The Democratic gathering in Philadelphia featured high drama, high humor, hard-hitting and old-fashioned political speeches and a rousing buildup of support for nominee Hillary Clinton. She felt the love this week in the city of brotherly same, and returned it Thursday night in a dramatic, detailed, hopeful speech outlining her plans to deal with ISIS, with underemployment, with wages, with college education for all.
She detailed her experience for the presidency in a compelling fashion, in contrast to the woefully unqualified Baron of Bombast, Donald Trump. The Republican leaders who endorsed Trump were notably quiet, especially after Trump cheered on Russia’s alleged hacking of State Department emails.
Clinton acknowledged she isn’t universally admired, but promised to be a president for all people, and with a steely look, said, “We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against, but we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.” Quite a contrast to Trump’s hour-long bluster at the GOP convention in Cleveland about what trouble the country is in. And if Clinton’s supporting cast was stellar, Trump’s was comprised of second-tier understudies. He couldn’t draw former Republican presidents (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush) or even the party’s last two nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain.
William Barber of North Carolina’s NAACP, organizer of the Moral Monday marches, offered a compelling speech, as did Marine Gen. John Allen. But the night’s most memorable moment was a speech by Khizr Khan, an American Muslim whose son was killed in military service. Khan was responding in part to Trump’s xenophobic call for a ban on Muslim immigration. “Let me ask you,” he said in essence to Trump, “have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” Khan pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket.
Clinton goes into the campaign after a convention that was unified, and featured on Wednesday President Obama, who praised Clinton and offered optimism, hope, love, compassion and a strong and compelling case as to why she should be elected. Vice President Joe Biden gave a remarkable address aimed at the middle class in a friendly way and at Donald Trump in a ... well, not friendly way. Of The Donald, Biden said, “He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarky.”
Former President Bill Clinton, telling the Clintons personal story, reckoned that supporting his wife is something for which children would bless their parents.
Democrats focused not exclusively on bashing Trump in the way Republicans viciously attacked Hillary Clinton. It turned out the one positive speech of the GOP convention, by Trump’s wife, Melania, had been plagiarized — from Michelle Obama.
As the Democrats rolled on, the Republican convention of a week before in Cleveland looked more and more pathetic — a series of angry speakers including former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani bellowing attacks at Clinton to Trump’s red-faced explosions at all things associated with her.
The most stark contrast to them came from Obama, who said of the GOP convention, “There were no serious solutions to pressing problems – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate. And that is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.”
The Democratic convention quickly erased, almost, the mean, dark shadow of Cleveland and replaced it with inspiration and optimism, exactly what a convention is supposed to do — for a party, and for the people.