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Democrats In The City Of Brotherly Love (Catching Up)

[ Posted Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 – 13:51 UTC ]

Maybe I should have subtitled this "random notes from the whirlwind" -- this is going to be a collection of disjointed observations, at best, so I thought I'd just warn everyone up front not to expect a coherent narrative or anything. What follows are random notes from the Democratic National Convention that I haven't had the time to set down before now. The early portions of tonight's program in the arena are just an affirmation of Tim Kaine's nomination, so I'm going to skip trying to attend (or to even pay attention), as I did for the first day (Bernie supporters challenging rules) or the second day (roll call for presidential nomination). We are now halfway through the convention, after two days and nights. This year is more of a marathon event than the previous convention was in Charlotte, which only lasted three days. So here is everything I've noticed so far, in no particular order.

I'm not a big believer in omens, but the hotel where I'm staying (which is far outside of the city of Philadelphia) is very near, or possibly even on, the land where the Battle of Brandywine Creek was fought in the Revolutionary War. From Wikipedia:

The Battle of Brandywine, also known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American army of General George Washington and the British army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777. The British Army defeated the American Army and forced them to withdraw toward the American capital of Philadelphia. The engagement occurred near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania during Howe's campaign to take Philadelphia, part of the American Revolutionary War. More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours.

In essence, Washington got his butt kicked. This loss enabled the British to take Philadelphia two weeks later. The battlefield is not a national park or memorial, but rather merely a state park. We do tend to honor our victories a lot more than we do our defeats, don't we? But, like I said, I don't believe in omens, so I don't think this portends anything for either my personal reporting, Democrats in general, or Hillary Clinton's campaign. It just reminded me of how the East Coast differs from the West, since these historic sites are all over the place out here -- at times you can't toss a silver dollar (across a river, say) without hitting one.

Sunday, we got the chance to walk through the convention hall before all the hoopla truly got underway. Walking around the mostly-empty floor was fun, but I did have to wonder why the Nebraska delegation secured a choice piece of real estate on the floor.

Now, traditionally, states which the candidate favors for some reason or another get the prime floor spots. The host state almost always gets a floor spot, explaining why Pennsylvania is there. The candidate's home state and the running mate's home state also get prime spots, explaining New York and Virginia (and, by extension, Arkansas and Illinois, where Hillary Clinton also can claim roots). States that were either important primary victories or possible key swing states sometimes get good floor seats, explaining Iowa and Florida (alternatively, Florida might have gotten the nod from the former head of the Democratic National Committee, since Debbie Wasserman Schultz hails from there). Also key is the fact that all of these states voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary season.

But Nebraska? Nebraska went for Bernie Sanders. Nebraska isn't exactly considered a swing state (although there's a slim possibility of picking up one single Electoral College vote there, since it is one of two states that don't have winner-takes-all systems). As far as I can tell, Hillary Clinton has no special link to the Cornhuskers. So why are they on the floor? Even if one Bernie state were included as outreach to his supporters, why this particular one? Vermont would have been the obvious choice. If anyone can explain this to me, feel free to do so in the comments, because I'm still scratching my head over this one, personally.

Other convention random thoughts... getting here has been somewhat of a challenge, because the cops in their infinite wisdom have blocked off lanes on Interstate 95 North, to make sure all large trucks exit before the highway gets close to the arena. This caused an IMMENSE traffic jam on Sunday, but things have gotten better each day since, as the locals have (I assume) learned to avoid this stretch of road during the week. Getting around the streets of Philly hasn't been too bad, barring the occasional gridlock caused by protest marches. The folks running the convention, in their infinite wisdom, have scheduled all the morning and early afternoon events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which is in the heart of the city -- miles away from Wells Fargo Center. The logic for making tens of thousands of people journey back and forth between the two absolutely escapes me, but we've learned to cope with it by now.

Last time around, we relied on public transportation and the convention shuttles (last time we stayed at an official convention hotel, which was just as far in the hinterlands as where we are staying this year -- the only difference is this time we're paying less than half of what we paid in 2012). This time, we opted for a rental vehicle. So far, this has worked out well, although I have all but forgotten how to deal with summer humidity. After it rains (which has happened twice), no matter what settings I try on the heater/AC/defroster, I get condensation on my windshield (oddly enough, on the outside). I've all but given up trying to figure out this conundrum, and just use the windshield wipers (even though the rain has stopped). Any tips from East Coasters (or those in the South, now that I think about it) on how to fix this problem would be appreciated. I used to know what to do about this, but I haven't driven on the East Coast in too many years to remember.

One nice surprise from the convention folks happened when we went to pick up our official parking passes. Initially we were told they'd cost $125 for the whole convention, which we were happy to pony up. But when we got approved for parking, we were told they were now free. What changed? I have no idea. These passes are only for the media, not for delegates, I should add. Did some "guardian angel" corporation underwrite the entire parking lot's cost, so the media could park free? I have no idea. I did ask, when we picked the passes up, so I'd know who to thank, but the only answer I got was "I don't know -- maybe Donald Trump paid for them all." I find this highly unlikely, but in the event it is true, I would gladly thank even Trump himself for our free parking!

The convention is fairly well-run inside the security perimeter, with enormous areas outside the hall dedicated to the media (even us lowly bloggers get tables to set up with electricity (but not Ethernet connections), and to feeding the press (fairly good selection, although astronomically high prices, of course).

I went in search of protesters both days from within the security area, but could not get close enough to see any. I could hear a few crowds by the fences on the west side of the secure area, but didn't want to have to go out and then have to wait in line to go through the security checks all over again. When I say "fence," I'm talking about a layered defense of multiple lines of fencing, with lots of area in between, which is why I couldn't see anyone outside. The protesters are all in a park across the street (again, to the west) from the secure area. This is also (coincidentally?) the street where all the delegate buses (from the official hotels) disgorge their passengers. This means the delegates all got an earful while heading to the lines to go through security to enter the perimeter.

This is all to the good, I have to say. Delegates should be confronted by -- and within earshot of -- citizens protesting the event. For the past 15 years (at least), national conventions have had the Orwellian-named "free speech zones" where protesters are sequestered blocks (sometimes miles) away from the actual attendees. While a somewhat-understandable reaction to 9/11, this is at heart un-American. The whole country is supposed to be a "free speech zone," at least according to the Constitution that I am familiar with. This year, the balance between security and allowing attendees to be confronted by a faceful of free speech seems to be one heck of a lot better than it has been in recent years, so I have to say this is a step in the right direction.

The scene inside the arena is one mad crush. The first night especially, the hallways were mobbed. Getting on the floor was also a mob scene, with the aisle crammed and barely moving. Getting food inside was all but impossible, with what looked like 45-minute-long lines (I went hungry until afterwards, and went to the media food area instead). But this was probably first-night jitters, so I expect things to improve as everyone gets into the rhythm of the convention (I remain optimistic, in other words).

The mood of the convention has definitely undergone a shift, which I fully expect to continue for the final two nights. Monday, at times (especially at the start) things seemed to be fairly evenly-balanced between the Bernie supporters and those cheering for Hillary. By the end of the night, however, the balance had tilted towards unifying behind the nominee. Tuesday was the "last stand" for the Bernie folks in a lot of ways, as the convention formally nominated Hillary Clinton. My previous report detailed what this last-ditch effort looked like from the media tent (where the walkout of delegates wound up). But inside the arena the Bernie supporters' absence meant their seats were filled by Hillary supporters, further lessening the effect of the dissent. While there were competing cheers during the roll call, later on in the evening once again the mood shifted to being very pro-Hillary. By the time the biggest speakers (including Bill Clinton) spoke, the audience was applauding almost as one. We'll have to see what happens for the final two nights, but now that the drama of the roll call is over, Hillary is unquestionably and unalterably the Democrats' nominee. Most Bernie supporters know that this particular battle is now over, to put it another way, no matter how they may personally feel about this fact.

Which brings me to my final disjointed thoughts for this particular installment (it's almost time to head back to the arena for tonight's presentation). The first is a followup of a question I asked in my interview of the Connecticut Secretary of State, when I inquired what they'd be talking about in their boosterism statement. She played it coy, but now the answer can be told. Connecticut is "the home of the pizza and the hamburger." Some explanation may be necessary, by hometown papers, since no explanation was offered last night.

That seems to be a good enough note to end this rambling recollection on. I initially thought I'd get caught up on the previous two nights' keynote speeches, but there aren't enough hours in the day to both experience this stuff, take notes, and type out my reactions. As happened four years ago, a lot of it is going to have to wait until I'm home again and can take the time to transcribe some of those notes. So my apologies for not meeting this particular goal in this hastily-assembled collection of trivia, but that's life inside the whirlwind.

I'll close with two silly self-promotional notes. The first is that I got the chance to meet Clarence Page last night, who is famous for being a Chicago journalist and also a regular on The McLaughlin Group (which I not only love to watch but also love to pay homage to at the end of every year, with my awards columns). He is a great guy, and all I really wanted to do was shake his hand (for being able to laugh while on stage with both John McLaughlin and Pat Buchanan), but he chatted with me for a good 10 or 15 minutes about Chicago, Chicago museums, Maryland, D.C. museums, New York (and their museums, of course) and southwest Ohio. It was a verbal ramble around the countryside, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's always nice to meet someone famous who is just as charming and good-natured in person as he appears on television. Which brings me to my own self-promotion. While watching the convention, if you want to try to spot me, I think I'm the only one in the entire arena wearing a Baltimore Orioles cap. So look for a guy with the hat with a bird on it (and a bright orange brim) -- that'll probably be me. With half the convention to go, you never know where I'll pop up!

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


73 Comments on “Democrats In The City Of Brotherly Love (Catching Up)”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    I'm glad to hear the feeling inside the arena seems to be reflecting unity. I really think the convention planners have gone out of their way to honor Bernie and welcome his delegates and those who preferred him to her. It had to have been a hell of a moment for him on the first night when he got such a long ovation, and again last night when he made the big gesture. He should feel damn good!

    I think Bill's speech last night was so important in countering the, as he said, "cartoon image" that has been created about Hillary over the years. And he brought up thing she'd done I'd forgotten about -- there's so many!

    Glad your parking is free! Looking forward to tonight!

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's a non-random note ...

    Has anyone noticed that when his poll numbers rise, so does the frequency and degree of Mr. Trumps outrageous statements?

    Are there any theories as to why this is?

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Bill can say "cartoon image" because he is a politician. I would call it a mythology. Like every other persistent myth, the media's hillary is composed of some true facts, but is mostly exaggeration and fabrication.

    Put the a/c on and set the fan to defrost.


  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    Another great night in Philly! Watching on C-SPAN -- loving every cornball moment -- What the World Needs Now -- the "fight song" -- testimony from gun violence victims -- Joe Biden's disjointed intensity -- Michael Bloomberg of all things. Tim Kaine coming.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    disjointed intensity

    Is that really the best you can do?

    What a wonderful first comment on Biden's speech tonight.

  6. [6] 
    Paula wrote:

    Elizabeth: I meant he stumbled here and there -- didn't matter. It was terrific.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I know what you meant.

  8. [8] 
    Paula wrote:

    And Obama soars!

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    I thought Tim Kaine did well. He's not as good as Biden or Obama -- tough shoes to fill. But I think he's solid and likable and a good attack-dog. Loved the ending when Hillary came out. The arena went wild.

  10. [10] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don't boo, vote!

    Great line.

  11. [11] 
    Paula wrote:

    "Do for her what you did for me" -- perfect.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    One of Obama's better speeches in my opinion. I think I may have caught a quick glimpse of CW (sans glasses?) in the ABC live feed. Or at least somebody who looks a lot like the masthead pic at the Huffpo mirror column.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    [12] I bet Chris was thrilled to be there tonight!

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    A tweet by conservative Erick Erickson: "The GOP offered a vision of doom, despair, and division. Tonight the President I think divides us offered optimism. I hate this year."


  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    OK, I haven't read these comments yet, but before I do, your boy had a good night.

    A really good night.

    Joe Biden's speech is neck-and-neck for the best speech of the entire convention, as far as I'm concerned. At this point, I think I'd have to give Michelle Obama the edge, but Biden is a VERY close second, and third place is pretty far behind both of them. Joe knocked it out of the freakin' park tonight.

    The crowd LOVED the speech. I mean, absolute rapture inside the arena. Not sure if the cameras caught it or not, but man, the place was ON FIRE for Biden.

    If you missed it, dig up his intro bio video too, it was easily one of the best videos of the whole convention (only rivalled, perhaps, by Barack's).

    Like I said, a VERY good night. Just had to say that. I will have more to say on this subject in a column, but for now just had to share that with you.


  16. [16] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula [1] -

    Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree -- the planners (and Hillary herself, most likely) have indeed been bending over backwards to be inclusive of Bernie, and I think it is paying dividends among the delegates.

    Also, from the stage, everyone from Barack Obama on down has been very generous with praise for Bernie. And I think that's a good thing, and is also helpful.

    LizM [2] -

    Because then he's more likely to think he can get away with it? Just a guess....

    nypoet22 -

    But that's what I did when the outside of the window started fogging up! I mean, that's what I thought the right thing to do was, but it doesn't seem to be working. The car (a Jeep) has Ontario license plates (licence plates?), so maybe it works different in Canuckistan? [quickly ducks, as LizM reads that... heh].

    Paula/LizM -

    Hey, I read "disjointed intensity" as a compliment, personally.

    I heard more than once, from journalists and others outside the arena: "If Biden was the nominee, he'd be leading Trump by 15 points..."

    Biden had a VERY good night, no matter what phrase you use to describe it. See above comment.

    Paula -

    I was actually surprised how effective an attack dog Kaine was. I never thought he had it in him, but he did a pretty good job taking Trump down a peg or two.

    BashiBazouk -

    Obama's used that line before, but it's always effective! We had some sound problems where I was sitting, so some of Obama's speech was hard to hear, but we also had a screen with the closed captioning turned on, so we got his words a few seconds delayed.

    TheStig -

    Ah, but did he have on an Orioles baseball cap (bird on front, bright orange brim)?

    I don't have time to upload photos, but I got a GREAT one of Clarence Page, for next week (promise!).

    Paula -

    Well, if Erickson is annoyed, then the night was probably a success. Especially if he was annoyed because the Dems seem so sane compared to Trump!


    Gotta run, very late. I will try to post a column tomorrow, before Day Four gets started... gotta grab a few hours sleep now... conventions = no sleep, that's the one constant I've learned you can count on...


  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    it's not the jeep. it sounds like you did the right thing, but sometimes you have to play with the temperature as well; try keeping the A/C on and the fan on defrost, but the temperature not so cold. not being there that's my best guess, but maybe there's something to this canuckistan theory ;)


  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If you missed it, dig up his intro bio video, too ...

    Yer kidding, right? If I missed it? Very funny.

    Seriously, it was a great speech and a truly wonderful moment, just before the speech began.

    As Paula stated, it was a perfect example of, how did she put it ... oh, yeah ... "disjointed intensity ... he stumbled here and there"

    Some things never change.

    But, that's okay ... the people who really mattered to me, after the last seven and a half years, were the people in the arena last night who finally, FINALLY gave back to Biden the love and respect he had been giving to them for the last 40 plus years ... heartwarming doesn't tell the half of it.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris [15],

    Now, THAT's how to pay a compliment!

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The car (a Jeep) has Ontario license plates (licence plates?), so maybe it works different in Canuckistan?

    Most things run a little differently up here. Ahem. :)

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, I read "disjointed intensity" as a compliment, personally.

    Perhaps you missed her lovely follow-up, "he stumbled here and there" ...

    Do they teach how to be complimentary where Paula is from because, she sucks at it. Heh.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    but maybe there's something to this canuckistan theory ;)

    I think so ...

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    more on the myth vs. the reality: i think bill, obama and biden all did a good job of dispelling the exaggeration, speculation and fabrication that have formed hillary's mythological media image.

    That is the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman—not me, not Bill, nobody—more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.
    ~barack obama

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    your boy had a good night. A really good night.

    It was vintage Biden and something I have come to expect and cherish whenever and wherever he takes whatever stage.

    It has taken a very long time, from Senator to Vice President, for this recognition to have finally settled in with so many Americans. But, it is infinitely satisfying - and, certainly, better late than never, I always say ... :)

  25. [25] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I just viewed Gabby Giffords address this AM, and was impressed (and inspired) by the recovery she has achieved.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Her recovery has indeed been remarkable and inspiring.

    I hope she is ultimately successful in her equally inspiring efforts to enact commonsense gun control laws. The time may have come where the coalition that is coalescing in support of these laws has reached the tipping point.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, if Erickson is annoyed, then the night was probably a success. Especially if he was annoyed because the Dems seem so sane compared to Trump!

    Now, THAT was funny! :)

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Because then he's more likely to think he can get away with it? Just a guess....

    I guess he was being "sarcastic" (his explanation for his latest outrageous utterance about Russian hacking) when he said that he could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and he wouldn't lose any supporters.

    I'm beginning to think that even Trump is surprised by the lack of negative impact on his support in the wake of all of his outrageousness. To the point where one can't help but consider that Trump is trying to lose this election.

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    you know what douglas adams said in the HHGTTG:

    There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

    donald has been throwing himself at the ground fairly hard for over a year, yet still seems to be airborne. adams gives a hint on the reason for this too:

    the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it were going to anyway.

    i don't think anyone would ever accuse donald of thinking too hard about anything.


  30. [30] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Trump can rest securely in his bed knowing the US is a nation of laws and that the legal bar for treason is in fact very, very high. Informally encouraging the Russians to commit a second Watergate Break In doesn't meet the prosecutorial standard. It does raise questions about his judgment, patriotism and sanity. Not that there is any Constitutional requirement for a President to possess judgment, patriotism or sanity.

    Perhaps even more disturbing than his nod and wink subcontracting of espionage to the Russians is Trump's statement that he will "look into"
    recognizing Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea.

    What is there to look into? Beyond creating a Neville Chamberlain award so it can be given to Trump? What exactly is in this for the US? Art of the Deal?

    Trump is about to get his National Security Briefing. There are briefings and there a briefings. I think Trumps personalized briefing should be heavy on history, low on secrets and make use finger puppets.

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    seriously, how anyone can support donald on the one hand and at the same time decry ANYONE else for "extreme carelessness" is beyond me!


  32. [32] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 [17] -

    It may rain today, so I will give the temperature idea a try.

    Thanks for helping out! I've been away from the sauna that is "humidity" for too long, obviously...



  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    my pleasure. i loved living in philly, and it's been too long since i visited.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think Trumps personalized briefing should be heavy on history, low on secrets and make use finger puppets.


    Seriously, indeed!

  35. [35] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I've just listened to Joe Biden's speech, and I have to say I think it's a classic. It's fairly easy to get a friendly crowd to stand up and cheer. It's a lot harder to get them to sit quietly and listen at once, and Joe pulled that trick off repeatedly. He made the case for Clinton and shredded Trump's credentials. All in 20 min, which seemed much less. It is impossible for me not to like Biden....probably the most genuine guy in politics.

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I concur. :)

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Wait a sec ... it was only 20 minutes!?

    Are you sure about that? That can't be right! :)

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I thought the opening ovation was about 20 minutes ...

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    While we're on my favourite subject, ahem ...

    Here is what I think was the most important two lines in Biden's speech last night and it wasn't the first time he has said it:

    "The 21st century is going to be the American century. Because we lead not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example."

    Most important not least because this is how America will defeat the Islamic State and its ilk.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's try that again - cough cough edit function -

    While we're on my favourite subject, ahem ...

    Here's what I think were the most important two lines in Biden's speech last night and it wasn't the first time he has said it:

    "The 21st century is going to be the American century. Because we lead not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example."

    Most important not least because this is how America will defeat the Islamic State and its ilk.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heck, let's just say that I'm inelegant and Biden is not. :)

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:

    Actually, the thing about Biden that I focused on re: disjointed, were the stumbles he did that reminded me of my Mom -- who died of a stroke last September. Little verbal crashes - messing up the word order -- mispronouncing words. It emphasized, to me, Biden's age and what he's been through -- made him seem fragile to me, Which made his great moments even greater. I may be over-sensitized to those verbal ticks as they stuck out to me. Not in a bad way as I keep trying to emphasize, Elizabeth!

    The limits of mortality -- we won't have him forever. That was the subtext for me.

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    What you describe has ALWAYS been the way Biden speaks and has little to do with his age or his brain aneurism which he suffered shortly after having to pull out of the 1988 presidential campaign in the wake of a faux-plagiarism charge.

    Did you know that when he was a kid he had a severe stutter. Which he worked hard to overcome by reciting poetry.

    In future, try to avoid making unwarranted assumptions and comparisons.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I just re-watched Biden's speech. It was delivered practically flawlessly.

    I have no idea what verbal crashes you are talking about but, it doesn't matter. It was, as you say, a terrific speech.

    Very sorry to hear about your mother. I'm lucky to still have my mother, living with me, and am so fortunate to be able to care for her at home. I'm sorry if I have come across as overly sensitive myself but, over the years, I have seen and heard everything about Biden and/or his speaking style, to put it kindly, from people who know nothing about him.

  45. [45] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Quote of the night, of the decade, of the century:

    "We lead not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example."

    This is a quote that will live on for all time.

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    That has been one of my most favourite Biden quotes for about as long as I've been following his public service career.

    Quote of the night, decade and century, indeed!

  47. [47] 
    Paula wrote:

    [44] Okay!

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There you go!

  49. [49] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    apropos to nothing in particular, isn't it a little odd that the arrow in hillary's insignia points to the right?

  50. [50] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the biden speech really is outstanding though.


  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    It points to the way forward as opposed to Mr. Trump going backwards, or something.

    Actually, there is new way of designating political leaders that leaves the old right wing/left wing classification behind that I was telling Michale about a while back ...

    I think a description of "up-wing" is in order.
    It's a term used by one of my favourite political analysts, William Bradley, and was derived from an idea that former Senator Gary Hart showed him to characterize political figures using a past-future spectrum instead of the usual right-wing/left-wing classification.

    To paraphrase Bradley, this past-future spectrum naturally runs from the up end to the down end of the spectrum, with the futurist (up) end characterized by new technology, creative utilizations of existing technology, and new structural forms to pursue enduring values and new visions.

    The up-wing leader places a special emphasis on big think/think big future-oriented and enlightened policies in an effort to position a society on the global cutting edge, even in the midst of great challenges and crises that would paralyze a more down-wing political leader.

    Additionally, to quote Bradley, "big thinking, big ideas need not be about big items per se. In fact, some of the biggest thinking is about small things, or more accurately, how to bring smaller things into play to solve problems that big things might make worse."

    This is a far superior method of characterizing the current crop of presidential candidates than the out-dated and tired left-wing/right wing labels because it identifies the candidate most capable of outlining a coherent vision for the future and of possessing the courage to carry it out, in the face of great opposition from special interest groups.

    The up-wing/down-wing designation is particularly applicable to this presidential campaign.

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    the biden speech really is outstanding though.

    They usually are. :)

    This one in particular, though, as it kind of bookends an illustrious career as senator, statesman, and vice president.

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Mr. Trump, by the way, is decidedly down-wing ... anti-science, anti-Enlightenment, pro-torture, lack of curiosity and willingness to learn, etc.

  54. [54] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    just to clarify how the dimensions are measured, can i get a few examples of down-wing democrats and up-wing republicans?


  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I think up vs down wing is meant to replace the Republican-Democrat way of looking at things and try to identify who is forward-thinking and future-oriented and advocates for policies that will put America on the cutting edge, so to speak, and who does not.

    But, I think it will be far easier to find up-wing Republicans than down-wing Democrats. Although, a good place to start looking for the latter might be the MDDOTW club! :)

  56. [56] 
    Paula wrote:

    Wow -- the Convention is really building the drama tonight. Reverend Barber got this thing moving into high gear and it has been killer ever since. I wondered how they'd do it -- I'm so impressed.

  57. [57] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    The video of Hillary's history was done extremely well! Watching Hillary walk onto the stage... THIS IS WHAT A PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE!!! It should be based on HOPE, not HATE!

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I do believe Hillary is aiming to beat her husband's speechifying record!

    And, who says this isn't her own special talent!?

    Phenomenal convention, all around!

  59. [59] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    and that is how history is made....

  60. [60] 
    Paula wrote:

    I have to say I was worried she would be a "let-down" after the fire power of all the great speakers this week. Whoever put together this convention, and tonight specifically, deserves immense credit. They built up the emotions tonight so skillfully -- getting beyond the usual politicians-talking moments to these different people who kept ratcheting up the emotion so that when she came out the arena was absolutely in the perfect receptive place. If Berniacs were protesting I didn't hear it -- I watched C-SPAN -- maybe it was when the occasional "Hillary" chants broke out. I was worried going in to tonight there would be ugly moments -- there weren't or they were so minimal as to not make a dent.

    The party's still going on! The energy and joy in the arena. This is everything I had hoped it would be this week.

  61. [61] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris has to be having an incredible time!

  62. [62] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Wow! A 60 comment thread with no multi-post harangues from Weigantia's only Trump booster. That's got to be a record going back to 2007 when I first began reading Chris. Congratulations everybody!

  63. [63] 
    BigGuy wrote:

    Solid speech by Secretary Clinton. Stylistically this was about as good as she will ever be. The content was great but i well never be moved by her delivery. My worry is that she did not give moderate Republicans a reason to vote for her. Were I in their shoes, I would write in my favorite candidate from the primaries. I guess them not voting for Mr. Trump would be positive for Secretary Clinton.

    I was only able to watch two other speeches. Reverend Barber absolutely killed it. General Allen not so much. I read the transcripts of the Obama (both), Vice President Biden, Senator Kaine, and former president Clinton speeches. All were excellent the President and First Lady were outstanding.

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Please see the earlier column with 350+ comments.

    Michale has made a conscious and serious effort to let us have our moment in this thread. He's the one who should be congratulated!

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, BigGuy, care to elaborate on why you weren't moved by her delivery?

    What do you think moderate Republicans would have preferred to hear from her?

  66. [66] 
    BigGuy wrote:

    Time to vent my spleen on my biggest peeve - the Congress. Feel free too ignore. They should get back to work now that the conventions are history; they won't. I do not believe the congressional satisfaction polls. Seventeen percent of Americans can't possibly think they are doing a good job.

    The biggest problem is that the leadership is collectively the weakest I have seen. Senators Reid and McConnell are absolute wimps. Rep. Pelosi was a horrible speaker and no better as minority leader. I actually had hopes for Speaker Ryan, sigh.

    There never had been or ever will be a valid reason for the Senate to not take action on a presidential nomination for any judicial position. A possible exception was Harriet Miers (mostly kidding). Failing to have a vote on Judge Garland is in defiance of the Constitution and is highly disrespectful of the President. Republicans are foolish if they think either presidential candidate would make a better choice.

    The ACA was a start. No one could think that something that massive would be a final product or that making it go away would be an option. No business in a similar situation would fail to put some smart people in a room until they had a solution. Not if they wanted to stay in business. This might require compromise (the HORRORS!)

  67. [67] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Being reminded of how outstanding Joe Biden is as Vice President, the choice of Tim Kaine beings to make sense. Clinton was evidently looking for qualities of dignity, sincerity and honesty; the qualities that are so dominant in Joe Biden. In other words, Clinton was looking for another Joe Biden to succeed Joe Biden.

  68. [68] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Seriously, nicely put!

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    All points worthy of further discussion ... but I'm done for tonight.

  70. [70] 
    BigGuy wrote:

    EM (65) I just do not like her oratorical style. There have been times when I cringed when hearing her on the radio during the primaries. Her message is great, just a personal thing.

    Putting myself in the shoes of a conservative I would have heard a. Not going to take my guns, riiiiight. b. You're going to take all my money. c. Why not invite the whole world to come on over. Quick channel surfing after the speech had several talking heads stating that "Bernie could have given that speech."

    A couple of items that were small but interesting to me. Nice of her to mention the service of Governor Pences's son. Hillary: "I had to pick myself up off the carpet" Bill: "Et tu Hillary?!"

  71. [71] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Just to let everyone know, I had technical problems tonight (see "Program Note"), but did manage to post two articles.

    Our convention coverage here is going to spill over well into next week, because I have a lot of material to cover, but haven't had the time (or necessary sleep) to get to it all. I will try to post some of it tomorrow (Friday), but for now there are two new articles up, one by me (which LizM is going to LOVE) and one by my lovely wife.

    So check them out, folks! I, for one, am going to bed.



  72. [72] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    This might require compromise (the HORRORS!)

    For the Republicans, compromising was never an option they would even consider, because it did not serve their goal: preventing Obama from signing any legislation into law that would be viewed positively by most Americans. You are aware that the GOP members of Congress met right after Obama's 2008 inaugural speech, in which he stated that he planned to be known as the "bi-partisan President" and decided that they would make a liar out of the President by voting against ANY legislation that Obama supported, regardless of the consequences, correct? They bragged about this to reporters in 2012, when they thought that it had cost Obama his bid for re-election, and they wanted to make sure that they got the credit for it. They boasted at how the better a piece of legislation would be viewed for the country, the harder they fought to block it. This also helps explain the historically unheard of practice of voting against legislation that they, themselves, introduced; but only after Obama signaled that he would sign it if it made it to his desk. Since 2008, the GOP has intentionally voted against America's best interests, all so Obama cannot take credit for anything positive happening during his presidency. The GOP thinks this is a great political strategy, I think it is treason! I just do not know what the Democratic leadership could have done to force the Republicans to do their job that they did not do.

  73. [73] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    BigGuy [70]

    That one made me laugh so hard that I spit my drink all over the screen! Nice!

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