Last night was the third of the Democratic National Convention, and I guess the good news is that it’s almost over. While night one had the curiosity of being the first virtual convention, and night two at least had people nominating Joe Biden from colorful locales around the country, night three was nothing but a toggle between cheesy video montages and mediocre audience-free speeches. Somehow it managed to feel even less like a live event than the previous evenings, which is quite a thing.
It all began and ended with Kamala Harris, as the penultimate night generally belongs to the vice-presidential candidate. She spoke for just a minute or two at the top about the importance of voting and combatting misinformation that somehow apparently stops people from voting. Throughout the night, indeed the convention, the Democrats have appeared terrified that their constituents are too dumb to know how to vote or something. In any event, they have been yammering about it a lot.
Host Kerry Washington stood alone upon the stage introducing videos and speeches. Right off the bat, she set a central tone. In discussing the Constitution, she pointed out that it tried to create a “more perfect union,” but that of course it was terribly imperfect. It seems like Democratic dogma that anytime the Constitution or the founding is mentioned there must be a caveat attached, as if there is some huge group of people who think slavery and not letting women vote was just fine. It is a weird insistence that we not be too proud of our country.
The evening’s musical entertainment was provided by Billie Eilish. She sang a pretty song that got kind of dancey by the end. In it, she sang about being “in love with my future,” which, if you’re a wealthy pop star at age 16, sure. But the not-too-subtle message was that if we don’t elect Democrats the future will be scary and bad.
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At this point the pre-taped segments — the whole thing was pre-taped for all we know — started in hot and heavy. There were children scolding us about climate change. I might just be cold-hearted, but this does absolutely nothing for me except make the kids seem annoying. I want to tell them that they are children and don’t know anything. The best segment was on how the lockdown is crushing our small businesses. What was amazing about it was that ending the lockdown didn’t even seem to be an option the Democrats know is available.
The first two major speeches were from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Sen. Hillary Clinton. The former was wholly unremarkable and hence will not be remarked upon here. The latter featured Clinton’s typical thimble full of warmth and charm, but with an amusing preamble.
Clinton explained that really she was rooting for Trump when he won four years ago and that Democrats would have been good governing partners for him if only he had “put his own ego and interests aside.” This is outstanding fabulism; the fact is that they have been trying to impeach Donald Trump since about ten minutes after the tears started flowing in Brooklyn the night she lost. But yeah, sure, if Trump were more modest they would have been Tip O’Neill to his Ronald Reagan.
The best speech of the night came from former President Barack Obama. The guy knows how to talk. He said, “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”
Stern stuff. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called it the most powerful speech of his career, which would be kind of sad because he was president for eight years. Taking potshots at the current POTUS was his most powerful speech? I guess it had to be, what with this being the most dangerous president and moment in American history and all. The idea, as with Obama’s eulogy of John Lewis, was that bad boy Barack was breaking with convention at this convention to directly go after a sitting president.
This all brought us to the star of the show. Kamala Harris was meant to be that, but her speech in what appeared to be an empty airplane hangar or the warehouse from the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” echoed more than it pierced. The lack of live reaction made it feel awkward and strange. There was one memorable line meant to soothe leftists nervous about her and the attempted “centrist” tone of the convention. She said, “There is no vaccine for racism. We have to do the work.”
This is one of the most meaningless and vapid phrases in the woke playbook, right up there with white fragility and structural racism. Nobody ever explains exactly what “the work” entails. It seems to involve some kind of combination of self-loathing and expensive quasi-corporate training for white people. It got me wondering if Joe Biden has had any anti-bias training — you know, written and delivered an essay about being sorry for his privilege and stuff. Now that would be compelling TV.
One more night, kids, and this anti convention, this convention that wasn’t, will be over. At the very end last night, after Harris’ speech Joe Biden came out, he waved at her from far across the stage, seeming to lament that they could not hug. We all know Joe likes his hugs. And the fact of the matter is that given their proximity to each other and the ability of them to get tested there is no reason they could not have hugged.
The real reason is that everything about this horrible show was meant to keep coronavirus fears and lockdown fresh in our faces and minds. Kamala Harris made the big speech last night, but the pandemic has clearly become Biden’s true running mate. Biden and the Chinese Virus 2020: no policies, no vision for the future, but man, that Donald Trump really sucks, doesn’t he?