Day 3 of the Democratic Convention

Another day of inspiring speeches and this time a theme of exposing Donald Trump while trying to redefine Hillary from her caricature.  I guess my basic feeling of comparing the two conventions, is the Republican convention was from the old folks home, most of whom are bitter and old, and this other convention, the Democratic, where we see youth, optimism, and talent.  It is hard to imagine how Republicans don’t see this.  Of course there are diddle heads in both parties, but the vast majority are Republicans.

One thing I need to mention before we get to President Obama’s speech, and that is the hacking of the DNC computers.  Now not only security experts in the private sector, but our own intelligence agencies are pointing the finger at the Russians.  I guess that makes the Republicans who still deny that look pretty stupid, but then again they are deep in looking that way with their denial of global warming and the failure of flow down.  I wonder when and if they will ever figure out they have most things wrong and their solutions (bumper stickers) are non-existent.

Okay, President Obama’s speech was masterful and he covered a great deal in his speech that is important especially for Americans who are afraid of change.  There were so many parts of this speech that touched many many important issues from correcting the record on where the economy is today from what the Republicans left us with eight years ago, to nailing the Donald as a real threat to democracy, and embracing Hillary.  But for me, his attempt to define for Americans what an American is was ground breaking.  It is about our values of hard work, fairness, and acceptance, not the color of your skin, sexual preference, or your religion.  It was a bridge for older Americans to see we are losing nothing and gaining a great deal.  It was a new way to identify American exceptionalism without the Republican status quo or thinking it is only white America.  The man himself exudes exceptionalism.

And the best part was the “we the people part”.  Barack, Hillary, Bernie, or Trump can’t really change America, only we the people can.  That is an important insight for Democrats who have elected their leader and then disappeared into the night when the real elections in off years really decides who is in charge.  Democracy is a work in progress and he identified our responsibility if we really want change.  As he finished his speech I just wondered how we could be so lucky to have him and Michelle through these turbulent times.  He has performed great service for this his country.

Most of the other speeches were exposing Donald Trump as the threat to democracy and peace that he is. I know some think this is tarnishing his character and part of the mud slinging people say they so hate and then react to.  But exposing facts as opposed to innuendo is not throwing mud.  Saying Hillary caused the deaths in Benghazi is a lie exposed by all the hearings.  That is mud.  Saying the Donald scammed people looking for an education or did not pay his subcontractors are facts in the record.  Saying Hillary’s email system threatened the security of the United States is not a fact.  No one could find anything that actually did that, only that some classified items were in her emails.  I would guess they are in most of the people throwing mud if we could examine them because so much is classified.

But I will close with a diddle head Bernie supporter who is going to vote 3rd Party even after Day 3 and the impassioned speech of her President.  A third party vote for a Bernie supporter is a vote for Donald Trump because it is not a vote for Hillary.  One of those two are going to win and whether you like it or not, you make a choice to not participate in who leads this nation with that foolish vote.  It is one thing if you are a Libertarian or a Green and were always going to vote that way. It is another to do it as a protest because you are choosing and the choice you are making could be disastrous.  Note also that it is exactly what President Obama was talking about, thinking voting for your candidate is the end of it.  Vote and then fight for change, don’t throw it away and make the next fight almost impossible to wage.

So many diddle heads, so little time.

Diddle Heads Everywhere

Now I am not implying equivalency because the Republican Party has become 99% diddle heads.  How else can you explain Donald Trump or their craven approval of his racism, xenophobia, nativism, and outright ignorance.  But the Democrats have a few themselves as evidenced in the Convention.

It started with the Bernie nut jobs (about 5% of Bernie supporters) that decided they could not support Hillary.  They only trust Bernie, but when Bernie told them to trust Hillary, well they don’t trust Bernie.  Go figure.  Oh, and they will throw their vote away on a third party candidate which is really a vote for the Donald because it is one less for Hillary.  Then you have part of the California delegation walking out because they did not get their way with Bernie.  He lost, there are rules.  Is that the way democracy works, if you don’t get your way you try to hijack the process?  Only if you are a Republican.

But tonight the diddle heads started chanting “you lie” as Leon Panetta was making the case that Donald Trump is a very dangerous person and his statements on Russia and the emails today undermine America, the rule of law, our intelligence community, and our security.  It was embarrassing for them, for Democrats, and for Americans.  Not everyone agrees with you and you don’t rule the Democratic convention.  Oh, and things are way more complicated than you will ever understand.  So the diddle heads did today what they always do, stand for some over simplified principle, and hurt their cause, and themselves.

Thank goodness it is only a few and not a whole convention hall like they had in Cleveland.  But it is interesting that there are always a few that never get it.  If they were following the theme of the convention maybe they could have helped themselves.  Oh well.

Day 2 and Another Home Run

If you are into stagecraft 101, you should be watching the Democratic Convention because they are hitting all their marks.  Last night was the nomination process and they made it fun.  Even better the Bernie diehards were muted.  Maybe because of the way almost each state acknowledged that Bernie had changed the conversation and moved the party forward.  They were nominating Hillary, but were pay their respects to a man that woke them up from their slumber.  And Bernie reciprocated by speaking at the end of the vote count for unanimous acclamation.  Some will complain why he wanted the vote counted and recorded and the answer is simple, no back sliding.  But when he had to be magnanimous for the good of the country, Bernie was a patriot.

Just as a side note, there is a huge difference between 2008 when Hillary just stopped the count and graciously and magnanimously called for unanimous acclamation.  In that case, Obama was the upstart and the new way won.  This time the establishment won but that establishment has been forever changed and that movement had to be recognized and sustained.

I also saw where Susan Sarandon went home unhappy.  What did she expect?  There is not any way you can twist the numbers that Bernie won.  Reassign the super delegates by popular vote, open primaries, all the analyses can’t overcome the numbers.  Yes the DNC was rigged, but they were so inept they hurt Hillary more than Bernie.  No Bernie did not get fair media coverage, but then neither did Hillary.  So do we have a take over of the media by government?  Yes, the Democratic establishment was against Bernie, but Bernie was not a Democrat till recently and that would not have changed.  So in the end, Hillary won so get over it.  Bernie made his mark and will continue to, but now we have to get on with the business of trying to save the country from a tyrant and a bully who disdains the Constitution, and a party bent on destroying the country so they can stay in power.

The rest of the campaign was designed to do one thing:  Try to make Hillary a real person instead of the caricature of her that is so ingrained in the public eye.  Let’s face it, Hillary is not a great speaker and she does not connect well to crowds like Bill does.  It has been that problem that has been used to create the “crooked Hillary” image that is a fantasy.  I would refer you to a journalist I trust, Ezra Klein, to attest to the real Hillary.  The point here was that they did a masterful job of presenting the Hillary we don’t see and would not have known had they not done this.  Even I found out things about her that not even the most hateful Republican could not work up an ulterior motive for.

But the most exciting thing last night was that we nominated a woman for President from a major party.  On this one most men and maybe some young women have no idea how powerful this is.  Michelle Obama, in what will probably go down as one of the great speeches of the convention or any convention, made that point about the hopes and dreams for her daughters. I don’t think most men understand the anger in many women, especially those my age, about how they have been treated in their lives and the nomination is the beginning of putting a stake in the heart of that evil.  Me, an old white guy who had two daughters, I could not be happier.  Yeah, I was a Bernie guy and still am, but stop and smell the roses. This is earth shaking.

Bill made me nervous, but I thought he did a very good job of showing the human side of Hillary.  He, as he is great at doing, simplified the difference between Hillary and the Donald and unmasked the fantasy of Donald.  But for me the most affecting moment was when he described the scene of he as President of the United States, and Hillary as First Lady, were dropping Chelsea off at college.  As he describe Hillary trying to put more draw and shelving paper down, and he staring out the window trying to hold back the tears, who has not been there.  It was a truly humanizing moment.

So I have to say, they nailed it.  How it will play in America I have no idea, but once again we saw the difference between night and day when comparing the Republican of white people, hate, and fear, to the diversity, hope, and love of the Democratic convention.  But probably the most important insight was not how dissenters (Bernie’s folks) were muted, but how they were embraced.  It was the key to the difference between the two parties, one moving ahead to our future, one building barricades to it.

TPP and Why It is Not So Simple

If you watched the Democratic Convention you say the Bernie fans hold put their TPP signs.  Hillary was for it and is now, a qualified against it.  Bernie is against it and it has become the poster child for shipping jobs overseas and economic inequality.  But it not quite that simple and here is why:  The TPP isn’t just a trade agreement, it is also foreign policy.  

Let’s look at the trade side first.  Clearly we want to increase trade.  The tradeoff has always been we will loose some jobs, but we get cheaper products, and our access to their markets increases our income and jobs here.  Except it hasn’t worked that way.  For sure we get cheaper products, but the gains have gone to wealthy and the jobs created don’t pay as well.  On the other hand, agreements can increase our business opportunities, protect the environment, protect workers, protect intellectual rights, and open markets.  

So on the trade side you have to evaluate whether the losses offset the gains.  The problem has always been that for corporate America it is a big win, but for woking people it has been a net loss.  Intellectual property protection can stifle innovation and new businesses.  Big Pharma can force the high prices in America to be paid elsewhere and protect their high prices from foreign competition.  So you have to do a complex trade off analysis.  My yardstick here is what is the net impact on economic inequality. It must decrease economic inequality.

Then there is the other part of this agreement which is a foreign policy.  The TPP establishes a strong road block on China taking away both our markets, and reducing our influence on our partners in the future.  In essence it solidifies connects with the many economies of our Asian partners and balances China’s influence and incursions.  Is it worth the downside? That’s why it is not so simple.  Some of the agreements are long sought after agreements that greatly benefit us.  Some parts increase economic inequality and makes corporations king.  Rejecting it could open the door for China to have more influence with our allies in the region.

The real problem is we need to look at it, debate it, and adjust it as necessary.  But we don’t have that opportunity after Congress gave the President Fast Track Approval, basically an up or down vote.  So in many ways, that approach kind of turned a complex review into an up or down vote.  If you don’t like to roll dice and see if you get screwed, you can only vote no.

They Just Don’t Get It

The news media is driving me crazy.  They need conflict so they are focusing on the Bernie nuts (less than 15% of Bernie supporters who will vote for Trump or a third-party) instead of the real message of the convention.  I heard one Hillary fan (blinded by the light) complain about Bernie not coming over sooner.  The media seems to have the same opinion in that once Bernie lost the delegate count, why not capitulate?  Bernie explained it to them last night, but they weren’t listening.  You don’t capitulate an idea.  In Bernie’s words, this is not about Trump, or Hillary, or Bernie, it is about an idea.  Our modern day media doesn’t know how to report ideas, only personalities so this must be all about Bernie and Hillary, not about moving the party toward Progressive solutions to our challenges.

Here is what they are missing and they ought to note that some old hand politicians do get the message.  Bernie has changed the Democratic Party, and he may well have just saved it.  He woke up the young in America with a message that was quite clear: old style Democratic politics have failed us.  They want commitment to progressive policies they can believe in and will be fought for.  Half a loaf Democratic thinking has resulted in a country rapidly moving rightward.  And he moved both Hillary and the Democratic Party when they saw the writing on the wall and what he was bringing to the campaign.

The attitude of the Hillary fan and much of the media is, well you lost and Hillary won, so now get on the Hillary train and all that came before doesn’t matter.  Of course it does.  Without Bernie pushing the party to the left, the establishment Democratic Party that was quite comfortable with the status quo and tone death to what was happening in the country, would have alienated half the young people in the country and low turnout could still lose them the election.  And that change is just beginning and that is what Bernie and his supporters understand.  Right now they are having (again only about 15%) trouble trusting Hillary’s new attitude because it is a new attitude for her.  They see her transition on many policies as triangulating, not evolving.

But I do trust her.  She is a savvy women, she does want what is best for this country, and she understands how the Republicans are destroying this country.  She has been in the bubble of the establishment, but Bernie pushed her out and she is beginning to figured it out.  More importantly and what they are all missing is that this is a journey and not just one election.  Bernie, Elizabeth, and many Democrats are going to be pushing the party each step of the way.  In many ways, Hillary actually could be the best person to have in the White House, with Bernie and Elizabeth in the Senate pushing legislation.

Here is what the Hillary folks (some get it by the way) and some establishment Democrats (See Debbie Wassermann Shultz) are missing. They are terrified of Trump. So am I. But their focus is on uniting the party around Hillary to defeat Trump at all costs and the sooner the better. It’s a short-term goal, albeit a good one. But if Hillary does not move leftward (she already has thanks to Bernie) and start pushing the Progressive agenda making the Democratic Party a real party of change and demonstrating where the real problem is, we could have more Trumps in our future. The idea is to elect Hillary with an agenda and a following that not only elects her president, shatters the glass ceiling,  but starts to change the country in ways that make the Donald Trumps of the world an asterisk in history.

So, if you are paying attention this is not about a personality, but policies and a journey.  You don’t stop halfway up a mountain because there is a slide in your way.  You find another path.  We are on that other path, and in many ways it could be the better one.  Hillary Clinton will be the first woman in the White House, maybe change the world as we know it, and we do know one thing for sure, she is the one person who can do it if she choses to.

Oh and tonight Bernie supporters (of which I am one), if you boo John Lewis when he nominates Hillary, I am coming after you.  This man did more for this country than you can even dream about and he and his judgement deserve your respect.

Day 1 and Lunacy

Probably the most important thing to take away from last night is that you never ever want to follow Michelle Obama on a speaking tour.  Wow.  She could not make you more proud to be an American, unless of course you are a whack job in the Republican Party.  The Obama’s make wonderful role models for all of us.

Then there was the tension over what Bernie supporters would do especially from earlier in the day, when Bernie spoke to them and they booed him when he told them the obvious, support Hillary.  But it turns out Democratic strategists are way smarter than Republican ones.  They started the convention with Cory Brooker giving a rousing speech about why we should be proud Americans and reminding us of our basic values.  Then in a stroke of genius they had Al Franken and Sarah Silverman lighten it up.  And Silverman, a real Bernie fan, delivered a message to Bernie supporters no politician could:  Stop being ridiculous.  But the logical connection through out the night was that Trump is a disaster and they all nailed it.

Then Elizabeth Warren came out to put the nail in the Trump coffin and set Bernie up.  And nailed him she did.  Fact checkers did not have much to do last night as Democrats basically exposed the Donald’s sordid record which has been out there but not condensed for the whole world to see.

Then comes Bernie and we are all holding our breath, but Bernie delivers for Hilary and although you can hear boos in the crowd, he made a strong case for what they had accomplished, how far they had moved the party, that Hillary is their way forward, and maybe the part of the speech most did not hear, they would keep Hillary in line if she strays.  It was a very cleverly crafted speech that hidden within Bernie’s indictment of where we have faltered was the promise to not allow any backsliding.  If Bernie supporters were listening, his message was take back the Senate and we will make sure our agenda is enacted.

You could say the Democrats nailed it on Day 1.  While pundits were looking for conflict and trouble under every chair, the Democrats set a positive theme, emphasized the real America, not the war zone Trump created, and exposed the Donald for the creep he is.  And they did a good job of defusing the Bernie supporters by meeting them more than halfway on platform and policies.  And Bernie did his part masterfully, letting everyone know he is still a player.  Now some will say, well there will be no unanimous consent today when they vote and see that as a problem, I think that is part of letting his supporters still have a victory of sorts, and keeping Hillary’s feet to the fire to stay left.  Anything else would have been seen as a capitulation and a betrayal by Bernie supporters and caused more dissention.

After the convention, MSNBC was down on the floor interviewing disgruntled Bernie supporters (because they make good news/entertainment. Now understand that 85% of Bernie supporters have already said they were going to vote for Hillary so they found three woman, two of which might vote Green Party.  You kind of have to wonder why it wasn’t two fo and one against to be representative, but where is the conflict in that?

When asked why they said they trusted Bernie, but not Hillary, and were challenged on the fact that if they trusted Bernie and he told them to vote for Hillary, why didn’t they really trust Bernie, their answers were incoherent.  One was all wrapped up with the TPP and misstated Hillary’s position on it.  The other was just totally illogical.  The third one totally got it, and was moving to push Bernie fans to support Hillary.

I think I have an insight into the intransigent two.  From a rational point of view, Hillary is the only way forward.  Any other option is self-defeating.  So why the incoherence?  In the primary, Hillary became the enemy.  She was the problem.  They no longer saw the person or the policies, just the evil person who made all good things go bad for Democrats.  They weren’t focused on Republicans, but the war in the Democratic Party.

Now they can’t overcome those feelings they created within themselves about Hillary.  Their brains are not disengaged from their emotions yet.  And maybe in that is the way forward for Hillary.  She needs to become a person for them instead of the caricature they have created in their mind and feed by Republican and primary propaganda.  Bernie is doing his part and Hillary is going to have to do hers.  We know that she is not great at communicating the real person, but that she must.

So all and all, the Democratic Convention was like a breath of fresh air after the smoke, fire, and brimstone of the Republican hell and damnation convention.  Oh dare I say it, Morning in America?

Checking Your Frontal Lobe at the Door

Bernie lost.  It made me sad.  I am a Bernie supporter.  But he lost.  Even with the Super Delegates redistributed by popular vote, Bernie lost.  Even with Debbie Wasserman Schultz beginning with the debate scheduling and all the rest, not even Bernie thinks he would have won.  So here we are, with Hillary and Kaine.  Now there are only two choices, Trump or Hillary.  That’s it.  A third-party vote is a throw away vote at best and at worst is a vote for Donald Trump.

So as a Bernie supporter knowing we need to move very left, Hillary is the best bet to do that.  Donald won’t and he just might destroy the Constitution.  But somehow some Bernie supporters believed the same hype that Trump supporters bought into in the Crooked Hillary chant.  I actually heard one tell an interviewer that they were going to vote for Trump because he would do less damage to the country.  Say what?  Did brain eating bacteria eat your frontal lobe?  Is it that feeling thing over facts that John Oliver pointed out last night?

So let’s clear the air here.  Hillary is anything but crooked.  She has been more closely examined that anyone in public life and been subject to more abuse than anyone.  Second, while she is slow to the Progressive Train, she is moving there.  And there is one thing I can guarantee you.  She has a moment in history to be the first woman president and she is not going to be owned by anyone.  She will move the country leftward while the Donald will move the country off a cliff.  So please, re-engage your brain.  Bernie has already changed the DNC and the Democratic Party and you are about to destroy that.

And most importantly, if Bernie had won, nothing changes without Congress.  What some Bernie folks miss is that the real war is to change Congress to Progressive.  Then they win.  They will push the country leftward and who is the President won’t make any difference.  They are along for the ride. It is not the tactical battle at the convention, it is the strategic battle in the country.  What some of these supporters are doing now is hurting the Progressive cause and setting it back.  We have Hillary and that is our road forward.  The battle is in the trenches now to elect her and change the Congress in the down ballot races.  That is the fight, not throwing a tantrum at the convention.  You lost.  A Trump Presidency would destroy everything Bernie and his supporters believe in.  How brain-dead do you have to be to not see that?  Get on board or go be brain-dead Republicans.

Told You So

I went back and searched my blog for where I started hammering Debbie Wassermann Schultz and it has been a year.  It is a real wakeup call for the Democrats that their establishment hurts them and hold them back.  Hillary needs to distance herself if she wants to bring in young Progressives. Anyway, I told you so and now they have to kiss her ass to get her not to talk tonight and further her damage.

And I will make one other prediction for November.  Bernie supporters are mad as hell, and the DNC has handed them even more reason to not support Hillary.  Some I heard interviewed today even said they would support Trump.  Here is my advice:  Take a chill pill.  They are in the moment and really mad at the Democratic Party.  Hillary is not the perfect candidate and she picked an establishment right leaning VP. It has not been a smart week for her or the DNC.  But we have a long time until the election and the reality of Donald Trump will sink in.  He will lose in a landslide.  Just ask Ted Cruz.

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie will get fully behind Hillary, and if Hillary is smart, let them push her left.  In the end we either elect a mad man or elect Hillary who really will work for the little guy/gal.  That is the real choice and they will get it.

 

The Liberal Red Neck Summarizes the Republican Convention

Trae Crowder does a bit called the Liberal Redneck where from a very southern point of view, Trae points out the hypocrisy of today’s politics.  To say hilarious does not cover it.  You can find his videos on Youtube, but here is his latest on the Republican convention.  Oh, and if you are offended by crude language, you shouldn’t be reading this blog anyway:

 

Feelings Versus Facts

John Oliver last night nailed what is the critical issue with Republicans and many others in this country today, they value feelings, how they feel about something, over facts.  Reality be damned.  I would say that religious faith is part of this problem, but that is a discussion for another day.  But instead of me going on about this, here is John to explain how our country is really going off the rails:

Just a great way to design policy and spend our money when facts aren’t important if you feel better. Dump Trump and Republicans in general.  They brought us this debacle.