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During its first two nights the Democratic National Convention gave
the country a strong dose of “we care” demagogy. There were also
moments of eat-the-rich humanitarianism, including expressions of
concern for children, women, blacks, cripples and breast-cancer
victims. It was a celebration of pity and the pitiable. If we are to
take the rhetoric seriously, those who do not ache for the downtrodden
are Republicans; just as those who are brain-damaged by maudlin
sentimentality remain Democrats.
Some observers might mistake this convention for a charity
fund-raiser. Will anything be left for the Red Cross if the Democrats
win another election? The giant tent of the Democratic Party, it seems,
is filled with nurses and doctors and free medicines and countless sick
individuals. If we are to believe their words, the Democrats have come
to make the lame walk and the blind see. Given all of this, the
delegates to the convention should’ve been wearing hospital gowns and
Love and envy were constant themes at this event, mixed and blended
into honeyed words which dripped and dripped. We were ungrammatically
assaulted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the necessity of redistributing
the nation’s wealth. “It’s more with Gore!” shouted Jackson to his
indigent rainbow-colored followers. Jackson also warned America to
“stay out (of) the bushes!”
If that wasn’t clever enough for you, Al Gore’s commitment to
socialized medicine was affirmed by Sen. Edward Kennedy. We’re not sure
if the news from Europe has reached the senator, but socialized medicine
means the rationing of medical care. Ask anyone from Britain or the
Besides the party’s old face coming out to talk nonsense, there were
new faces talking nonsense as well. A parade of female senators,
strutting their stuff, offered us a vision of feminist triumphalism —
interspersed with video shorts on how government can fix broken lives.
One unfortunate said that without Social Security life would be
horrible. Another said, “We can depend on the Democratic Party to be
there for us.” And “thanks to Al Gore our schools are connected to the
The convention was blessed with two special highlights. The charming
Caroline Kennedy came to speak of fabled Camelot. But the best
entertainment was provided by President Clinton, whose long backstage
walk through narrow corridors was reminiscent of the interminable
entrance of a criminal on the way to electrocution. Only in this case
he was the one delivering the shock. Here was a conquering hero come to
slay the Republican dragon with a boastful speech. It was clever, it
was bold, it was persuasive.
It was gloating.
We were reminded in no uncertain terms that Bill Clinton could tell
us a “thing or two” about the economy. Of course, he neglected to
mention Fed Chairman Greenspan and the Republican Congress, though he
did tip his hat to the American people. But not wanting to overdo the
flattery, Clinton presented a huge list of achievements, taking credit
for everything except the invention of fire and the wheel — which was
forgetful of him.
The biggest whopper of the first two days, however, wasn’t told by
Bill. It was told by Hillary during her “thank you, thank you” speech
of Monday night. Incredibly, Hillary says she cannot wait to see Al
Gore become president. Given the fact that she tried to usurp Vice
President Gore’s White House office in 1993, and would have run
roughshod over the vice president if not for Bill’s restraining hand, we
must take her eagerness to leave the White House with a grain of salt.
Hillary loves the White House, and so does Bill. They really don’t
want to leave. In a sad sort of way, they are both clinging to the
limelight. And they are sucking up campaign money that otherwise might
go to the national ticket.
Poor Al Gore. Unless he gives the best performance of his life
during his acceptance speech, Clinton will have upstaged him (ever so
gently) at his own nomination.