition (with humor).
both Mario Cuomo + Gov Ann Richards were the best at what it's all about.
I was 14 when I watched my first political convention on TV. So the speeches I'll always remember are two by JFK--his brief remarks when he showed up inside the hall after winning a fairly dramatic first ballot nomination, and his "New Frontier" acceptance speech--outdoors at the LA Memorial Coliseum. It still stands up well.
Barack Obama in 2004 closely followed by Ann Richards in 1988
+1 on Barbara Jordan
Bill Clinton in 92 was really great.
Another vote for Barbara Jordan.
I really liked Brian Schweitzer, 2008. Obama 2004 was great. Cuomo and Barbara Jordan were both good. I think the one I'll add in that nobody has mentioned yet is Bobby Kennedy's famous 1964 standing ovation - not quite a speech - but more powerful than anything I've ever seen in a convention.http://youtu.be/1bIctF2QOro?t=2m25s
Not a speech, but a great moment of party pageantry and unity was during the 2008 roll call, when Hillary Clinton made the motion to suspend the rules and nominate Obama by acclamation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3w6IcU418EYeah, and Schweitzer was good.
Ted Kennedy in 1980, surprised no one mentioned that one.
"The dream will never die."
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect