I am a mouse with social anxiety disorder, for which I take Xanax. I come out from under the Nittany Turkey’s family room sofa to watch TV when he’s not looking, and the only thing that’s been on that TV of late has been the Democratic National Convention. I’ll share my opinions with you.
First of all, at the beginning of the evening there was a truly unique and moving moment in U.S. history in which the first African-American (a real one, in this case) was nominated by acclamation by his party, a party with some serious racist schisms in its past. (Well, it’s true. That’s why MLK Sr. and MLK Jr. were Republicans.) I remember a similar moment in 1984 when Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman nominated for the office of Vice President. We’re making progress, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, this is the wrong guy for the job, but I digress. Back to the happenings of the evening.
There were quite a few speakers I didn’t bother watching, among them the pompous and forgettable John Kerry. This Mouse would rather see an alley cat with hunger pangs than that haughty schmuck. He had his moment, he failed, and now let’s be done with him, already. He should be accorded the same polite dismissal that was given to Jimmy Carter. Why do the Democrats feel compelled to feature losers like Kerry? You’d think they would have better ideas about which side their bread was buttered on.
The feature event of the evening, of course, was former president William Jefferson Clinton’s address. Now there is a guy who can speak! Say what you will about his character or whatever the hell you airheads always resort to when you can’t think of anything better to nail him with, he could sell ice to Eskimos. He can mock sincerity better than anyone. And lie? That guy can lie so well he can convince himself what he’s saying is true. He came out to the tune of “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow”, which was his campaign theme song in 1992 and 1996. This time, it wasn’t sung by Fleetwood Mac, the original band that recorded the song. It sounded like it was sung by those backup singers on American Idol. You know, like the Supremes without Diana. Whatever.
Moving right along, Clinton covered the usual pedestrian Democrat subjects, but covered them convincingly and moved his audience. Starting with a five minute standing ovation, he finally hushed the crowd and spoke for a full 20 minutes, double the time allotted to him.
The topic of the night was to have been national security, and Clinton was tasked with conforming to the theme. He ignored those instructions and delivered a typical Slick Willie campaign speech. It was more about his accomplishments than about Obama’s, though. Why? Obama has not accomplished anything. Furthermore, when a Clinton speaks, it is always about the Clintons. However, Clinton was effective in calling for party unity instead of PUMA (Party Unity, My Ass!), a final whine by the dissed Hillary faction. He praised Hillary and promised her 18 million votes to Obama. Whether those votes will actually be delivered is anyone’s guess.
Of course, there was a significant amount of McCain bashing, with the usual distortions and exaggerations about the dire straits the Republican administration has brought us. Interestingly, Clinton mentioned that the Republicans had the White House and the Congress in 2001, which was the start of all this badness, but he didn’t mention that the Democrat controlled Congress elected in 2006 has done next to nothing at all. (Still, I think the combination of a Democrat controlled congress and a Democrat in the White House can only mean that oppressive socialism is right around the corner.) He implicated McCain in all of Bush’s failures, and the failures of congress. It all went over very well with the bunch on the floor.
In all, Clinton’s speech was a rebel rouser, if you’ll excuse the expression, and it is sure to give Obama a bounce in the polls. It might even bring in some of the 18 million Hillary votes. His endorsement, however, doesn’t mean a thing. He only wants to set the stage for another Hillary run at the White House. Nevertheless, his speech will surely work to Obama’s benefit, and it will probably help the Clintons pay their campaign debts, if you know what I mean. That’s this Mouse’s opinion.
Funny thing. I watch these conventions and see the euphoria they create, which distorts people’s ideas about what’s right, what’s wrong, and who is going to win all this stuff. I saw it with the really ridiculous Kerry euphoria in 2004. How could anyone really get excited about Kerry-Edwards? Yet people were all ga-ga after the convention. Problem is, only those of the appropriate mindset who actually watch the convention proceedings feel that way. The voters, quite appropriately, tend to want to reel in many of these euphoric wacko expectations when November rolls around.
Next up on the podium was Joseph Biden, who did his duty to the ticket. Again, as anyone who has observed the senator from Delaware over the years would have expected, Biden was a blow-hard. A lot of the speech was concerned with his experience and accomplishments. Why? Because Obama has no track record and Biden likes to talk about himself. Where Biden was “useful” was in the traditional vice presidential nominee role as attack dog. Only thing is, Biden was not convincing in his excoriation of John McCain, particularly because he contradicted his own heartfelt words about McCain by suddenly questioning McCain’s character. I think the Dems are really worried and have amped up the rhetoric from merely berating the current administration’s policies and predicting more of the same with McCain. Now, they have begun to attack McCain’s judgment. I suppose it is a smokescreen when their own candidate has no track record and no qualifications. However, I am convinced that Biden was being a good attack dog and personally knows better about McCain. He certainly chose not to mention that he and Obama were both wrong, while McCain was right about the surge in Iraq. Of course not. He knows better. So, Biden did not pull off the job of explaining how an Obama-Biden ticket will enhance national security, which, after all, was the theme of the evening.
Biden’s other job was to convince the electorate that the Obama-Biden ticket will have the experience and knowledge to run foreign policy for this country. I think that Biden brought this off for those who chose to listen. However, rarely does a vice president run anything, foreign policy included. So, Biden talking about all his Senate Foreign Relations Committee experiences didn’t move me.
At the end of Biden’s speech, his wife, Jill, came up on stage and told him she had a surprise for him. Of course, the surprise was Obama walking out on stage to great adulation by the lemmings on the floor. Children and grandchildren flooded the podium, and Obama spoke.
Before I get to his well rehearsed speech, it is interesting to note that the two men who stood at center stage, the Democratic ticket for 2008, consist of two senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, with the the #1 and #3 most liberal voting records in 2007, respectively. By contrast, Hillary Clinton ranked #16 that same year. (Teddy Kennedy, ranked #2, appeared on Monday night.)
Obama’s brief speech gave a clue that the Dems were suddenly concerned about public perception of the planned spectacle at Invesco Field, which, careful to sanitize any reference to corporate America, he referred to as Mile High Stadium, its former generic name. He sounded defensive in explaining that the reason he decide to throw the big to-do at Invesco was because he essentially wanted all the people who ever worked toward his election to be able to participate. The people. My people.
In what? In a self-directed coronation? The Greek columns, the elevated rising stage, and the general hype suggest it. Has any presidential candidate since John Kennedy felt the need for such a massive production? It seems to this Mouse like overkill, like Obama has something to prove. His defense of the venue and the grandiosity only amplifies this feeling in my furry little rodent brain. If Obama wants to be the candidate of the people, he should skip the rock star appearances. They make him look like alternatively like he’s either a megalomaniac or he’s insecure in his current position, which is way the hell over his head, and he’s trying too hard. Is that what we want from a President of the United States?
Let’s face it: if you don’t have the goods, you have to make a good show of it. An end run. Throw up a great smoke screen and the lemmings will march with you right over the damn cliff.
So, tomorrow, we have the spectacle. It won’t feature Charlton Heston, because he’s a Republican. (A little levity there.) This Mouse will be back with a recap of Thursday’s, um, festivities, if my Internet connectivity ever returns. We’ll also have something to say when John McCain announces his choice of vice president.