Random thoughts collected during a night at the zoo (or so it seemed)…
1. The most impressive speaker the Democrats sent to the podium last night was Tammy Duckworth, a triple-amputee Iraq vet who’s running for Congress in Illinois – against Joe Walsh, the outspoken and often entertaining Tea party freshman. That might be a tough race, as Duckworth – who is half-Thai – is a compelling speaker with a compelling story.
And one reason why she’s appealing is that Duckworth didn’t engage in the ad nauseam pattern of establishing one’s bona fides as an honest-to-God American capitalist before demanding the country move to economic fascism. Virtually everybody else who spoke last night did that, plus they introduced themselves as the product of some humble origin or other – which Duckworth did.
It got extremely tiresome. But at least Duckworth’s speech was about legitimate service to the nation rather than just paying taxes with a smile.
2. The worst speaker? That’s easy – Harry Reid. For all the old familiar reasons. But most of all, they actually let Reid take to the podium and drag out that charge about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, as though it wasn’t a political liability the first time. Naturally, Reid’s second trip to the well didn’t make it to prime time – but it’s still on the record.
He’s the Senate Majority Leader. He’s probably the second most powerful Democrat politician in the country. And they buried him before prime time on the first night of the convention. And for good reason.
3. North Carolina governor Bev Perdue’s speech was also a loser. Perdue, who is something of a North Carolina version of Kathleen Blanco though without the hurricane (Perdue’s disaster has been wholly self-inflicted due to corruption and mismanagement) in that she won’t be running for re-election, served up red meat to the crowd for the entire 10 minutes she spoke. But it was done badly, and the optics were strange – The disgraced governor of North Carolina touts the Democrats’ commitment to Planned Parenthood, and in the crowd women in Muslim garb stand up and cheer.
“Those Republicans hate women, and here are our Muslim Brotherhood friends to tell you all about it.”
4. And of course, the Dems’ defense of women opened with a tribute to…Ted Kennedy.
Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.
5. Ted Strickland, the fired governor of Ohio (he was beaten for re-election by John Kasich), gave another red meat speech. Strickland’s was better received than Perdue’s was, because it was much nastier and included more shouting.
The speech involved the stories of three Ohioans who didn’t have jobs in 2008 and have them now. Strickland credited that to Barack Obama’s bailout of GM; one wonders whether Kasich being in office rather than Strickland might not have just as much to do with it.
He also gave us this line: “If Mitt was Santa Claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.” Well, if Santa’s business model would improve by upgrading to a corporate jet or an executive helicopter and if the elves could be replaced by non-union labor overseas – wouldn’t that mean he could give more toys to the kids?
And “Barack Obama is an economic patriot.” Is that why he loaned the Brazilians $2 billion to drill while banning oil exploration in the Gulf? And is that why he bankrolled Fisker to build electric cars in Finland? Is it patriotic to piss away a half-billion dollars of our money on Solyndra?
One gets the impression that modern Democrats have spent so much time trashing this country that they don’t have the first idea what patriotism actually is.
6. Then there was the Obamacare defense, in which a woman from Phoenix regaled the crowd with a story about her daughter who needs a heart transplant and if Obamacare is repealed the kid will die. This tearjerker was delivered with the husband and two small daughters in tow – and of course one of them (the kids, not the husband) began shrieking during Mom’s remarks.
At what point does the pandering – Government-By-Sob-Story – become so overt and obnoxious that persuadable voters throw up? If there is such a point, surely the Democrats reached it during that horror of a segment.
7. And the defense of Obama’s giveaways to college students, in which a 28-year old undergrad from the University of Colorado, who lost both his parents in short succession, told his story of woe borne out of our horribly non-socialistic health care system – “I feel like if they had had Obamacare, my parents would still be around.” “Both my parents were scientists,” he said, before explaining that he’s going to be one too since he’s studying political science. The Democrats cheered that; no other political party’s convention would have. Then came the punch line, namely that he wouldn’t be able to graduate but for the president’s doubling of Pell Grants over the last four years. But naturally, there was a video before his speech which showed him going door-to-door working for Obama. Couldn’t he have worked a job for money to pay for school rather than organizing for Obama?
“Then I heard something that is one of the reflections, an echo of some of the most insulting things we’ve been hearing for a long time,” Booker said, referring to watching the convention. “I heard people stand up and say, ‘I love women.’ I heard people stand up: ‘I’ve got a sister. I’ve got a mother.’”
“That’s like saying you’re not a bigot ’cause you have a black friend,” Booker retorted, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd. “That’s like saying I love Latinos, I go to Taco Bell every week. That is like saying that you are a person that is just and right because you know what, you like Jewish people.”
“But I’ll tell you what you say, you say it with your words,” he continued. “You say it with your lips. You preach it from on high. But when it comes to your actions, when it comes to your deeds, it comes to what you do every day, you are denigrating those very people you claim to love. And so I don’t understand how somebody can say they love women when they are denying women access to health care, when they are denying women strategies to protect their life, when they are implementing policies that undermine all the ground that we have gained,” he concluded, saying he was speaking not only about women’s progress, but also about the country’s progress.
“There’s some people in the Republican party that believe when they say all men are created equal, that they are leaving out women themselves,” Booker said later on in his remarks. “That’s not the nation we are.”
9. There was a speech by Pat Quinn. He’s the governor of Illinois. Enough said.
10. There was a speech by Rahm Emanuel. He’s the mayor of Chicago. So far as we know no one was killed in the hall during Emanuel’s speech, which would be a departure from Chicago’s experience with Emanuel in office.
11. Former Virginia governor and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine touted the triumphant return of the auto industry. That remark will come back to haunt him when it looks like GM is going down the tubes again this fall.
Kaine wasn’t alone – speaker after speaker drew hoots from the crowd by stating that “Mitt Romney wants to let Detroit go bankrupt.” But Barack Obama let GM and Chrysler go bankrupt; he just made sure the unions were made whole by screwing the bondholders.
12. And there were the “former Republicans” – including a union firefighter from Cincinnati who was pissed off about collective bargaining reform, a lady who declared that “the America I love respects the dignity of women” and a governor of a tiny state in the Northeast who claims he’s now an independent but says conservatives aren’t conservative – because a true conservative would preserve government at levels requiring the borrowing of 40 percent of its budget.
13. NARAL president Nancy Keenan goes about 5’6″ and 200 pounds and looks quite a bit like Dick Morris. She has Dick Morris’ haircut. And she seems like she wants to depopulate the planet by killing every fetus she can find. But according to Keenan last night, it’s Republicans who are out of the mainstream – because, y’know, Todd Akin!
The Democrats launched the War On Childbirth last night in shock-and-awe style. If Obama had a problem with married women before last night, he’ll have a massive one now. Having Keenan speak seemed like a major mistake.
14. Several speakers – openly gay Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Robert Wexler (who had the least well-received applause line of the night when he said that we should stand with Israel by re-electing Obama) and a few others – lost the crowd during their speeches. Loud murmurs were audible in the hall, and several times there appeared to be applause unrelated to the speeches. Was there Obama money being distributed in the stands? Cotton candy vendors? Difficult to say from watching on C-SPAN.
15. And there was a Jimmy Carter video address. Carter said something that was absolutely correct, for which we applaud him. He said that Obama was a leader just like he was.
16. Rep. Nydia Velasquez and Energy Secretary Ken Salazar both spoke of a Mexican/Spanish proverb to the effect that if you want to know who someone is, look at who they walk with. Naturally, the proverb had to be delivered in Spanish. Naturally.
And Velasquez and Salazar both sounded like they’d just come off a boat or a truck from the Old Country – as though the TV audience couldn’t tell they were laying the accent on thick. Salazar was especially obnoxious in declaring he’s a “12th-generation Mexican-American” in a heavy Chicano accent. One wonders whether any of his ancestors spoke at a major party’s political convention while still under a contempt order from a federal judge. And one wonders whether any of those ancestors would find it incredibly impolite for him to be wearing a cowboy hat indoors while addressing the crowd.
17. And then there was the prime time portion of the evening, which opened with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. Patrick, our readers might recall, won re-election in 2010 and escaped Strickland’s fate only thanks to a third-party candidate who pulled votes away from the Republican challenger; Patrick won with just 48 percent of the vote.
One could understand why 52 percent of the Massachusetts electorate would vote against this man. He offered shopworn rhetoric to the crowd; declaring that Barack Obama won’t be “bullied” out of office. Bullied? By whom? The voters?
The less said about that performance, the better. But Patrick also challenged Democrats to “stand up for what we believe,” which we hope they do – so that the public can rightfully reject what they believe and rout them out of the political mainstream in favor of a party much less committed to European socialism.
18. Martin O’Malley is supposed to be the Democrats’ best hope, or one of them, for 2016. They need a new best hope. O’Malley, the Maryland governor who stepped in the “are you better off than four years ago” quicksand prior to the convention, gave a gray, forgettable address the crowd seemed to ignore – except for the part when he cajoled them into repeating “Forward, Not Back” several times in response to a few policy promises.
When two thirds of the country thinks we’re going in the wrong direction, is “Forward, Not Back” the right slogan? We’re doubtful.
19. After O’Malley, the Democrats gave us the Castro brothers. No, not THOSE Castro brothers. These were younger, and without guns. The first one, whom they told us was named Joaquin, is running for Congress in Texas. And then his brother, whom we’re told is named Julian, is the mayor of San Antonio.
Both of them look like a cross between Curious George and Powers Boothe…
The second one’s speech – we’ll assume it was Julian, though they’ve been known to pull a switch from time to time – fit the typical pattern of first establishing one’s bona fides as having come from nothing and only in America is it possible to rise from nothing to be somebody thanks to what they refuse to call capitalism, and then crapping on that capitalist system by demanding the government dictate everything.
Castro said “The American Dream isn’t a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay.” You didn’t build that. And he drew big applause by pointing out that Obama refuses to enforce the laws on illegal immigration; everyone in the hall is on board with making 12 million Democrat bloc voters overnight in a second Obama term.
Otherwise, it was a shameless knockoff of Marco Rubio’s speech last week, minus Rubio’s money line that Obama is trying ideas people like his parents came to America to get away from.
20. Finally, the First Lady. Michelle Obama’s address is being touted as masterful, and perhaps it was. I couldn’t get past the fact that she was wearing the drapes from the Lincoln Bedroom, but that’s perhaps a personal issue.
The First Lady piloted the “humble origins” meme into the stratosphere last night by regaling the audience with stories of her husband’s rusted-out automobile, the dining room table he proudly fished out of a dumpster and his ill-fitting dress shoes. This flies a bit in the face of what we actually know about Obama; namely, that he was educated at expensive private schools, the grandson of a bank vice president and a furniture salesman. He’s never known abject poverty like, for example, his forgotten brother George has.
Fox News’ Brit Hume responded to this after the address by calling it “Destitution Derby.” Spot on.
Michelle Obama also declared that the presidency doesn’t shape your character so much as reveal it – which is an interesting statement, though not one which would necessarily ingratiate persuadable voters to her husband’s re-election. But she also said that life experiences shape one’s character. Is being president not a life experience?
The video of Michelle prior to the speech – and part of the speech itself – mentioned the humble origins of Michelle’s family. It didn’t mention that Michelle’s father, whom she said was a pump operator in Chicago’s Department of Public Works, was also a precinct boss in the Daley machine. Why hide this fact?
But the personal narrative was well-delivered, and she either believes it or is one hell of an actress. The speech will certainly be well-received.
Then came the bromides about Barack The President, which were tenditious…
“For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
“For Barack, there is no such thing as us vs. them.”
And on and on.
Then we had the part about how Barack stays up at night reading letters from people who are sick, broke, can’t find a job and so on. The crowd thought that was great, but it was fairly indicative of today’s Democrats – a collection of people who want something from the government.
It was said that there were two programs last night – the pre-prime time part which was obnoxiously, aggressively socialist and the prime time part which was more mainstream. That’s not particularly true; the policy was the same; it was only the style which changed. At the end of the day, this is a party which seeks to hollow out the space between the individual and the government and in the process politicize everything by making all of us members of one interest group or another.
It’s a grotesque, failed, negative worldview. And the show the Dems put on yesterday was a menagerie of victimhood, paternalism and greed for the work product of others. They’re betting the majority of America will appreciate that zoo, and tonight’s roster – save for Bill Clinton’s speech, which is opposite the Giants-Cowboys game and it will be interesting to see whether Clinton, knowing this, will go off the reservation – will be another trip to the cages.