It’s Wednesday, July 27, 2016.
Some thoughts at the midway point of the Democratic National Convention:
— I guess the idea was for Bill Clinton to make his wife seem more relatable.
The whole thing about Hillary looks for drawers in Chelsea’s dorm room to line with that paper. Until last night, I thought that was only something that happened in my family.
But Bill Clinton was trying to intertwine the mother and lover with the career public servant. Eighteen years after we found out about Monica Lewinsky, the lover part remains awkward – although he addressed those problems so briefly that I’ll bet a lot of people missed it.
After describing a walk to a Yale art museum in law school, he said, “We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since. And we’ve done it in good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak.”
Did Bill Clinton succeed?
He gave it a good 50-minute-or-so shot. He actually looked at his watch at one point, a striking change for a guy who doesn’t seem to be affected much by time. It’s also an interesting juxtaposition from 1992, when his opponent -George H.W. Bush – looked at his watch during a debate, making it seem as though he wanted to be anyplace other than there.
I’m thinking Clinton did some good. People who actually watched the speech probably learned a lot more about this possible president than they would have otherwise.
But a lot like last week in Cleveland, the only speech that matters this week in Philadelphia is the one Thursday night. A lot is riding on how well Hillary Clinton can tell her own story.
The fact that her former president husband thinks she’s up to the job is great. And her former boss, Barack Obama, will surely give her a great reference tonight.
But while voting against Trump will be a big motivation, it can’t be a complete victory unless Hillary Clinton gives people a reason to vote FOR her.
The stakes are getting raised.
— Poor Tim Kaine. Tonight, he’ll become the Democratic vice presidential nominee – and he’ll be an afterthought.
The man who he would succeed, Joe Biden, will speak tonight to party faithful who love him like an eccentric relative. The best political orator of my lifetime, Barack Obama, speaks as well.
And, over the last two nights, Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama have electrified the crowd in Philadelphia. Throw in Bernie Sanders, with his gruff passion, and you see Kaine’s problem.
I’m sure he’ll do OK. He’s that sort of guy. But it must be daunting to have to speak to a crowd that’s heard some impressive oratory.
— If Hillary Clinton is elected, one of the little things I would push for is some sort of memorial to those killed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan since 1990.
For one thing, it’s the right thing to do. These people sacrificed for this country – even if we now realize that it was stupidity to send them to Iraq in 2003.
For another, the memorial should be a reminder of the folly of just thinking you can send American troops somewhere to solve problems, real or imagined.
If Trump is elected, of course, it’s doubtful that any such tribute is forthcoming. The way he sees it, those folks didn’t win. Why would we honor them?