Today’s dose of punishment — live blogging the Democratic convention

11:38. Bill Clinton is widely considered to have been a successful president. I would argue that to the extent Clinton was successful, he owed that success in considerable part to his response to the smashing Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections, a response very different from Obama’s response to 2010.

Be that as it may, getting Clinton’s publicly and vehemently expressed “seal of approval” is helpful to Obama. Beyond that, I don’t think the content of the speech helped Obama much. On the whole, I rate this a subpar effort from Clinton.

11:25. And big hug moment with Barack Obama to end the proceedings. For those still watching.

11:24. The end. Finally.

11:23. He’s professing his love for the country. Surely, we must be approaching the end of this interminable oration.

11:18. Now we’re getting the debt accumulation/reduction stats for various presidents. But he leaves out the stats for Obama, the worst by far in American history.

11:16. Maybe Clinton is droning on in the hope of picking up viewers who’ve been watching the Cowboys-Giants football game. For every one person who may be tuning in, I suspect that at least two are tuning out.

11:15. Onto the debt, one of the very few Dems to talk about this. He’s claiming that Obama’s plan is based on Bowles-Simpson. That’s the plan that Obama rejected out of hand.

11:13. Ok, we’re finally getting to welfare reform. He’s blaming it on Republican governors who wanted flexibility on workfare requirements. He claims that Obama’s move is about increasing work requirements, not lessening them. This is BS and I’ll put up some links about it later (see here and here).

11:11. On to Medicaid. Bill Clinton — the folksy policy wonk.

11:08. But for now, he’s deep in the weeds on Medicare. He keeps telling the audience “now listen to this.” I think he realizes that he’s barely holding onto whatever audience remains, apart from those in the building. And even they may be zoning out.

11:06. I imagine Clinton will feel obligated to take on the claim that Obama is gutting welfare reform.

11:04. Now he’s going to do health care. Clinton famously predicted that Americans would love Obamacare once they experienced its benefits. That hasn’t happened. So he’s going to try to make it happen now. At this rate, they may have to wisk him off the stage.

11:00. It’s time for Clinton to wrap up. But you didn’t really expect him to finish on time, did you? He’s doing his famous liberal laundry list act — energy, student loans, etc. He must believe he’s still president and this is his State of the Union address.

10:56. Clinton asserts that no one could have undone all the damage to the economy that Obama inherited. Yet, Obama himself said he could turn things around in three years. And he projected unemployment statistics that he hasn’t come close to meeting.

Even Clinton understands how dubious his claim is. He says he isn’t sure whether voters will buy it, but he just wants us to know he believes it.

10:54. The case for Obama’s election, says Clinton, is that he inherited a bad economy and laid the ground work for the creation of tons of new jobs in the future. Nothing about the past four years. Just the pre-Obama days and the golden future that awaits us.

10:52. He’s ridiculing the Republicans for saying at the Tampa convention that they love their families. Again, he better hope that folks haven’t been watching this convention.

10:50. Clinton is always good on these occasion. But so far, I don’t think he’s up to his usual standard. Maybe he’s got a big finish.

10:46. What’s the evidence that Obama can work with political opponents? He made Biden his VP and Hillary his Secretary of State. As to Hillary, see the Godfather quote below. As to Biden, his pathetic run for the presidency can barely be deemed opposiiton.

Where is the cooperation with Republicans? He couldn’t even develop a health care plan that Olympia Snowe would support.

10:45. Clinton claims that Obama is committed to cooperating with the other party. But then Clinton lied under oath in the Paula Jones case, so why would we expect the truth from him in this speech.

10:43. Clinton is praising past Republican presidents, by way of saying it’s bad to bash the other party all of the time. He better hope that the audience hasn’t been watching this convention.

Clinton’s call for cooperation and good-will between the parties will provide a useful standard against which to hold the Obama campaign.

10:40. Clinton says that since 1960, the Dems have “created” many more jobs than the Republicans. That may be the best he can do to prop up Obama — cite job creation stats from the Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton administrations.

10:34. Bill Clinton will be up next. The smartest thing Obama did as president was to bring Hillary Clinton into his cabinet. As the Godfather said: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Clinton has no choice but to back to the hilt a man he obviously resents — the man who “played the race card against him.”

10:31. Warren is doing ok, but I don’t think she’s justifying her spot in prime time. There have been any number of more effective speakers — not to mention more credible, less phony ones.

Warren got the prime spot, I think, because the Dems desperately need to defeat Scott Brown to offset the Senate seats they will lose in November. But I don’t see this speech boosting her significantly in Massachusetts. Surely, they’ve heard it before up there.

10:29. Warren keeps snickering at her own lines — not the funny ones, there aren’t any. She’s snickering at her digs at Romney. It’s a nervous tick, I suppose, but not an endearing one.

10:27. Warren says Romney will “hammer” the middle class. As I noted earlier today, this word was such a staple of her vocabulary in the Massachusetts campaign that she had to stop using it in the face of ridicule. With a new audience, she revives the term. And she throws in “pulverized,” to boot. I guess that clinches her case.

10:25. Warren says that the rich, including Romney, don’t pay enough taxes. But the rich pay the overwhelming amount of taxes in this country, and many people of modest means don’t pay any. That doesn’t sound like a system rigged against ordinary people to me.

10:24. America is a great country, she declares. But how can that be, if the system is rigged against hard working people?

10:22. The game is rigged against hard working people, but it wasn’t always that way, she says. Will she prove that the system is so rigged, or are we going to have to take her word (which isn’t worth much given her claim to be an Indian) for it?

10:21. Now it’s time for Elizabeth Warren. She’s going to talk about “hard working people.” I can’t wait.

10:15. The former head of Costco is delivering a singularly dull, uninspiring endorsement of Obama. He says he didn’t build his company in a vacuum. But he doesn’t deny that he built it.

10:08: Is the public really impressed by an arrogant, self-centered ex-student at a fancy law school who’s obsessed by being insulted by a guy who subsequently apologized? Sadly, a segment of the population probably is.

Obama can’t generate enthusiasm among the kind of young women who swooned for him four years ago. So he’s counting on fear and loathing for Romney to carry the day with this cohort.

10:06. Fluke is referring repeatedly to the attack on her by Rush Limbaugh, without mentioning Rush specifically. Obama, she says, stuck up for her without thinking about delegates. It turns out that he was thinking about using her to speak to delegates, and to the nation, on his behalf.

10:03. Too many women are shut out, says Fluke. This is pure fantasy in today’s America. Her audience is losers who happen to be female.

10:00. Sandra Fluke is up next. There’s something distinctly post-modern about Fluke: She sky-rocketed to fame by seeking unsuccessfully to testify as an expert witness on her own desire to receive free contraception.

Fluke is this year’s Lilly Ledbetter. She’s not an out-and-out liar like Ledbetter. Yet, she’s otherwise less sympathetic than Lilly, who at least toiled for a living for many years.

9:56. My Congressman, Chris Van Hollen, is saying that Obama has a plan to balance the budget that he submitted to Congress. He doesn’t say that not a single Senator — Democrat or Republican — voted for it. A proposal that not a single Senator can vote for doesn’t deserve the name “plan.” It deserves the name “fraud.”

9:54. Wigan 2, Stoke City 2. Unlike in politics, in soccer it’s possible for neither side to lose. And unlike in politics, there are times when neither side deserves to lose. So it was in this suprisingly well-played match. Since there’s no overtime in EPL matches, I’m back for more punishment.

9:00. That’s all I can take right now. I need the kind of therapy that only the second half of the Wigan-Stoke City soccer match can provide.

8:52. The Governor of Delaware declares himself a proud, card-carrying capitalist who believes in private equity. That’s important to stipulate at a Democratic convention; at a Republican one it goes without saying.

The applause, by the way, is tepid.

He says that Obama has a plan to help create private jobs. What’s that plan? The Gov. isn’t saying. He tells us to read it on line at the Obama campaigns website. What was Obama’s plan during the past 4 years. The Gov. isn’t telling us that either.

Mitt Romney likes to fire people; Obama likes to see people hired. It’s that simple, says the Gov.

The applause, by the way, is deafening.

8:45. Now a Catholic nun activist is attacking Paul Ryan’s budget, which she calls “immoral.” This is Catholicism, Latin American radical style. I wonder what those leftists who have attacked Republicans for invoking Catholic teachings to support conservatism are saying about this attempt to brand conservatism as immoral and antithetical to Catholicism. Applauding, no doubt.

I hope that traditional Catholics will fight back against this, and not be deterred by leftists who tell them not to politicize religion.

This election will be the war of all against all. Catholics against Catholics; vets against vets; the eldery against the eldery. I guess it’s called micro-targeting. That’s what “hope and change” has come to.

The idea, from Obama’s perspective, is to peel off some white voters, so that Romney doesn’t completely swamp Obama with this enormous voting bloc.

8:42. The governor of Colorado wraps up a non-descript speech that purports to address, indirectly, the “we built it” theme.

8:29. Now a Vietnam vet is speaking. He’s touting the increased VA budget and the aid for GI education. Obama cares about Vietnam vets, the speaker assures us. That’s easy to say now. If Obama had been a community organizer type during the late 1960s, I doubt he’d have any kind feelings for the soldiers who were returning home from Vietnam. Other than John Kerry, that is.

The Vietnam vet is followed by Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, the dissident general during the Bush days. He’s touting the same things.

No one wants to talk about what Obama is doing to the military budget. The idea is to carve out those no longer in the military as another victim group to add to the Democrats’ list of special interests groups beholden to the government.

8:27. It’s time for another video about vets. The Dems are pitching the care vets are getting when they come home. It’s clear that the vet vote is going to be a major battle ground between the parties this year.

8:25. Hoyer wraps up his speech moments before I was about to start hating him.

8:23. Hoyer accuses Ryan of not disclosing his opposition to the Bowles-Simpson recommendations. But Hoyer doesn’t disclose that Obama, who convened the commission, rejected those very recommendations.

8:18. Steny Hoyer of the House minority leadership is speaking now. He’s from my neighboring county.

I actually like Hoyer, a good friend of Israel and a relatively honest guy as politicians go. Let’s see if I still hold this view five minutes from now.

8:15. Ok, the PP head, Cecile Richards, is the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. That explains all the lame “down home” Texas sayings and the demagoguery that extends beyond Planned Parenthood’s issues. At least she didn’t say that dog won’t hunt.”

8:14. “Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition,” the PP president says. That’s an oft-repeated line at this convention. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t make any sense. It reminds me of when supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment to Constitution used to say “I want to be in the Constitution.”

8:11. It’s the head of Planned Parenthood’s turn now. She declares her support for President Obama. When the choice is between the guy who’s giving you money and the one who won’t, pick the one who’s giving you money.

8:03. In a video, Obama is talking about women’s health and tying it to Obamacare. This must have polled well in focus groups among women. The video is followed by a woman from Ohio. She’s praising Planned Parenthood for helping diagnose a medical problem, and for the respectful way it listened to her. It’s good to know that you don’t have to be a prostitute or a pimp to get a respectful hearing from Planned Parenthood.

7:59. I çan’t wait for the upcoming hour. It will feature the head of Planned Parenthood and Barney Frank. What’s the commonality? Aiding and abetting prostitution, I suppose.

7:55. Former Gov. Jim Hunt of North Carolina is talking about his accomplishments as governor from back in the day (he served until 2001). In effect, he’s touting the North Carolina miracle. Unfortunately, unemployment in North Carolina is significantly higher than the national average. Not that Hunt is out-of-touch, or anything.

Hunt says that Republicans “believe in magic.” That’s an interesting characterization of the free enterprise system.


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