Trotter’s Commentary: Has Stacey Lihn given Democrats that “Elizabeth Glaser” moment for 2012?

A few minutes ago, I was just sitting on my couch watching the Democratic Convention.  After the return from a commercial break, Rachel Maddow played back a film and speech by a lady named Stacey Lihn, a mother from Nevada that has a daughter that was born with a heart defect. During her speech and video, she made a powerful statement in which she says that the The Affordable Care Act has helped her daughter.

During the speech, Lihn stated that the ACA eliminated the lifetime caps on insurance benefits, and that has made it so that her daughter could continue her treatment. She also stated that if the Republicans get their way and repeal the ACA, her daughter could be denied treatment in the very near future. Therefore, Lihn says she fears a Romney presidency.

The story that she told at the DNC convention was not only heartwarming, but a look into the lives of an average person. During the RNC convention, politician after politician lined up to talk about themselves. Yet here at the DNC convention, we have a truly non-political face to what is becoming a heated political issue. The audience strongly approved of Lihn’s speech and video, so much that she had to talk over the crowd to finish her speech.

This human story reminds me of another strong moment 20 years earlier. At the 1992 Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton was not the most popular candidate. With both Ross Perot and George Bush polling better than Clinton, the Democrats needed a game changer. That game changer ended up being the Democratic Convention. Just like with Lihn in 2012, the Democrats decided to go with strong personal stories instead of the endless lineup of politicians that only bragged about how great they were.

The most moving point of the convention was a speech by Elizabeth Glaser. Wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch fame, Elizabeth contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion in 1981. Back in 1992, HIV-AIDS was a very strong and controversial issue. Instead of hiding from the issue, as the Republican Party had, Democrats decided to make it a cornerstone of their convention. Glaser’s speech proved to be one of the most powerful convention speeches of all time.

After the 1992 Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton took the lead in the polls and never looked back. I truly believe that Glaser’s speech, which gave a truly touching story with a purely human face, was one of the game changers for the Clinton campaign. It showed the Democrats as compassionate. No matter what the view of an individual was regarding HIV-AIDS, everyone’s heart went out for Elizabeth Glaser. She would die two years later.

Though it has only been about 30 minutes since she spoke, has Stacey Lihn’s story given up the same game changer? True, it might not be as powerful as the Glaser speech, but Lihn does point out the true differences between Democrats and Republicans. If the Obama campaign where to share her story throughout this campaign, I truly feel that not only will Obama be victorious in 63 days, but that the approval rating on the ACA will increase.

We will see if we have another Glaser moment in this campaign. Hopefully we will, as Stacey’s story truly proves that Barack Obama needs to be reelected President of the Untied States.


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