When disenchanted anarchistic hippies sigh that “the Democrats and the Republicans are the same bullshit,” it is clear that they’ve never seen a snapshot of either party’s conventions.
While the R.N.C. had its BlackCam firmly focused on one of the eight African Americans in the audience every time a politico mentioned President Obama, this week the Democrats, conversely, have their cutaway stock of crazy old white folks at the ready for every mention of Governor Romney. The D.N.C., not to be outdone, has it all: from a bug-eyed woman with a home perm looking like she just ate a live baby, to an old man in a brown suit sensually fellating an unlit cigar while showing off his impressive zero gag reflexes. In the party’s defense, however, these were the go-to reference points when the Democrats needed to show what crazy looks like.
There were also moving crowd shots of jubilant gays decorated like (very expensive) Christmas trees, wiping away tears of joy as, for the first time in history, a political party announced as its official platform the importance of marriage equality. Then, just as you’re reaching for a tissue, a person in a pom-pom’d sombrero dances past a man who looks like he just fell off a Mardi Gras truck — festive attire is, after all, one of the hallmarks of every political convention.
As the primetime slots got underway, everyone with a microphone and a mouth salivated over the anticipated keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. And the thirty-seven-year-old photogenic Democrat was already canonized and crowned before anyone had even laid eyes on his impeccably shaped eyebrows. Looking not unlike Jimmy Fallon impersonating Ramón Novarro, Castro delivered his semi-autobiographical speech with enough candied sweetness to kill Wilford Brimely. And if Castro, in all his charming earnestness, failed to rile the crowds as expected, he can hardly be blamed; after all that build-up, anything short of assumptive levitation and the ability to crap multi-colored unicorns would have been a crashing disappointment.
Previously Governor Deval Patrick, (Romney’s successor to the governorship of Massachusetts) delivered a fiery oration beginning with the newest tenets of the Party’s platform:
“We believe that freedom means keeping government out of our most private affairs, including out of a woman’s decision whether to keep an unwanted pregnancy and everybody’s decision about whom to marry.”
Patrick also nailed home something he knows well; cleaning up his state after Romney left it “forty-seventh in the nation in job creation.” And he vehemently defended Obama’s record:
“This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years — more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.”
And when Patrick fired off into the crowd that it was time for “Democrats to stiffen our backbone and stand up for what we believe!” it was evident, based on the D.N.C’s platform, that it had done just that. Finally. And roaring standing ovation followed.
After the brimstoning and stage rattling proclamations of Governor Patrick, any man who followed the speech might as well come out in a floral sundress holding an oversized lollipop. And that’s exactly what happened.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley popped on the stage as though he’d just won a beauty prize and found a nickel. With his confectionary oration of sunshine and exuberance, it was as though he was working up a crowd of three-year-olds at a communist daycare center. As they say down in the Southland, “God bless ‘im.”
But the star of the evening was the person in the White House with the highest approval rating: first lady Michelle Obama.
With an approval rating far higher than her husband’s, and resplendent in a custom-designed pink and gray dress by Tracy Reese, Mrs. Obama glided out on a wave of adulation. While she delivered her heartfelt speech, which could have well been called her “empathy speech” she reached out to average Americans “feeling our pain,” as it were. And unlike Ann Romney’s tales of false financial struggles and woe-is-me’ness, Mrs. Obama proved, yet again, that she is the real deal. She also expertly wove the personal with the political.
“Here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine. Our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick. And no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or an illness.
When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day — another president. He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically. That is not how he was raised. He cared that it was the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, the conventioneers on the floor, and viewers via social media, erupted with praise. And then, as she wrapped up her speech, the first lady welled-up as she spoke of her children and her love of her country and her husband.
“You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.
But today, I have none of those worries from four years ago about whether Barack and I were doing what’s best for our girls.
Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughter — if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise; if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility — that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it — then we must work like never before, and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward: my husband, our president, President Barack Obama.”
And with that, millions of Americans watched as an imaginary marquee illuminated in pops of light above her head: 2016.
TOP FIVE BEST LINES
5. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren: “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people”
4. David Foster ( former employee at a company controlled by Bain Capital): “We don’t need a President who fires steelworkers, or says, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’”