Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dems manage not to screw up convention, yet

     If Republicans gambled their souls that they’d be able to control Donald Trump and lost, forfeiting everything they once valued, Democrats seem committed to beating them by doubling down on who we are and what we represent.
     That’s a bet I’ll take.
     Because if we’re gonna lose, let’s lose wagering on our best selves.
     If the United States of America is really going to deal itself four more years of tinpot demagoguery, conspiracy craziness and whoops-somebody-broke-it incompetence — don’t kid yourself, Donald Trump is still president and presidents usually get re-elected — Democrats can comfort ourselves that, at least on the first night of their 2020 national convention, we bet on who we are.
     In a display of messy inclusiveness, the typically marginal and dispossessed were shoved front and center. Those who still, despite everything done to them, insist on believing that America becomes great, not because of a slogan sewn on a hat in China, but by doing great things.
     Yes, being Democrats, we stumbled out of the blocks Monday night.
     “Eva Longoria?” I thought, settling before the TV. “Why am I seeing a ‘Desperate Housewife’?” For a terrible moment, I thought we had stolen a page from the Republican playbook, and she would Vanna White us through two hours of politics as reality television.
     But Longoria radiated dignified conviction, or at least a good imitation, and soon the screen was broken into a Brady Brunch grid of pledging, singing faces, then cut to a prayer to Jesus — which I suppose we can let pass. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
     This festival of inclusion seems a pre-emptive counterbalance to next week’s Republican “It’s a Small, Small (White) World.” It’ll be interesting to see, as the convention unfolds, if this is indeed a tone-setter, or a one-off, something gotten out of the way. Whether the message continues, or is the convention version of the old schedule-the-public-policy-program-at-5-a.m. Sunday gambit.

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  1. The statue of the boy reading a book is in front of the Wilmette Library. In the winter, people have put a scarf around him.

  2. While I'm sure her celebrity didn't hurt in landing the hosting gig, Eva Longoria does have a lot of Democratic cred. She is one of the founders of Latino Victory, was a co-chair for President Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, and spoke at the last two Democratic Conventions.

    Otherwise, I am on the same page as you about the first two nights of the convention. While not without some misfires, overall it's been more inspiring than I expected. I think all the key players have delivered so far. Dr. Jill Biden isn't quite as compelling as Michelle Obama (who is), but I thought she did an excellent job of humanizing Joe Biden in a way I wasn't expecting even though most of the biographical details aren't new to me. I now feel much more optimistic about sending this decent couple to hopefully replace the current occupants of the White House.

  3. Dr. Jill Biden is quite impressive and certainly an asset to Joe.
    In addition, as a pro-woman Democrat, I admire both Senator Klobuchar and Governor Whitmer and was glad to see and hear them endorsing Biden.

  4. Four years ago it was "Bengazi, Bengazi, Bengazi, 30,000 emails!" Over and over and over, like the people saying it were in a hypnotic trance. We need to keep things simple, without verbs if possible.
    The virus death toll is 170,000 deaths for Trump, and Clinton's email total was only 30,000. It's like golf, where you want the lowest score possible not the highest. So how badly is Trump losing?
    Trump isn't responsible for every virus death in the U.S. but he can take credit for quite a few. People are referring to those as Trump Extra Deaths (TEDs). Folks have argued that people die from the flu, too, but fail to consider that the virus deaths are extra deaths, above and beyond the other causes of death, not instead of them. We're not glad if someone dies from the virus because they might have died in a fire anyway. Yes, everybody dies, but generally we try to slow down the rate.
    I would like to see estimations of the number of TEDs based on the data. How many people died beyond what we would have lost in any case? I think that could be determined, or estimated, based on worldwide virus deaths. Once we have that number we can just say "100,000 TEDs, 100,000 TEDs, 100,000 TEDs," but with the most accurate number. If people confuse that with guys named Ted, it could be "100,000 Trump extra deaths, 100,000 Trump extra deaths, 100,000 Trump extra deaths!" (100,000 is not confirmed scientifically - it is entered as a placeholder until the scientific community weighs in.)
    Be careful and safe. Don't be a TED.

  5. Meantime, look at who will speak to the Republicans: That couple in St. Louis who pointed guns at demonstrators for walking past their house while being Black; and the kid who got into a smirking confrontation with an Indian in Washington, D.C.

    They're not even pretending to do anything other than troll anymore.

  6. The grinning and political cliches notwithstanding, what is it about Amy and Gretchen that you find intolerable? Certainly their hearts are in the right place and their constituencies seems to support them.
    Just curious...

    1. Don't veer into hyperbole. I didn't say they were "intolerable." I pointed out that grin and the cliches. Period.

    2. Fair enough. Just thought I sensed more and it puzzled me. Sorry.

  7. We usually don't watch the conventions and haven't made an exception for this one. We did watch Michelle's and Bernie's speeches on YouTube, which were both apt and concise.

    I'm content to follow the old Bobwatch theory and let NS watch the convention so I don't have to. I'm glad that, thanks to today's column, I didn't miss this: "The best line belonged to Kristin Urquiza, whose father, a Trump supporter, died of COVID-19 after following GOP advice and hitting the town. 'My dad was a healthy 65-year-old,' Urquiza said. 'His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump. And for that, he paid with his life.'" Wow.

  8. The excess COVID-19 death count should be hammered on, but "TEDs" doesn't feel strong enough to capture the enormity of disaster. Looking for another way to frame it, I've been watch Georgia's excess death count, trying to calculate at what point it will become indisputable that Gov. Kemp has killed more Georgians than Gen. Sherman.

  9. TEDs isn’t that strong, but we need doctors and statisticians to embrace the term. The closest I can get to “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!” Is Trumpnazi, Trumpnazi, Trumpnazi! And though the demagoguery might warrant some comparison, the crimes obviously don’t. But remember that the repetition isn’t meant to be justified or explained - just repeated over and over, stupidly if need be. (What the hell else rhymes with Benghazi?)


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