It is probably well known by now that in the primaries I supported Bernie Sanders to be the nominee of our party. However, since I was the Vice-Chair and running to be the Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, I believe it was not my place to advocate for one candidate or another because it is not the place of a local party chair (or DNC chair, in my opinion) to be openly supporting one candidate over another. That said, I will admit to some disappointment over the behavior of some Bernie supporters at the conventions, both the Texas state convention and the national convention.
But now we have a nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary is by far the most qualified presidential candidate since at least when Bob Dole ran against Hillary’s husband, maybe longer. Eight years as one of the most active First Ladies ever in this country (not an elected position, but still important), eight years as Senator from New York, including the time right after the worst terrorist attack ever in the United States in New York City, and four years as the Secretary of State for the United States. No one can match this type of experience…and I’m leaving out vast swaths of her career before Bill was elected president in 1992 – experience that was equally valuable.
And what a convention we threw in Philadelphia. Starting out with Michelle Obama’s speech the first night, which was a very subtle indictment of the whole Republican party establishment and their nasty, brutish convention. She framed it with the simple question: Who do you trust with you kids? Trump or Hillary? She reminded us that “When crisis hits, we do not turn on each other … because we are always stronger together.” This is very important to remember in these difficult times. She ended with a nod to the less than stellar past our country has endured by pointing out that she, the first Black first lady in the White House, sleeps every night in a house constructed by slave labor. Extremely powerful stuff.
And the second night – who can ever not want to listen to Bill Clinton spinning a yarn to tell us about something we need to know – the “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” as President Obama called him. This time he was telling us about the woman that he fell in love with so many years before and how she became the woman she is now running for President. For all the flaws of Bill Clinton, there is no one that can do this like he can. For all the flaws of Hillary as a candidate (and she has flaws), Bill Clinton is the antidote as long as they can keep it together.
The third night – all I can say is wow. Joe Biden ripping in to Donald Trump was a sight to behold. This wasn’t the subtle scalpel of Michelle Obama removing the heart of the Republican nominee – it was the Vice President with a chainsaw eviscerating the Trumpian dogma. Then Michael Bloomberg, nominally a Republican, but really a businessman, completely dismantled the facade of Trump as a businessman. Finally, our President, Barack Obama. What a speech – drawing from what National Review editor Rich Lowery calls “our stuff” he says, “American exceptionalism and greatness, shining city on hill, founding documents, etc–they’re trying to take all our stuff”. The President weaved a spellbinding picture of the greatness of America – so different from the pox-ridden wasteland that was described in the Republican convention the week before.
Notice that I didn’t describe the speeches of Hillary or Tim Kaine, our vice-presidential nominee. Not because they didn’t give good speeches – they were good – but they were very workman-like performances, not designed to be the peak of rhetorical fancy. That is fine by me. We don’t need a rhetorical genius, we need a technocratic leader that can take the basis for a great America that President Obama has built and push it to the next level by making the promise of America available to everyone. And that is the great strength of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine – they both doggedly work the problem until there is a solution. Listen to how many speakers described how Hillary doesn’t quit.
Now, I could have talked about the opposition more in this column, but I think that Mr. Trump is doing a fine job of imploding himself, far above my meager abilities to assist in the self-destruction of the Republican Party. If there is any single take-away that we should hold from the convention in Philadelphia, it is that we have a great nation…and we need to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine to save it from the pretender that would immolate the country to benefit himself.
Marc Meyer, Chair
Montgomery County Democratic Party