Saturday, July 30, 2016

One speaker the Dems forgot to invite ... and other DNC stuff

Sure, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine spoke at the Democratic National Convention. And yes, their testimonial speeches on Hillary Clinton's behalf were more than just OK.

And sure, also speaking in Philadelphia were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, numerous generals (including some Republicans) and Khizr Kahn -- the father of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier who challenged Donald Trump's patriotism and knowledge of the Constitution. In addition, Katy Perry provided the musical entertainment.

So yeah, the Dems flashed a little more "star power" than the Republicans had a week earlier, when the best the GOP could do was dig Scott Freakin' Baio up from under a rock.

But hey, if the Dems had any sense of humor at all, they would have located the troubled Erin Moran and let her speak for a few minutes.

I mean, I can't believe they missed the opportunity to counter Chachi with Joanie!


Never able to control his worst impulses, Trump has lashed out at the aforementioned Khizr Kahn. He told ABC that Clinton's staff wrote Kahn's speech and said it appeared as if Clinton's people wouldn't let Kahn's wife, Ghazala, speak.

Kahn, a Harvard-educated lawyer, went on MSNBC on Friday to say Trump was lying -- which of course is Trump's default action. And Ghazala told MSNBC that she was too nervous to speak at the convention and she was still too emotionally shaken every time she thinks about her son, Humayun, a decorated captain who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004.

During his MSNBC interview, Khizr praised the patriotism of Republicans. He called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "a decent human being" and a great leader, and also praised House Speaker Paul Ryan. But, Kahn added: 

"If your candidate wins, and he governs the way he has campaigned, my country, this country, will have constitutional crises. ... There comes a time in the history of a nation when an ethical, moral stand has to be taken, regardless of the political response. The only reason (McConnell, Ryan and others in the party) are not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences."

I guess Hillary's people wrote that for him, too.

During the convention, Kahn ripped Trump for having never sacrificed anything. In his ABC interview, Trump responded: "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices," citing "millions of dollars" in donations for veterans.

About that ...

The Washington Post investigated those claims and found out that Trump hadn't donated a dime to charities for veterans. Shamed, Trump responded by finally cutting a check ... and banning Post reporters from receiving credentials to his events.


The three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate this fall will be must-see TV. Trump warmed up for them two months early with more Twitter bluster, accusing Hillary and the Dems of booking some debates the same nights as NFL games.

The only problem with that accusation is that the debates were scheduled 10 months ago by the same non-partisan commission that has run presidential debates for three decades.

Eh, but since when did facts ever stop Trump?


All the late-night comedians are razzing Tim Kaine for being boring, but I rather liked his speech -- especially when he was taunting Trump for punctuating his frequent lies with calls of, "Believe me!"

I think Kaine was a very good choice for Hillary's running mate. The Dems didn't need a "superstar veep." They needed a person with proven credentials and unimpeachable character.

You know you've got a good one when numerous Republicans are testifying how good a guy Kaine is.

No, he's no Barack or Bill or Biden in the speech-giving department, but he'll find his footing just fine.


Both Obamas were amazing at the convention. Michelle is a national gem. And if that was the president's last major speech in front of a national audience ... wow ... what a way to go out. 

Biden's passion practically jumped off the stage. His closing punctuation -- "Come on!" -- will be remembered for years. Booker's speech was outstanding but was overshadowed by Michelle's.

Still, I think my favorite convention yakker was Bloomberg, the Independent former New York mayor who is backing Hillary.

Bloomberg taunted, emasculated and humiliated Trump the way only somebody with MORE billions could. He called Trump a con man and a hypocrite, and explained with wit and energy why Trump isn't even a good businessman.

I don't agree with all of Bloomberg's policies from his three terms as mayor, but it's a shame we got the wrong Big Apple billionaire in this presidential race. I'm guessing Bloomberg would have defeated Hillary, and perhaps quite handily.


From all of the above, it's obvious that I think the Dems did a better job at their convention than the Trumpsters did in hosting Fear & Fright Fest 2016.

Nevertheless ...

Although Hillary's speech was better than I expected, she did fall back on cliches quite often. And she never really tried to convince Independents, disgruntled Republicans, Bernie Sanders followers and undecided voters why they should trust her, given her trail of lies and deceit.

Also, I didn't think Bill Clinton gave one of his better speeches. I was bored midway through it -- which wasn't the case as I watched Kaine's, by the way.

And there's still plenty of healing to do between Clinton and the Bernie Backers. Yet another email scandal made the party (and, by extension, Hillary) look bad. It played right into the "Hillary can't be trusted" narrative that the Republicans have wisely crafted.

White males, especially uneducated white males, are decidedly behind the macho, race-baiting narcissist at the top of the Republican ticket. So Hillary needs the Bernie Backers -- and they need to get over themselves. They might not like Hillary, but a Trump victory ends their "revolution," period.

Hillary also needs to handily win the black, Latino, female and young votes. I think she will, but I take nothing for granted. I admit I was among the millions who totally dismissed Trump's chances to win the GOP nomination. 

I underestimated him -- and the naivete of millions of Republican voters.


I'm trying -- and failing -- to understand why so many veterans and current soldiers seem to favor a draft dodger who belittled war hero John McCain for being captured and tortured.


North Carolina is a swing state, and Hillary got a major bump when an appeals court struck down the state GOP's restrictive voter ID law -- a law that also would have reduced the number of early-voting days, eliminated a weekend of early voting, tossed out a tradition of pre-registering 16- and 17-year-olds, etc. 

The three-judge panel correctly ruled that the law "targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The court ruled (and I agree) that Republicans who wrote and passed the law artfully got rid of all provisions that encouraged voting by blacks, other minorities and young people -- in other words, the Democratic base. When Pennsylvania powered through a similar law in 2012, one of that state's GOP leaders was caught on tape crowing that the law would give the election to Mitt Romney.

The courts have caught on, however. Just in the last two weeks, appeals courts have struck down voter-suppression laws in Texas, Wisconsin and now North Carolina.

The GOP laws in those and other states all were enacted in the guise of eliminating voter fraud. But the appeals court shot down the N.C. law as one that "imposes cures for problems that did not exist." Study after study has shown that in-person voter fraud is practically non-existent. 

For what it's worth, I thought the ID part of the N.C. law was about as close to fair as such a law could be. IDs would be free for those who couldn't afford them, and there was a chance to fill out provisional ballots for those who lacked ID. 

As usual, however, our wonderful state GOP couldn't stop there. They had to eliminate voting days, pre-registration for older teens, on-site registration, etc. They had to do everything possible to reduce voter turnout, because elections that have high voter turnout usually favor Democrats.

They targeted the black vote "with almost surgical precision" ... and now their own chances ended up in the sick bed.

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