Yep, it’s time for the Democratic Convention–and after managing to contain the rage (yes,that was contained) that the GOP convention elicited, I feel like I can finally enjoy politics for a brief shining moment.
Everyone is a little shouty, except for Kathleen Sebelius, but they’re hitting the right notes. Tammy Duckworth and Lily Ledbetter are there, as is Rahm Emmanuel with some great observations about life in the Obama White House that make me long for the “West Wing.” He reveals that Obama reads ten letters from average Americans every night to ground him and remind him of what they were working for. Why do I doubt Mitt Romney would ever even entertain the thought of such a thing?
Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts gave a fabulous fiery wonderful speech–I especially loved his exhortation to Democrats to grow a backbone–did that offend people? It should, because it’s true and it’s been a problem for Dems for decades. Still, Deval reminds us of all the Obama has accomplished, “With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office — and neither should you.” If you’re looking to get fired up, check his speech out.
Patrick’s not the keynote speaker though. That’s Julian Castro. I’m still dreaming of a “West Wing” Matt Santos from Texas kind of situation. Castro’s TED talk was genial but not on fire. In Charlotte though, he gets warmed up and he’s a great personable natural speaker, plus he gets a few great lines in there about Romney/Ryan: “Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will too. Folks, we’ve heard that before. First they called it “trickle-down.” Then “supply-side.” Now it’s “Romney-Ryan.” Or is it “Ryan-Romney”? Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price.”
Castro also tosses off this line: “In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay.” Yeah, that’s a gibe about Ryan’s fibs about his fabulous marathon time.
One can’t help contrasting Ann Romney’s speech with Michelle’s. Ann got a lot of praise for her speech, but looked at next to Michelle’s, it pales–it comes across as inauthentic, nervous and and filled with non-specific generalities about life with Mitt.
I don’t doubt that Mitt and Ann started out in a basement apartment where they ate pasta and tuna on an ironing board, but she can’t carry the story through to say, “I understand your struggles,” because they don’t understand. There was a hollowness to Ann’s speech that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time, but which seems obvious when I watch Michelle. Ann was trying to tell the story she had been tasked by the RNC with framing, but wasn’t ready to lie to put the story over.
By contrast, Michelle’s speech is both gracious, and yet peppered with details of her experience that ring true and move us. “Being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are,” she says, and that is so damn true. She gets all verklempt at the end, I’m all verklempt, the entire convention floor is on its feet, people are crying and cheering at the same time.
As Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast says, “As she describes the courage, wisdom, patience and grace of Barack Obama, I see them too. I make no apologies for admiring this president as much as anyone in public life, and seeing his sincerity and integrity and hearing this woman tell the truth about him after so many lies, it all comes as a huge and joyous relief.”
In Huffpo’s “Lies and the lying liars who tell them,” Sean Carman says: “And so here is the takeaway from last week’s saturation-level political activity, revealed not by the carefully-staged theater we witnessed, but by the moments in which the actors went off-script and the truth was accidentally revealed: Mitt Romney is not a particularly great decision-maker, and Paul Ryan is a liar.”
ThinkProgress has compiled the Ultimate Guide to Mitt’s Convention speech. There’s good stuff in there, a lot of it reiterated elsewhere (not that I object to fact-checking the GOP convention over and over and over again) but this particular item on the list drew my attention, because it’s often repeated, and infrequently rebutted, “Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt.” [The Hill,6/28/2012] REALITY: According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare reduces the deficit by $124 billion over 10 years and even more after that. [Politifact, 6/28/2012]“
Let’s have a closer look at that graph from the CBPP:
In Salon, Robert Reich offered this view: “Every campaign is guilty of exaggerations, embellishments, distortions, and half-truths. But this is another thing altogether. I’ve been directly involved in seven presidential campaigns, and I don’t recall a presidential candidate lying with such audacity, over and over again. Why does he do it, and how can he get away with it? The obvious answer is such lies are effective. Polls show voters are starting to believe them, especially in swing states where they’re being repeated constantly in media spots financed by Romney’s super PAC or ancillary PACs and so-called “social welfare” organizations (political fronts disguised as charities, such as Karl Rove and the Koch brothers have set up).”
Madeleine Albright: “It was appalling and disgusting,” she said. “But if I may say so, the things that he said in one form or another are in the Republican platform. So [while Republicans are] saying he is a nutcase and they have to move away from him, they did not move away from their platform.” Albright goes on to add this “I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand — I mean, I’m obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can’t understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney.”
Also, the other invisible personalities at the GOP convention did not go unnoticed by Bill Maher, who says that the GOP needs to admit the Bushes exist. Maher had this hilarious poke at Romney that I have to share–check out this money shot of Romney and colleagues at Bain Capital. Kinda says it all…
And if you’re still wondering what the heck this company Romney worked for actually did, Tony Soprano explains Bain Capital in easy-to-understand terms.
Dems just won a victory with the recent ruling in Ohio that “ruled that Ohio made an “arbitrary” decision when it took away early-voting rights for most voters but carved out a special exemption for military and overseas voters.”
We need everyone to get out there and vote early. I’M NOT KIDDING HERE, PEOPLE!
Seth Masket at Mischiefs of Faction notes that the Obama camp has a clear advantage on the ground over Romney. Check out this graph. Obama has far more field offices in swing states than Romney. Romney’s clearly betting on big ad buys, but, I have to wonder if that’s going to continue to help him or backfire when voters get fatigued and tired of seeing the endless meaningless ads.
Meantime, the development side of me thinks the knocking on doors, the social media, old fashioned person-to-person campaigning is going to be the way to go.