Now for a few notes on tonight at the Democratic National Convention.
First, last night I watched a breathtakingly good documentary about the financial collapse in America in 2008. It was called “Inside Job.” I agreed with virtually every word until the end when it because was too partisan. But it was a magnificent effort and success.
So, I was primed to like Elizabeth Warren, the Native American woman who is running for Senate as a Democrat in Massachusetts. She is a big critic of abuses on Wall Street, as I have been all of my life.
But what a shock when she actually came on. She is a rambling kamikaze of a politician, aiming to blow up everything in her path. She simply made up a bunch of abuses by the GOP, then said she would make them all better. But she never said how. And there is no “how” anyway.
Human beings are greedy and dishonest in many, many cases. They are money crazed. That is the religion in America. Both Democrats and Republicans are under the spell of money. Mr. Obama is at least as much under money’s spell as Mr. Bush 43 was or Mr. Romney is. Look at who he has around him: Valerie Jarrett, slumlord, oops, property developer, sorry. Rahm Emanuel until recently. Wildly well paid hondler (a Yiddish word) for Lazard Freres. Got $7 million for basically just making municipal bond “gonnections” (as Meyer Wolfsheim called them in “Gatsby”), Tim Geithner, former head of the New York Fed, who totally bungled the job as the 2008 crash happened, whom Obama made Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, genuine genius but no enemy of Wall Street.
People are people and they like money and Wall Street has a lot of it. They will have a lot of power.
But Ms. Warren just went absolutely nuts when she talked about how Mr. Romney had said that corporations were people. Ms. Warren sobbed into the camera that corporations don’t have children, don’t feel pain, don’t cry, so they are not people. She was so worked up I thought she was going to start chanting to her Native American gods.
But wait a minute, Professor Warren. Who do you think owns corporations? Who do you think have their retirement funds invested with corporations? Who do you think benefits if corporations do well? Who do you think works at corporations? Who do you think buys the goods and services of corporations? (Of course, dope that she is, she mostly hates the oil companies.)
This idea that corporations are somehow non-human is just stupid. Isn’t she a Professor at Harvard Law School? What’s going on there?
Plus, Ms. Warren had the strange habit of pressing her tongue against her lips and cheeks as if she were mimicking a sex act. That was unnerving.
But it was a good introduction for Bill Clinton. This cracker snake oil salesman, as my pal John Coyne calls him, immediately began to lecture the Republicans about how immoral they are. Yes!!!! This man, who had a college intern give him oral sex in the Oval Office while he was on the phone with a Congressional Committee Chair, who inserted cigars into this woman’s private parts in the Oval Office, then smoked them, then lied about it all, who was impeached, is lecturing the GOP about morality.
It is art.
This man, credibly accused of something very like sexual assault, is cheered to the rafters by the women at the DNC. It is fantastic. This is not grist for the political analyst. It is grist for the psychoanalyst.
The speech went on forever, but the best parts of it were when Mr. Clinton basically said, “Those vicious scumbag lying, heartless vampire, murdering Republicans… we try to be kind to them and love them and they still are the same lying murdering thieving scumbags they always were. See how mightily nice we are to these bastards and still they don’t want to work with us.”
The delegates cheered lustily.
A few things Mr. Clinton did not dwell upon: Mr. Obama has tacked roughly $5 trillion onto the deficit in three and a half years and we still have higher unemployment for a longer time than at any time since the Great Depression. The share of the GDP that goes to the federal government has grown by almost one-third, to close to a quarter of the whole economy — and what do we have to show for it?
But the most maddening part of the speech — which was delivered in the best fake-sincere, lip-biting Clinton way, was when he talked about what a terrible economy Mr. Obama inherited. And that’s true. It was in terrible shape.
How about the economy that George W. Bush inherited? A budding recession. The worst stock market meltdown since the Great Depression. A national nervous breakdown over 9/11. Mr. Bush and his team pulled us through all of this with resolve and steadiness and tax cuts that worked.
Yes, his team under Henry Paulson made terrible mistakes in 2007 and 2008. But Mr. Bush 43 inherited a crisis, the Internet scam and stock market collapse, brought it under control, steadied the nation after 9/11, and he gets no credit at all. I keep thinking of something basic: I do not recall Mr. Bush 43 ever blaming Mr. Clinton for the Internet bubble and the recession. Mr. Obama does nothing but blame George W. Bush for everything.
Well, anyway, the real tenor of the convention was revealed when the delegates booed the decision of the President to put back in “God given” before the word “abilities” in a plank of the platform. Not a pretty picture.
And no matter what, the Democrats cannot wash away the stain of being the party that is enthusiastic about denying the rights of the unborn. That is serious evil.
Otherwise Mr. Clinton was great.
But I could not help notice how utterly different the people at the DNC looked from the ones at the RNC. One group was blond, happy looking, contented looking. The others looked as if they could not wait for the tumbrels, an entire convention of Mesdames Defarge.
There are different tribes in America. Some are happy. Some are furious. I want the ones who are happy to run things.
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