BY JOEL MOSKOWITZ
The difference in the energy level between the Republican convention of last week and the Democratic one that opened yesterday was palpable from the get go. Runner up Bernie Sanders needed close to five minutes to calm the enthused crowd down before he was able to speak and Michelle Obama showed she is a rock star. The undercard, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker would be the A-Team at any other forum. Unfortunately for the Dems, star power on the podium was unable to quell two fires burning up the convention, the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz fiasco and Hillary’s un-likability.
Wasserman-Schultz did the noble thing and fell on her sword after it was revealed by Wikileaks that she and a bunch of other hacks from the Democratic National Committee did everything they could to block Sanders in his quest for the nomination, short of pulling the levers themselves multiple times. Revolutions are the answer to gradualism and progressives, energized by the candidacy of Senator Sanders were itching for a makeover. It is not a stretch to say that Bernie’s speech last night would have been better received if most Democrats did not learn that his opponent beat him unfairly. To his credit, Sanders was believable in his endorsement of Secretary Clinton but diehards are having none of it. Logically, the Vermont senator’s supporters should flock to Hillary; emotionally they feel robbed.
By all rights, Hillary’s candidacy is historic and on paper she is amply qualified to be president. Calling her “the most qualified person to ever run” as President Obama has is insulting to George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon both of whom arguably were just as if not more qualified for the office when they ran. Additionally, she is running against a very divisive candidate, yet she can’t get anybody to like her. She did herself little service by choosing a charisma challenged centrist as her running mate. Hearing Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders last night left progressives feeling they got robbed twice. Ask any football fans, prevent defense does not win games and I’m guessing it doesn’t win elections either.
Bernie Sanders addresses the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, July 25th. Full video.
This election should be about issues and we still have a few months left for the candidates to frame the campaign that way. Unfortunately, that is a pipe dream. This is framing out to become an election of the least or less unlikeable. To Trump’s credit, he is a political outsider so not having stars out campaigning for him gives his candidacy insurgent street cred. On the flip side, if President and Mrs. Obama, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders stump for Hillary it may distract from just how much people distrust her. Someone needs to address the elephant in that room, if her name was Harry rather than Hillary most of her perceived transgressions would have been forgiven and forgotten long ago. That is another post for another day.
The Democrats are going to need to put on a great show just to get the typical convention bounce. So far the show has been great but the below surface stories are still carrying the day. I read no verdict yet but the Clintons and President Obama are going to need their “A Game,” and in that area they have a pretty good record.
Joel Moskowitz is a businessman and writer who lives in New York. His blog, The Ranting Heeb is available on blogger.com. He is also a regular blogger for the Times of Israel.