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Monday, August 1, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Two Weeks of Conventions—Part II: Democrats

Here’s Part II of Rob’s Rants on the last two weeks of political conventions. The Democrats were up close, having their party right in my area of Philadelphia.
  • Hillary Clinton gave a great speech to close out the Democratic National Convention, and pushed me toward voting in the presidential election in November. I didn’t say voting for her, because the only choice for me is to vote for Clinton or not at all. She crushed Trump, putting him in his place, especially in respect to his suggestion that he knows more than our military leaders, saying, “No, Donald, you don’t.” And she succinctly summed up the problem with his temperament, saying, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.” I thought there was genuineness in the way she talked about all of his prejudice. Finally, it didn’t feel like piling on—not that Trump’s nonsense doesn’t deserve some piling on—but she really put it on a non-political level. She laid out her history of working for people with disabilities in a way that I not only bought, but it was more than a sound bite. I really think she “gets it.” And this might sound superficial, but her demeanor finally seemed strong in terms of being a leader. Yes, she talked about the fact that her election would be important for little girls, and that’s great. I also liked the fact that she talked about her mom, and being a mom and a grandmom, in that speech. But she did it without just being the woman candidate. She did it within being the candidate.

  • The eve of the DNC had its own fireworks, only they didn’t need the media’s help. Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced she would resign after leaked e-mails showed staffers favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the primary. Reports say they were asking how they could use Sanders’ faith against him with Southern voters and how to defend Clinton against Sanders’ claim that she didn’t “[live] up to a joint fundraising agreement.” Maybe these people should just text. Better yet, call each other. Of course, they could try not screwing with the system, but that doesn’t seem possible. Honestly, I was with Bernie when he blew off Hillary’s use of a private e-mail server as Secretary of State. Nothing resulted from it, so the issue seemed like Republicans blowing up a non-issue. But when Bill Clinton just sort of happened to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch at an airport, then shortly thereafter this never-ending issue is suddenly resolved . . . it smells. Coupled with the latest e-mail scandal, it just reinforces that feeling I can’t shake about Clinton. I basically want to vote for, she certainly has the better temperament for the job, and I think a woman president would be a good thing. I understand she has the better resume in public service, and I even think she’d do a lot more for the middle class and people with disabilities. But, damn, she sure does seem to work the system.

  • Tim Kaine didn’t impress me anymore than Mike Pence. Everyone says no one votes for the VP candidate anyway. I’ll admit, I wasn’t comfortable with him speaking Spanish. In his “first greeting to voters as the vice presidential nominee,” he did it even more than at the DNC according to the video attached to the story on CNN. He also seemed to do it a lot without repeating himself in English. The story says he did it while talking about inclusion on a campus that is “more than half Hispanic.” I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Americans didn’t feel included. I think English is our language—by law or not—and should be the language used first in this country. Otherwise, he had a goofy Trump impersonation and pointed out that Trump doesn’t offer any actual plans, which was worth pointing out again, I suppose.

  • President Obama gave what will probably be his last national address, and he was pretty damn good. One of the ways I measure that is the fact that he’s one of those people from whom I feel like I’m learning something when he speaks. I’m certainly not a historian, but I have to think people will soon look back and decry the fact that Obama’s presidency took place with a Congress that simply said “no” to whatever he said just because he said it. What a shame.

  • Over the last year, I’ve grown to think the same thing about Bernie Sanders—I learn when he speaks. Yet, I feel like he wussed out a little. As I said in Part I of this post, it wasn’t that long ago that people were talking about a contested convention for both sides. And Sanders doesn’t slam the DNC chairwoman, who clearly tried to tilt the scales against him? I understand that what Sanders was going to say was negotiated with the Clinton camp, but I would’ve loved to “feel the Bern” one more time.

  • Elizabeth Warren has been pretty stellar at taking down Trump, but for my money she fell a little flat at the convention. Maybe it was just one time too many. I hate to compare her to Rudy Giuliani, but there seemed to be that beat from the crowd when she expected a reaction.

  • I missed Anastasia Somoza, a young woman with cerebral palsy who spoke on the opening night of the DNC, I believe in prime time. Seeing her speech on YouTube, I have to say she did a terrific job—I’m not patronizing, just admitting I don’t think I could have done it. More importantly, she offered a pretty strong rebuke of Trump for mocking a disabled reporter.

Read Part I: Republicans

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