The third night of the Democratic National Convention was planned as Ladies Night, but the trophy was taken by a man, former President Barack Obama. If that sounds sexist, so be it.
Like he did when we first saw him on the national stage at the 2004 DNC, Obama lit up the place.
He had two roles — to tear down President Donald J. Trump, and build up his former vice president, Joe Biden, and VP candidate Kamala Harris.
[Right now I am hearing CNN’s Wolf Blitzer practically wet himself saying Obama’s attack was “scathing.” I don’t know where these TV clowns grew up, using words like “scarhing” and “pounding” for quiet words of criticism.]
Speaking from Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution, Obama did a great job selling a vintage car with high mileage, Joe Biden. He called him a “brother,” and spoke with an apparent sincerity that raised the question of why he didn’t endorse Biden as soon as he announced his candidacy.
OK, we know why. As the titular head of the Democratic Party, Obama had to remain neutral. Remember what bad feelings were generated in 2016 when the Clinton operatives put their thumbs on the scale?
His criticism of Trump came early, it was brief, and cutting. The former occupant of the Oval Office said the present occupant should feel responsible, be the custodian of democracy, protect and preserve the Constitution. “I did hope Donald Trump would show interest in taking the job seriously, that he might come to feel the weight of the office . . . But he never did.”
He later said Trump was a threat to democracy and treated “the presidency as one more reality show to get the attention he craves.” That’s a scalpel, not a meat cleaver.
Standing in that museum gave him an opportunity to reflect on America’s imperfect past, in a low-key speech designed for a TV audience and not for applause. Echoing a previous theme of “one America,” Obama talked about when our ancestors arrived they often were short-changed. He avoids using terms like “structural racism,” as did Harris, who followed him and was the evening’s final speaker.
As the first woman of color, and South Asian, nominated by a major party, she is an historic figure, and if you believe the conservative wing nuts (looking at you Greg Gutfeld), if the Democrats win in November, she will be president in a wink, because Biden is a Trojan horse. (Address your emails to Gutfeld.)
Harris was introduced by a video in which her younger sister, niece and stepdaughter all said she was great, just great.
She concentrated on family, as she (as the talking heads say) “introduced” herself to America. She came across as genuine, and then moved on to praise Biden, which is what VPs do. (Looking at you, Mike Pence.)
Maybe most watching didn’t remember — or didn’t care — Harris had accused Biden of being a racist for opposing busing and hanging out with segregationists, and then believing the woman who had accused Biden of sexual improprieties.
Sorry to bring this up, but it is on the record and you can be damn sure Trump will be talking about it.
Moderator was glamorous actress Kerry Washington, who revealed that her father was African-American, but her mother was an immigrant from the West Indies.
Earlier in the evening, the 2016 standard bearer, Hillary Clinton, spoke about Biden’s empathy and Trump’s inability to act like a president. She avoided sounding whiny, but noted in passing some people she knew didn’t vote last time. “This can’t be another woulda, shoulda, coulda,” she said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren focused on child care, saying it should be regarded as social infrastructure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Dems had written a lot of bills that are stopped in the Senate by Mitch McConnell.
“We will remember in November,” she promised.
We will see.