Just after I write a post stating that politics isn’t the main focus of Mad Man On A Great Lake, here I go again.
For some reason, watching the convention at night, I sometimes went back to 2000 when I met Al Gore. Yes, I was working for one of the many political races that so many people seem to forget, and it was at a fundraiser dinner in Euclid where the Democratic Candidate came in for a bit to a huge crowd. Still at the time a Young Democrat and overly enthusiastic I couldn’t wait to meet the Vice-President. If I remember correctly, I stood next to Mr. Gore as he was talking to some other people. Impulsive as I am, I broke in with a question on policy. “Just wait a minute and I will get back with you” I think was the gist of it and he finished what he had to say. In the meantime, I made a small joke to a seemingly stoic secret agent and, I swear it’s the truth, saw him break into a brief small grin as the candidate finally got to let me ask my question. Wow, that was 16 years ago and so many things have happened to this county since then. Thus, with this Clintonesque (as in Bill) memory out of the way, here is my opinion of this past week.
Despite myself, I wound up watching the DNC Convention in Philadelphia every night, and tweeting between speeches. It was a well done, a few things (such as the video presentations and the Broadway sing-along) were too much, but I can see why the many reporters were more excited about this than last week’s brouhaha here in Cleveland.
As we all know, the media had a field day with all this as well. Dana Milbank in his piece speculated on Trump’s ties to Russian Oligarchs and Putin; something picked up by the cable shows since. Maureen Dowd had her own opinion piece on Bill Clinton’s speech (Bill Clinton Pours On the Estrogen, as she puts it) and reminded us that trying to humanize the wife has been done before. These are just two of the many opinion pieces by well-known (and well-paid) journalists looking in on both conventions and trying to figure them all out. This week, North of the Border, Doug Saunders again retweeted link to his piece regarding last week’s RNC convention. I admit it was an excellent read, and the comments he raised could be equally addressed by a Democrat as by a Republican. Yes, he’s right and Trump is wrong; the number of illegal immigrants way down, and so has crime on average with the exception of mass shootings. That terrible reality Saunders writes”..is rooted in one policy problem not being addressed this week: the easy and largely uncontrolled availability of firearms.” (America has problems, but not the ones you hear about, The Globe and Mail) Gabriel Gifford’s speech highlighted that beautifully. The county is not on the brink of chaos despite the shooting up of schools, night-clubs, and movie theaters, but it’s not a Democratic “Morning In America” either.
I must admit that this was a great week for speeches. On Tuesday morning for example, people at the job were talking about how great Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, First Lady Michelle Obama were and of course all the media outlets have been blogging, publishing, and tweeting about them and other things. I also must say that Bernie Sanders was gracious that night, and of course on Tuesday at the end of the Roll-Call of the state delegations. He is a class act.
Yet, as for some of his supporters, I kind of wonder. When I heard this young woman tell a reporter on MSNBC that she would now for the Green Party in November, visions of 2000 briefly flashed in my brain. The reason why that 2000 election was, for me, so important is that all those super-idealists who wound up voting for Ralph Nader led to the election of one of the worst presidents in American History (U.S. News & World Report, December 31st 2014). It may be a long shot, but if enough of these Bernie supporters decide not to vote or turn to Gary Johnson, my worst nightmare may just happen.
Like everyone else, what Khizr Khan said Thursday night was genuinely moving; and Trump’s subsequent comments nauseating. All the media outlets have discussed it and most should be aware of it by now so I won’t discuss it further. However, what I liked was Joe Biden’s speech. I liked it better than Bill Clinton’s and it was almost as good as First Lady Obama’s. As I wrote that night on Twitter, Hillary better get the man a job in her Administration next year. If it weren’t for Fate and his son’s death last year, perhaps he would have run and it would have been his speech accepting the nomination that we’d all be talking about today. Finally, there were the present and, hopefully, future presidents’ speeches.
A lot has been done in eight years. However, the long-term, chronic, problems that many Americans see (and spurs a large portion to look for a leader who can perform miracles) persist. Unemployment rates are low not just because of a strong job market but the fact that many, particularly white middle-aged men, have dropped out of the Labor Market. What about those ‘underemployed’ workers with two or even more jobs with no benefits to make ends meet?
Unemployment rates are low not just because of a strong job market but the fact that many, particularly white middle-aged men, have dropped out of the Labor Market. What about those ‘underemployed’ workers with two or even more jobs with no benefits to make ends meet? If Thomas Piketty is correct in saying that economic growth rates in developed countries (such as, according to Bloomberg News, the 1.2 percent we experienced so far the Second Quarter) have returned to levels that were common before the Industrial Revolution, how can we ‘grow ourselves’ out of our current situation? It seems that the government should play a greater role than it has in the past 40 years. However, that’s a reality that many, and not just on the Right, cannot accept. Barak Obama understands this and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (particularly) do as well. In fact, of the two candidates, I must admit that the former First Lady has a more realistic view of what the Federal Government can accomplish in the current environment and, unlike her hubby, would be more aggressive on domestic issues
No matter how slick the format and well crafted her speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton was right about the alternative. From gun control to the minimum wage, she touched on everything now in the Democratic Platform and made the promises that she needs for the base to back her. She also can wheel and deal, especially if the Democrats take back the Senate. She what she’s saying on the bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio wasn’t new, it also shows these issues are still unresolved. We’re stuck with Hillary Clinton and all her baggage. However, to vote for the alternative would be more of a disaster than George W. Bush was; it’s that serious.