Bill Clinton is awfully good at what he does. His speech before the Democrat National Convention last night showed everyone that he is still the biggest rock-star in American politics.
Bill Clinton has an almost magically ability to pull mythology through the mists and make it all seem real enough to touch. Clinton is so convincing that it is effortless to forget that this is the man who was impeached for lying, lied under oath, was disbarred for lying, lied in his marital vows, and finger-waggingly lied to the American people. As the master himself declared last night, “it takes some brass,” to sell such nonsense. In that regard Senate candidate Elizabeth “faux-cahontas” Warren was the perfect opening act for Clinton.
Fact checkers are already having a field day with the Clinton speech. Considering he exceeded his allotted time by nearly 30 minutes, they will have their hands full. Leaving that task to others, let us address a few other issues from Charlotte.
1) The real story of the DNC should be the delegate vote over adding language to the party platform that both acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and reinserted the word “God” in the official Democrat agenda. When both things were stripped of their usual place in the platform eyebrows were raised – but the issue was dropped. Fearing fallout among voters who actually believe in things like God the Democrats moved to reinsert the scrubbed text.
What followed was a wonderfully awkward convention moment of the sort we have not witnessed in perhaps 50 years. DNC Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took a voice vote of the delegates, citing a need for a two-thirds majority. The balance of the first vote seemed to stun him, so he asked for a re-vote. Stunned again he began scanning for help. Re-assured by party functionaries he again took a re-vote. Again the crowd was evenly split, so Villaraigosa declared victory and moved on.
Tossing aside the content of the textual change, the procedural bravado of the Democrat officials is startling. If they are so causal in ignoring their own rules and delegates, why should anyone think they would treat our laws and political opponents differently? From Bill Clinton to the platform committee, it is obvious that moral flexibility is a prerequisite of party leadership.
2) I failed to do so in my reactions to first night of the convention so let me now applaud HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for “owning” Obamacare. Never before have I seen a leading Democrat so forcefully claim the still unpopular law and offer its vigorous defense. Though I am in complete disagreement with her, she should be commended for wearing that albatross so proudly.
3) Despite rhetoric excoriating those who kowtow to special interest groups, the DNC podium has hosted a parade of leaders from special interest groups. Understanding that Charlotte has become a fantasyland where a President who added $5 trillion in new debt in three and a half years can be extolled for his commitment to fiscal responsibility, the prominence of pressure groups is amazing. The leaders of SEIU, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the UAW, and others have all had scheduled speaking slots at the convention. Pure hypocrisy. Pure appeasement of powerful narrow-interest groups by the President’s party.
4) I have two more points that need to be addressed, but will consign them to another Yawp. This one is long enough. I will return with a response to the charge that Republicans, ala Mitch McConnell’s remark of 2010, always wanted Obama to fail, and to the recurring theme of the DNC that we are our brother’s keeper.