I settle in my armchair, notepad at my side, expecting two things from the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
First, a shower of oatmeal around the personalities of Joe Biden and his historic pick for VP, Kamala Harris.
Second, a hose of vinegar aimed at the incumbent president, Donald J. Trump.
It starts off right, with moderator Eva Longoria Baston, of “Desperate Housewives” fame, now a desperate Democratic partisan. She was a low-key moderator, even when criticizing Trump.
An early surprise, to this skeptic, was the Zoom chorus singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” recently damaged in some quarters by its author’s racism, even contained in one verse we don’t sing. I guess it hasn’t yet been cancelled.
Theatrically, the 2+-hour infomercial began to wear thin in the second hour, with one speech following another. Even though most were short, it became numbing, In a “real” convention, networks would cut away from the lesser speeches and turn to their floor reporters. Last night — no floor reporters.
Last night, in the final slot, batting cleanup, was former First Lady Michelle Obama,
How did she do?
So well Joe Biden probably regrets choosing Harris as his vice president. Michelle was lights out.
She spoke for about 20 minutes, reading perfectly and empathetically, from a TelePrompTer, opening with how much she loves this country. “Donald Trump is the wrong president for this country,” she said, drawing attention to the chaos and division he creates, and his lack of empathy.
We are “a nation that is underperforming. . . On character,” she said. “Things can get worse,” she warned.
In the pre-convention chatter, some talking heads predicted a slashing attack, which this wasn’t. She revived the line about going high when others go low, but she said going high didn’t mean smiling at meanness.
She was more calm than Bernie Sanders, who preceded her. Oddly, there was no introduction for the Vermont senator, who I had heard was to be introduced by U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had endorsed him. It did not seem like a glitch, in a largely glitch-free night, with videos coming in from across the nation. AOC was AWOL?
Trump was portrayed by Sanders as an existential threat to democracy, to the economy, and to the world. Sanders said he would work with progressives, moderates ‘and, yes, even conservatives” to unseat the president.
The losers given time to praise Biden were Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who lost to Biden in the primary race, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was considered as a vice president candidate.
The biggest name in the Benedict Arnold Brigade was Republican John Kasich, former Ohio governor, who got quite a bit of time — and look! — there was Republican New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, also praising Biden.
Each said they remain loyal Republicans, but that Trump does not operate on Republican principles.
The heaviest attack on Trump came from someone you haven’t heard of.
Christine Urquizo said her father was a Trump supporter who believed the president when he minimized covid-19. Her father went to a karaoke bar, contracted the virus and died. His only pre-existing condition, she said, was believing Trump.