Okay, here are some miscellaneous thoughts from Wednesday night of the DNC convention. I was at a Tin Caps baseball playoff game (our local Fort Wayne minor league team), and we didn’t get home until near the end of Elizabeth Warren’s speech. So I missed most of the night, and the rest of my life will be diminished and incomplete because of it. Yet, I will plunge ahead with some musings, knowing that the masses are hungry for ever more political fluff. So hereby be ye edified.
(For the sarcasm challenged: most everything that follows is written with my tongue firmly embedded in my cheek. Don’t, as some folks tend to do, take me for a Democrat apologist.)
Bill Clinton, clearly, is a rock star. Clinton made the case for Obama and his record far better than Obama has ever done (while cleverly, in pure Clinton style, further polishing his own legacy). I’m not agreeing with everything he said, by any means. He threw around all kinds of data. I figure half is verifiable, a quarter is fuzzy, and a quarter is just wrong or misleading (call it Ryanesque). But he’s a masterful speaker, with no comparison in the Republican party (who they gonna call, GW Bush?). He clearly energized the crowd. Whether it ultimately matters–beats me.
Clinton had a lot of good lines, including, “No president — not me, not any of my predecessors — no one could have fully repaired all the damage [President Obama] found in just four years.”
The speech was a case of information overload. Very wonky, getting into complicated policy details. People won’t remember the details, but they will know that there are answers to the Republican talking points against Obama (like Medicare and Welfare). And most people won’t check to see if Clinton’s answers were accurate (as they won’t check to see if the Republican accusations are accurate).
At one point the crowd was chanting “Four More Years.” I think they were actually wanting another four years for Clinton.
Another good line: “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president.” This resonated with me, because I mostly live my life around Republicans (though I might soften “hate” to merely “despising” the President).
The platform fiasco…don’t know what to say about that, except: stupid stupid STUPID. I couldn’t care less about using “God-given” in the platform. Does that refer to Jehovah God, to Allah, or to Eloihim, the god Mitt Romney worships? I’d just as soon leave it out, since we’re a pluralistic country that, theoretically (many conservative Christians disagree), doesn’t put one religion over another. But politically, the platform committee (and platform committees tend to represent the extreme edges of their party) seriously blundered. An unforced error, as somebody put it.
Regarding the Jerusalem thing, I’ll quote Joe Kelin: “Whoever took the usual language about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel out of the Democratic platform is an idiot.”
Conservatives also blundered in making a big stink about these omissions while the Democrats still had a chance to fix them. If they had just held their tongues for a couple days, they could have pummeled Obama with this “removing God from the platform” charge for the rest of the campaign, and Jews and evangelicals would have been hopping mad about the Jerusalem sleight. So I guess Obama should send Brett Baier and the other folks at Fox News a “Thank You” note for alerting them to these serious omissions while they could still fix them. Not only that, but they gave Obama the chance to personally intervene and thereby display his support for these platform issues (at least, that’s the storyline). But still, damage was done, and it was totally a case of the Dems shooting themselves in the foot.
The voice vote, obviously, was a joke. In declaring that the vote had passed by a two-thirds majority, Antonio Villaraigosa looked at the crowd and told them something he absolutely did NOT believe. As we all know, Republicans would never ever play games like that.
I also have to ask: is Obama running against Mitt Romney, or against Paul Ryan? Since Romney won’t commit himself to specifics, it’s hard to target him sometimes. Thus, Ryan commands the spotlight.
I’m a believer in the need for austerity. I’m not finding that in anything being proposed by either party, so I don’t have much hope of the debt and deficit being slashed anytime soon. The Democrats won’t cut programs, and any savings from cuts made by Republicans will be offset by diminished income because of huge tax cuts. As Clinton said, it’s about arithmetic.
President Obama speaks tonight. As a leader, as an explainer, and as a charismatic presence, I wonder if he will look small compared to Bill Clinton.
That’s enough. Go ahead and rip me to shreds.