As I watched the first night of the Democratic Convention, I briefly
left the direct coverage on C-SPAN for channels with commentary when
I tired of hearing from convention speakers about “reproductive
rights” — as if they are somehow threatened. Running across the
bottom of the Fox screen was the news: The national debt had just
reached $16 trillion. Hey, what about the rights of “born children”
not to be saddled with this?
I’m glad I was at
C-SPAN at 6 p.m. though, when Newark Mayor Cory Booker was speaking
as the co-chairman of the Democratic Platform Committee. I don’t
remember what he said, but loved the way he said it: with passion
and conviction. Maybe he had to make up for his earlier public
criticism of other Democrats’ attack on entrepreneurs, the “you
didn’t build it” political mistake of last month. Our governor,
Deval Patrick, gave a passionate speech, too, obviously geared
toward making a lasting impression on delegates more than helping
the incumbent president: I’ll bet these two will be going
head-to-head in 2016 in the Democrat primary.
If they are, I’ll do
what I did for Al Gore in his 1988 primary against Mike Dukakis:
sent him articles about Willie Horton, which Gore used before George
Bush did. Here, Mayor Booker: news items about the Massachusetts
Probation Department scandals; the Chelsea Housing Authority
scandal; the misuse of funds intended for special-needs children;
the use of EBT cards for purchasing tattoos and jewelry and making
bail on drug deals. And have you heard about the Massachusetts
convicted murderer who was given a sex-change operation at taxpayer
expense? Patrick didn’t mention any of these things happening on his
watch in his speech attacking Mitt Romney’s governorship.
Of course, Booker may
also have a problem explaining how God got kicked off the platform
to which he referred in his great speech. It seems that the far-left
extremists of his party insisted on taking out two things that had
been in the platform in the past: a reference to “God-given”
potential, and to Jerusalem being the proper capital of Israel.
The Republican platform
has been under attack, with the outrageous implication that all
candidates, delegates and Republicans in general agree with the
extreme plank on abortion; so the Democratic platform became fair
play. Fearing that all Democrats would be called anti-God and
anti-Israel, cooler heads, some say Obama’s itself, asked that the
platform be amended to return God and Jerusalem.
I wasn’t watching at
the time, but Chip Ford called me, laughing, to tell me that the
Democrats had just booed God. The moderator had tried and failed
three times to pass the amendment: Twice, the delegates voted nay,
and on the next vote, there seemed to be a tie. When the frustrated
moderator just declared the required two-thirds vote passed, the
delegates booed. You can see this political mistake at
Of course, the
Republicans have made mistakes, too, which were featured in the
other good speech of the convention. Bill Clinton did what I’d hoped
Romney would do: address real issues one by one. Unfortunately for
Republicans, the issues Clinton chose were the ones on which they
haven’t been completely truthful: the accusation about Obama easing
work requirements for welfare; the accusation, matching Democrats’
against them, that someone is cutting Medicare now.
Of course, it was odd
to see Bill Clinton as the Democrats’ advocate for telling the
truth. He had more authority with his attached lecture about getting
along and working together, using the example of his projects with
the Bushes after they all left office.
I thought Elizabeth
Warren’s speech was also good, for its visible audience. If you’re
going to be an angry liberal, then do it with conviction, advocating
for government as the power behind all good things. Must admit her
anger against those bonuses for bailed-out Big Business executives
hit a chord with me, too.
Nothing else worked
very well: certainly not Barney Frank’s blaming the Republicans for
the “worst economy in 30 years,” as if no one remembers the role he
played in preventing the Bush administration from reforming Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac.
Other speakers’ sudden
interest in small business and the military got old very fast; they
were obviously just playing defense off the Republican’s convention
attack on Warren and Obama’s “you didn’t build that” and emphasizing
the odd oversight of Romney not mentioning our troops.
The strangest thing:
When speakers finally got past their own stories and support for
“reproductive rights” and mentioned Barack Obama, it was jarring; my
first thought was, who? Nothing that was being said to praise the
president seemed to apply to his first term in office — nor did his
“same-ol’ speech” when he gave it.
I’d heard all the
liberal talking points before, so I read the day’s comics. In
“Prickly City,” young Carmen is at the Democratic convention,
talking to delegates who are wearing T-shirts that say “HOPE TAKES
TIME.” One tells her, “I still believe. I have to believe, if I
don’t, what’s left!?” Carmen: “Common sense. Rational thought.
Reality.” And the delegates boo her.
Boo the little Hispanic
conservative, boo God and Jerusalem, and I still haven’t heard a
viable plan to deal with the national debt. That’s the Reality we
face, without real change.