Live blogging the DNC, or as much of it as I can stand

7:50. Some Hispanic guy in a cowboy hat just praised Barack Obama as a man of humble origins. Pretentious origins would be more like it. But I guess only the Dems are allowed to talk about Obama’s origins.

7:55. Now the Dems are doing their Ted Kennedy tribute. Kennedy’s coattails weren’t very long in Massachusetts following his death, and I doubt he can help Obama from the grave.

The Dems show clips from the Romney-Kennedy debate in 1994. Romney looks very young and handsome. Kennedy out talks him in the edited clip. However, I wonder whether Romney might gain in stature among undecideds who see him hanging in there, as a young man, with the formidable, bullying Kennedy.

8:00. Now Bob Wexler is trying to show Obama’s “unflinching commitment” to Israel, as reflected in the Party platform. As John showed earlier today, that platform is the weakest on Israel in memory.

Wexler isn’t getting much applause from the crowd. The response could hardly be more tepid. Israel is probably a matter of indifference, at best, to many of them.

Wexler quotes Netanyahu as having praised Obama as a friend of Israel. I wonder whether the MSM fact checkers will point out how strained the Obama-Netanyahu relationship has been.

Wexler has left himself wide open to a forceful response by team Romney.

8:15. The mayor of Minneapolis is speaking now. He looks a little like former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, but doesn’t sweat as much.

8:20. Now a gay Jewish congressman from Colorado is praising Obama for his pro gay rights actions. The speaker says he loves everybody including Republicans. How sweet.

8:25. Ok, the Dems just doubled down on the “Republican” woman from Colorado, who supports Obama. This is the same one John showed to be a Dem since at least 2006, I believe. Having thus been exposed as a fake Republican for Obama, she’s modified her claim, saying only that she grew up in a Republican household, and that she can’t believe she’s giving this speech. I can’t believe it either.

8:32. A stemwinder from the head of NARAL, the pro-abortion outfit. She’s trying to arouse the pro-abortion base, asking them to talk to voters about the threat Mitt Romney poses to woman’s reproductive rights. Is this a winning issue for the Dems or just an attempt to fire up the base? The latter, I would guess.

8:40. The Dems are now pitching the vets. A former Marine is claiming that Obama is their greatest friend. He doesn’t mention those letters to the families of dead soldiers that Obama “signed” with an automatic pen.

8:45. Tammy Duckworth, a vet who was badly wounded in Iraq, is next. Her speech is moving, and she scores by noting that Romney never mentioned Afghanistan in his convention speech. She even manages to generate a lukewarm “USA” chant. Unfortunately, it barely gets off the ground.

But neither speaker has anything much to say about Obama’s record on the all-important issue of jobs for vets. The best the former Marine can do is tell vets looking for work to hang in there and trust in God.

8:51. The pathetic Lincoln Chafee has the audacity to claim that he supports Obama because Chafee is committed to fiscal responsibility. No mention, of course, of those huge Obama deficits. What a disgrace Chafee is. Thank God he left the Republican Party.

8:57. A mom with a child suffering from a heart defect is on stage with her family testifying about how Obamacare saved her child. Strong stuff, clearly. The public is pretty well decided about Obamacare, though. Do the Dems think they can “re-litigate” Obamacare in this election (to use one of the president’s favorite words), or is this just about firing up the base? The former, I would guess.

9:04. Former Ohio Gov. Strickland is touting the strength of the auto industry in his state. It’s a rousing speech, marred slightly by his tendency to chuckle at his own lines. But if the auto industry is coming back in Ohio as strongly as Strickland says, the Republicans will have a tough time in that key state.

Now Strickland launches a vicious attack on Romney. It’s Bain, it’s Romney’s tax returns, and so forth. There are too many distortions to unpack in the live-blogging format. I will leave this to the MSM fact checkers. Oh, wait.

9:12. Well, that’s all I can stand for now. Time to watch the tape of this weekend’s EPL match between Wigan and Stoke City.

9:58. At halftime, it’s Wigan 1, Stoke 1, in a surprisingly exciting match. Garry Birtles, the color commentator, is my favorite speaker of the night so far.

9:59. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says that Mitt Romney wants first graders to be left on their own. The Dems, by contrast, want them side-by-side with the teachers unions – as hostages.

10:03. Now we’ll hear from my Governor, Martin O’Malley of Maryland. Perhaps he should take a page out of Clint Eastwood’s book and conduct a debate with himself about whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago.

10:08. O’Malley asks Romney, “without any anger or meanness,” how much less education he thinks would be good for our kids and how many fewer college degrees he thinks would make our nation more competitive. In a minute, I reckon he’ll ask Romney when he stopped beating Ann.

10:09. The theme is that Romney wants a country with “less.” But it’s Obama who has presided over a country with less than it had before he began presiding.

10:11. A friend and Washington insider told me not long ago that O’Malley will be a contender for president in 2016. I told him he must be joking, but later learned that “the great mentioner” is indeed mentioning O’Malley for president. Off of tonight’s performance, he looks more like a potential VP candidate. Of course, that’s a low bar for the Dems.

10:15. Now we’ll hear the keynote speech, to be delivered by Julian Castro, the boy mayor of San Antonio. He’s the latest “bright young thing” Democrat. Castro will be hoping to use this speech to move him to front of the pack, as Obama did in 2004.

10:17: The Republicans have three Hispanic politicians who stand higher on the ladder than young Castro. They are Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. I’m thinking that one of these three will appear on a national ticket before Castro does, especially if Romney-Ryan lose.

10:19: It’s family story time, folks. Rags to riches, metaphorically speaking.

10:22: Castro lets it be known that he was educated at Stanford and Harvard. He modestly adds that the kids he grew up with were just as talented and smart as he was. This speech is pure BS, even by convention standards.

10:24. Now he claims that Romney will “dismantle” the middle class. This is sheer demagoguery, smugly delivered. If Obama had given this sort of speech in 2004, we probably wouldn’t be stuck with him today.

10:26. This guy is Rubio lite. Same cadences, same use of hushed tones, same type of lines. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

10:28. It’s time for Michelle Obama now. This means we’ll get a glimpse of her brother, Princeton basketball legend “Super Craig” Robinson, now the head basketball coach at Oregon State.

10:32. They show a video with lots of folks jumping around, including Michelle. Physical fitness for fun and political profit.

10:35. Up to the podium steps a woman who didn’t get the memo on physical fitness.

10:37. She turns out to be a military mom whom the Obamas befriended. The Dems are really pushing for the military vote. Maybe the ads of the former Navy Seals have struck a worrisome chord. If the Dems make inroads at this convention, perhaps they’ll stop trying to make it difficult for military personnel to vote in Ohio. Nah.

10:41. Michelle is speaking now. She says we are blessed to “live in the greatest nation on earth.” Plainly, she has grown in office. Last election cycle, she said the U.S. had never done anything to make her proud until it started elevating her husband.

10:45. Michelle has already set the records for saying “see” and “you see” in a speech.

10:47. So far it’s just her bio plus cute stories about life with Barack. It plays well for the moment, but won’t accomplish much. Her deceased father, for example, sounds like quite a guy. However, he’s not running for anything.

10:49. Some of the RNC talking points seem to be troubling the Dems. So far, Michelle has addressed, though not directly, the “you didn’t build it” and the “don’t resent success” themes.

10:51. Michelle says she loves her husband more now than she did four years ago. Michelle Obama is a unique American.

10:53. Michelle says that the truth matters. But she isn’t being entirely truthful in comparing her upbringing with her husband’s. Barack’s father wasn’t quite a guy – at least not in the way Michelle’s was. The true comparison is that Michelle had a well-functioning family and Obama had a dysfunctional one.

10:56. Michelle also isn’t being truthful when she says that Barack doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. In fact, that may be the whopper of the night.

10:59. The speech has come together quite well, though. Michelle has masterfully woven together the political and the personal.

11:02. Michelle is totally wound up now. This has became a powerful, ultra-emotional speech. She doing a first rate job of preaching.

11:06. I hate to admit it, but Michelle Obama hit it a long way tonight, in my opinion. And overall, I fear that the Dems had a good night.