September 7, 2012
dnc night threeA friend told me that there was a commentator Wednesday night, a Republican, who, after the Clinton speech said, "End the convention, this is the moment that won the reelection." Sure. It was the speech of a lifetime.
But last night was President Obama, and his speech left me in tears. It was a different tack than Bill Clinton's, fewer statistics and less professorial. This is what he did: first, he talked about "you<." Sure, he listed accomplishments of the administration, but he didn't say that he did that, or even that we did that — he said, "YOU did that." Also: "You are the change." You can argue over the semantics of that, but it's a pretty romantic, heart-swelling appeal to comity and citizenship. (And probably as infuriating to the haters as it is appealing to me.)
Second, he asked for our vote. There was none of the, "And that's why we will win in November!" or any of that. It was a straightforward and earnest request, and it gets down to Obama's true, underestimated strength: he is the least bullshit candidate to run in decades, and that's why people hate him. He's a man who's found a way to be a politician without game-playing and prevarication and cynicism.
He's the lone grown-up in the room. I'm voting for him.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:27 AM
September 6, 2012
dnc night twoThere's this guy, he lives in the same apartment building as I do. He's sixty-ish, born and raised in Flatbush. Between you and me, he's a bit much to take. He stations himself in the lobby, or, on nice days, on the sidewalk outside the lobby, so it's near impossible to exit the building without crossing his path. And boy howdy does this guy like to talk. Before I pinned down his m.o., he had me trapped in a conversation for forty-five minutes.
And his most prominent verbal tic is to start every second or third sentence with, "Now listen," and then raise his eyebrows and pause as if you're supposed to signal assent. And then he'll talk about the weather or some cruise he took or his favorite Chinese restaurant down in Gravesend or some damn fool thing.
Having said that, I still thought that Bill Clinton's speech last night was a very good speech. Yeah it was long, but it was comprehensive, and if there is a Republican talking point that is un-rebutted I'd be shocked.
But the night was kind of weird when you think that Elizabeth Warren is the professor, and not the former president.
Looking forward to this evening.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:52 AM
September 4, 2012
dnc night oneI decided that if I'm gonna give the RNC three nights, I might as well do the same for the DNC, which started last night.
And if you were watching, you know what everyone knows: both Julian Castro and Michelle Obama were fantastic. Castro, the young mayor of San Antonio, the son of parents who worked as menials, genially laid out the argument that the difference between the Democratic and the Republican platforms is that the Democratic is more inclusive, more "we are measured by the success of the least of us". And Mrs. Obama (who some on the social media were urging to run for president after her speech), reinforced the themes introduced by Castro, and elliptically rebutted Ann Romney's head-scratching stories of her and Mitt struggling:
And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.
We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.
But the bon mot of the night goes to Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts (and Romney's immediate successor). Of course Gov. Patrick was hanging Massachusetts around the neck of Romney, just for shits and giggles, but he got this good one off:
He's a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was a lot more interested in having the job than doing the job
And that is the most succinct assessment of the utter lack of charisma Romney has: he doesn't want to be president as much as he wants to win the presidency.
Tonight: Bill Clinton. He's never not fun.
Posted by mrbrent at 1:05 PM
good morning 9.4.12The front page headline of today's Morning Call of Allentown, PA, reads:
Not sure which man is biting which dog in this story, but between you and me, people who have characterized themselves as undecided are generally speaking conflicted between the possible decisions to make.
But maybe the people of the Lehigh Valley all learned a little something this morning, like, about words and their definitions.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:42 PM