Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Response to Opening Night Jitters

(See: Just Above Sunset: Opening Night Jitters)

I don’t even know what the theme was for the opening of the Democratic Convention yesterday, but maybe it should have been “Heal The Bern!”, because that is essentially what happened as evening faded into night.

Full disclosure:

In case you don’t remember me saying this, I voted for Bernie in my state’s primary early last March, not because I wanted him to win but just to let Hillary know that she should be listening to those of us in the party who are left of her on issues Bernie is concerned with, such as the whole business of the “top one-tenth-of-one-percent owning as much as the bottom ninety-percent” — what is often referred to as “income inequality” but what I describe as an economy owned by all of us that has somehow been knocked out of balance.

But while I like many of Bernie’s positions, I think Hillary would make a much more well-rounded chief executive, with experience that will serve her well in almost everything the presidency would call upon her to do. As for Bernie’s talents, I think of him as sort of the Bo Diddley of presidential contenders: If you’ve heard one of his tunes, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

Last night probably wasn’t the smooth transition toward unity that Berny apparently thought it would be, but I think I speak for the “I’m-With-Her” group when I say to him, “We told you so!”

For one thing, he waited too long. For another, the deeper he got himself into taking his crusade seriously, the more he painted himself into a corner, giving his followers the impression that she really is a craven professional politician, enriching herself with speeches while in the pocket of big business and Wall Street, and not trustworthy when it comes to making rotten trade deals that are bad for American workers.

But that's all changed, and it’s okay now?

Even as an outsider, Bernie may be now fostering the suspicion among his disillusioned supporters that he’s been around Washington politics too long, and has become a typical inauthentic pol who sees nothing wrong with immediately abandoning his deeply-held principles as soon as a better deal comes along. I wonder if he understands the danger to the generalissimo who musters a revolutionary force and then defects to the enemy during the heat of battle. I sense he doesn’t. 

I had hoped Sanders’ speech would speak a bit more directly to his troops, much as George Washington did when he put down a budding rebellion in the Continental Army in Newburgh in 1783. Bernie might have said out loud that if anyone stays home on election day, instead of voting for Hillary Clinton, then they’ll be helping Donald Trump become president. Okay, he didn’t say that, but his speech seemed to do the trick anyway.

The tone was different with the Democrats. For one thing, our celebs — Debbie Lovato, Sarah Silverman, Paul Simon, even Al Franken — were bigger deals than those that appeared in Cleveland — Scott Baio and Alberto Sabato Jr. — even if Simon did struggle to hit the notes in “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. As in 2012, the speakers for the Democrats were better, the mood more positive, upbeat, and dare I say it, mellow!

Should there be any mention at all about Benghazi and the emails? I’m interested to see how they handle those.

On the one hand, since it’s going to come up sooner or later, maybe someone should present Hillary’s case in each. The truth about the emails is that, after all was said and done in the FBI probe, it came down to only three emails that were somehow marked “classified”, and that two of those were marked “by mistake”. Someday we’ll all learn what the third one was about, but I’ll bet it was not a big deal leak.

In Benghazi, nothing Hillary did or didn’t do had any bearing on the death of those four men, and that nearly all of the Republican rage seems to only center around “political talking points” — how the story was presented on TV and to family members in the days immediately after the incident, which Republicans seem to think helped them lose the election in 2012.

But on the other hand, I can see the argument for the opposite way to deal with the Republican-sponsored “scandals” — don’t bring them up at all. Maybe if people hear nothing about these things in Philadelphia, it might convey how actually insignificant they are compared to real concerns, to be seen as mole-hills that only Republicans care about, and of which, after all those expensive investigations, nothing more need be said.

And speaking of Benghazi, on a CNN panel, after Democrat Paul Begala praised Michelle Obama’s speech, Republican panelist Jeffrey Lord tried to counter with a Benghazi reference, and Begala, who had had enough of this stuff, hit the roof:
PAUL BEGALA: She has focused on things we all agree on, that we all care about, especially those military families. And so when she stands up and says, "I trust her, this person who is polarizing, and partisan and a politician, she says "I trust her with my children," this just is really powerful. 
JEFFREY LORD: But, you know, Pat Smith trusted her son to Mrs. Clinton's care, Secretary Clinton's care in Benghazi, and she didn't take care of him. 
BEGALA: I don't -- that's a cheap shot. 
LORD: No. 
BEGALA: How many embassies and consulates were attacked when Bush was president? 
LORD: I don't know the answer. Do you? 
BEGALA: Twenty! Sixty-six people were killed. How many congressional investigations? Zero. How many front page stories? Zero. This is exactly the kind of thing makes me crazy. This was a terrible tragedy -- 
LORD: But Paul -- 
BEGALA: It's been investigated. She was cleared even by the partisan super PAC of the Republican House of Representatives, and even they cleared her.
Sure, we can argue facts until we’re blue in the face, but after decades of conditioning, not to mention listening to hundreds of news clips of Hillary talking on television, too many Americans are predisposed to not trust Hillary Clinton. She is absolutely the most qualified candidate in the race, but with her public speaking “charisma” — or, in her case, the lack thereof — which is, unfortunately, what so many voters base their preferences on — let’s just say, it’s an uphill trek.

Still, I pretty much enjoyed last night. Yes, unlike the seemingly frenetic Republican get-together, it was largely boring, as I do hope our lives will be if Hillary finally wins.

Unless, of course, after the election, we see a remnant of the losing "Bernie-or-Busters" join forces with the losing “Trumpsters" to form some new combo revolutionary movement. What would such a group look like?

Imagine, if you will, the Occupy movement, but with AR-15s.

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