August 1, 2016

Post-DNC Musings

Regular readers will remember that I was feeling underwhelmed heading into the Democratic National Convention, and that I was hoping to be at least 'whelmed' by the end of it.

I can say that without a doubt, the DNC was more uplifting, more moving, more motivating than the darkness on the edge of Cleveland that preceded it. Both conventions were evocative, there's no doubting that; but the America the Dems evoked was vastly different from and more welcoming than that of the Reps.

Was it a perfect world? Of course not. I've long said that if this was a perfect world, I wouldn't be in it (and I wouldn't be the only one, I can assure you). There was the aftermath of the Debbie Wasserman Schultz dismissal. There was the scandal of the emails being hacked, and of course there were the Ber ners.

Ah yes, the Berners. They protested silently, colorfully and even loudly. Sometimes they made it onto television, and sometimes they sat in the dark in the far reaches of the convention hall. They cheered, and were cheered over; much ado was made of how the convention folks managed to have alternate cheers for every trick in the book.  At least inside the hall, at least during the evening hours when I was watching, they were well managed, as you would expect to happen if someone crashed your party. Bernie did his best with them, I think. Some wouldn't have listened to him no matter what he said.

As far as the speeches go, Michelle Obama was the winner of the professionals, followed closely by Joe Biden, President Obama and then, well, I think the former governor of Michigan, she was pretty good, very energetic, and made her point.  I don't know that we'll ever see a husband-and-wife speaking team like the Obamas. I ave enjoyed listening to both of them for the past seven years.

Michelle's speech included a line that Fox's Bill O'Reilly couldn't figure out how to factor a reasonable response -- the notion that the White House was built by slaves.

His response was that (only slight paraphrasing here) fine, they were slaves, but they were well fed. Because that's kind of the answer from the right on poverty, homelessness, hunger and the rest. A cardboard box is a roof, right? Ketchup is a vegetable, right?

For his part, POTUS will be remembered for three little words, Don't boo. Vote.

Tim Kaine was all over the map, speaking alternately in English, Spanish, and gee-whiziness. He'd be great at a kid's party. Kaine and Biden are sort of like the difference between going to Chuck E Cheese and going to the corner bar or the local barbecue joint.

And the Clintons? Had I not known the subject of Bill's speech, I would likely have gasped at his opening line: In 1971 I met a girl. He spent a long time talking about his love for Hillary, and their relationship, and I wondered a couple of times whether he was trying to convince me or himself that she was really the best possible partner and change maker he'd ever met.  Chelsea quietly talked about her mother, in a way that some thought were effective.  Neither of the first two Clinton speeches really moved me, but I'm not the voter they were trying to reach.

Hillary's speech was reasonably effective; if you knew nothing about her before she spoke, I think you had a lot of new information to digest. She  hit strongly and directly on target with her "a man you can bait with a tweet" line, which we know to be true, and which we should all know is a serious risk. That, too, was not news to me.

Trump's speech had higher ratings than Clinton's, prompted in part I'm sure by people like me who had and have no intention of voting for him, but felt compelled to see if there was any hope. I saw none in Cleveland. I felt much better after watching what happened in Philly, and I was not alone.

I didn't change my opinion of Hillary, but I also did not change my position on how and why I'm going to cast my vote in less than 100 days.  I guess in that case, you could call me 'whelmed', which was my goal.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about what has become the most lasting moment of the Democratic Convention.