WE GO HIGH

It’s Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

Some quick thoughts on day one of the Democratic convention:

— Michelle Obama’s words are about to be lifted again. By any politician with half a brain.

In her amazing speech last night, many of the turns-of-phrase that she and writer Sarah Hurwitz came up with were epic.

The one that stood out was her describing what happens in her home when people nastily criticize her husband. “Our motto is when they go low, we go high.”

You will hear that phrase in campaigns for the next 20 years. It’s a brilliant way to go after a negative campaigner, made more so by the fact that a woman of such obvious intelligence and compassion is who you’re aligning with when you say it.

— During the primaries, Bernie Sanders was often compared with Trump because both seemed to tap into the national anger.

But last night, early in his speech, we were reminded why Sanders is very different. 

“This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency,” he said.  “This election is about – and must be about – the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren.”

Sanders and Clinton ran on issues. They fought, hard, more on the ways to achieve their goals than on the issues themselves.

The two of them didn’t run on personal matters. “I don’t care about your damn e-mails,” he told her in the first debate. They never spoke about physical attributes or their spouses’ characteristics.

In his speech last night, Sanders stayed true to those issues, repeating his positions on income inequality, campaign finance reform, college costs and climate change, among others.

He also forcefully endorsed his rival. Unlike Ted Cruz a week earlier, he left no doubt who he wants to see win on Nov. 8.

— Sanders is in the exact opposite position of Cruz in the Democratic Party.

If Clinton wins, it will be seen as testimony to the fact that he put his ego aside and worked for the good of the party and the country. If Clinton loses, he will – because he’s being a good soldier – have a lot to say about how the Democrats recover from this disaster.

That’s probably why Trump spent a lot of time last night tweeting negatively about Sanders.  And when it comes to Trump, Sanders isn’t going to be afraid to stand up to him.

After Trump tweeted “Bernie Sanders totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. All of that work, energy and money, and nothing to show for it! Waste of time,” Sanders dismissed him with a simple “Never tweet” – the Twitter version of “Drop dead.”

— Are you as nervous as I am about what Bill Clinton is going to say tonight?

He is such a freakin’ wild card out there. Will he make things better or worse?

Four years ago, he gave one of the most interesting long-winded speeches in American history in support of President Obama’s re-election.

But what he can say about his wife without raising unspoken subtexts? Can he actually accomplish something akin to what Michelle Obama did for his wife last night?

It’s what makes these things interesting.

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