In general, the reaction to Hillary Clinton's speech at the DNC seems to be very positive. Most of the usual suspects among the talking head TV crowd were raving about it last night and even today the consensus seems to be that she delivered the goods.
Personally, I found it appalling. Sure, her delivery was sound, but don't the words matter? She tried to throw in a few uplifting remarks, but overall the tone of her rhetoric was relentlessly negative.
These days Democrats seems incapable of saying more than four sentences without extolling the latest example of victimhood, but Hillary's pity parade was truly pathetic:
I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism. She didn't have any health insurance, and she discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head, painted with my name on it, and asked me to fight for health care for her and her children.
I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care. And he said to me, "Take care of my buddies. A lot of them are still over there. And then will you please take care of me?"
And I will always remember the young boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage, that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.
This sort of emotional pandering is simply beyond parody. Biden and Obama are really going to have to dig deep to find more depressing anecdotes than these whoppers that Hillary trotted out last night.
It's like a high stakes game of pity poker. I'll see your single mom with two adopted kids with autism who has no health care and gets cancer and raise you an African-American lesbian from New Orleans who because of Katrina and high gas prices can't afford to travel to Walter Reed to visit her disabled partner who was wounded in Iraq because of lack of body armor.
Where does this end? And are these seemingly endless tales of "woe is us" really what the American people want to hear from their would-be presidents? Do Democrats really enjoy wallowing in misery like this? They certainly seemed to last night.
And what about the assumption--implicit throughout these pity parties--that the only way that these people, the only way that any of us can be helped is by the government? Are voters really buying that? When Hillary said this:
Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.
She intended it as an indictment of the Bush administration. Besides being demagogic BS, it's a frightening look into the way that people like Hillary view the role of the government. Like a watchful mother duck looking after her ducklings, the government must keep all of us in its sight at all times. If we stray off the path or try to go our own way, it needs to nudge us (gently) back on course. We depend on it for nurture and nourishment and will be safe as long as we stay within its fold. Frankly, I want my visibility to the government to be as limited as possible and visa versa.
So after telling us how awful things were and how only Democrats (read government) could make it better, certain sections of the speech came off as discordant:
We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges, leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.
Wait a second. Where was that confidence and optimism in meeting our toughest challenges earlier in the speech? Are Americans supposed to be confident that Democrats will take care of them and optimistic that they'll win in November? Is this how generations before us met those challenges? I don't recall that the leaders of generations before us led off every speech with a laundry list of misery.
This was a shining example of her demagoguery:
We need a president who understands we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in the new technologies that will build a green economy.
Only a Democrat can define "giving" as not taking away.
There was one line in the speech that seemed designed to elicit both applause and laughter:
Now, with an agenda like that, it makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
That line was so lame that Al Franken didn't even think it was funny.
Maybe I'm just not judging the speech properly. It did succeed it making everyone who heard it feel miserable, so by Democratic standards it was a smashing success. Misery really does love company after all.