ChrisWeigant.com

Democratic Convention Day Two: Leadership Matters

[ Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 – 17:20 UTC ]

The second night of the Democratic National Convention had an unexpected surprise, because the part that is usually the most boring to watch turned out to be the most interesting adaptation of the new technological mode we've all been forced into. Or, more simply: the roll call was phenomenal!

Before we get to that, though, I've got some overall impressions of the convention at its halfway point. The mainstream media is just like the rest of us in one way -- it is getting used to a virtual convention in real time, without any guidelines for how these things are supposed to happen. But unlike the rest of us (me, at any rate), they have fallen back on some familiar tropes when writing about Democrats. Which is a shame, but also comes as no real surprise.

I've seen a few articles that are almost laughable in their fitting of the square-peg 2020 presidential race into their round-hole persistent image of what they imagine the Democratic Party to be. In other words, they're trying to reconcile: "Trump Has Firmly United Democrats" with their old standby: "Democrats In Disarray!" This, as you can imagine, is a tough fit. But that hasn't stopped articles from appearing which posit (without any real basis) that once Biden wins the election, the Democratic Party will then immediately fall into warring factions that will bicker and self-immolate, which will mean Biden won't get much of anything done. No, really. I've read multiple articles with that very premise (which I refuse to link to, on general principles), which might have been titled: "Democrats In Array Right Now -- But A Return To Disarray Is Inevitable, Even In Victory. Just You Wait!"

Sigh. Now, I do realize that "conflict sells," and that the media is just as miffed as everyone else because they didn't get to attend the gigantic four-day party that conventions regularly have become. So they're bending over backwards to find any factionalism behind the scenes, while being denied the usual late-night schmoozefests with all the delegates and party bigwigs. But even so, one wonders if the same sort of attention will be paid to the yawning chasms in the Republican Party next week.

Those GOP chasms, by the way, are already on full display at the Democratic National Convention. One might think this was slightly newsworthy? For the past few decades, the parties have regularly featured a few disaffected members from the other side of the aisle at their conventions, in an effort to prove "our tent is the biggest!" But this year, it has become pretty overwhelming. In 2016, the "Never Trumper" faction of Republicans did exist, but they weren't very organized (to put it mildly). Four years later, that has changed in a big way. There are at least two very prominent organizations devoted to defeating Donald Trump and lots of his Republican enablers in Congress (The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump), who are each spending millions running television ads that are designed to elect Democrats. That's an entirely new phenomenon in politics, when you think about it. What previous groups can you name that actively worked for the other side in such a major way? I can't think of any, really.

Last night, the Democrats gave time to Colin Powell and Cindy McCain to endorse the Democratic candidate. One was once considered a strong possibility for a Republican presidential candidacy, and one is the widow of a previous Republican presidential candidate. Monday night, we had several former Republican governors and one former Republican presidential candidate also speak up for Joe Biden. And those were only the most prominent Republicans to endorse the Democratic candidate during the convention so far. When have such high-caliber members of the opposition ever appeared at the convention across the aisle? I suppose Joe Lieberman qualifies, since he was a Democratic vice-presidential candidate before speaking at the 2008 Republican National Convention, but he wasn't exactly leading a movement of fellow Democrats away from the party at the time.

I was left wondering last night if conventions are supposed to build in intensity, which Republicans will be able to top Cindy McCain and Colin Powell tonight or tomorrow night? Mitt Romney? Ronald Reagan's ghost? Well, OK, maybe not that last one, but it wouldn't surprise me that much if Mitt suddenly appeared, at this point. He was, after all, the only Republican to vote against Trump in the impeachment trial.

It's pretty obvious to me which party is in serious disarray and which one is not, but that hasn't seemed to register with the mainstream media much. Granted, there have been grumblings from Democrats who have felt a little left out of the convention proceedings. Normally the conventions have hours and hours and hours of time to schedule speeches, so they can accommodate just about everyone -- or a few members of each faction, at the very least. There are hours of afternoon speeches that never get televised where minor speakers are allowed to take the stage. That hasn't been possible this time around, and although the party does seem to be trying to fit in as many people in as possible (with very short presentations and whole groups speaking together). But still some are feeling slighted.

First and foremost in this group is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A.O.C. is the freshest face in the Democratic Party today, and she has had an outsized impact on our national debate. What freshman congressperson ever has made such a big splash? A.O.C.'s name and face are everywhere, especially because the opposition over at Fox News has bent over backwards to demonize her as the second coming of Satan (or something... I must admit their "logic" is hard to follow, at times). But again, what first-term House member has ever become such a well-known name so fast? It's not even her name, really -- even just her initials are already better-known than most politicians could ever dream of. The only other political figure whose initials are this well known right now is R.B.G. -- but she's not even really a politician. Well, OK, a case could be made for Jeb Bush (his name is actually John Ellis Bush, which is where the "Jeb" nickname comes from), but that doesn't really count, since "Jeb Bush" is as redundant as "ATM machine." But we're getting off on a tangent here, it seems.

To get back to the main point -- why was A.O.C. essentially put in a corner for this convention? The first schedules publicly released didn't have her speaking at all. Then we were told she was given a one-minute speaking slot. But last night it became even more obvious that the establishment Democrats really didn't want her to speak at all, because it took Bernie Sanders naming her to second his nomination to get her on the program. One assumes that this choice was entirely Bernie's to make -- which means if he hadn't made it, she would have been shut out entirely.

This has led to a larger charge, that the Democrats are not working hard enough to enthuse younger voters this time around. There is some basis for this complaint, as we see octogenarian after septuagenarian (and even one notable nonagenarian) given large chunks of time to speak while younger voices are relegated to being "one of many" in a group video, at best. Barack Obama made a real name for himself at a previous Democratic National Convention, but there simply are no young Democratic voices that will make such a breakthrough this year because they are not being given prominent keynote speeches. A.O.C.'s treatment is merely the most notable symptom, in other words, of a larger problem. Both Clintons get individual speeches. John Kerry gets a speech. Jimmy Carter gets time (with his wife). Jim Clyburn, some random Kennedys, and several prominent Republicans all got more time than up-and-coming young Democratic stars.

Well, yes and no. There have been younger voices mixed throughout the programs, and even the main speeches have been drastically reduced (Bill Clinton is used to speaking for 40-50 minutes at conventions, so last night was akin to him mailing in his speech on a postcard). The other complaint that is more valid is the lack of Latino voices on stage, though. Latinos, unlike African-Americans, were one demographic group that Joe Biden struggled with in the primaries. His Latino outreach has been slow to get going as well, and the lack of prominent Latino voices at the convention has been rather noticeable. Latinos are the future of the Democratic Party in a lot of ways, so you'd think they'd get a little more respect in the schedule.

But even having said all of that, each convention is a compromise between lots and lots of Democratic factions. And each convention is also a reflection of the nominee. Joe Biden is an old White guy who learned politics back when Black voters were pretty much the only minority the major parties even paid any attention to at all. And they definitely resurrected Biden's campaign from near-death, in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday. So it's understandable why Biden would concentrate more on the people who got him the nomination, when you think about it. And on people his own age, for that matter. Now, I have no idea how much say Biden has in the actual scheduling -- I have no idea whether he's the one making such decisions or whether others are doing so. But you've got to remember that he is the nominee, so he can largely have whatever kind of convention he wants.

One final overall point: I have thought that the convention is (so far) doing a pretty good balancing act between "here are the reasons why Trump must lose" and "here is why Joe Biden should be president." This is always a tricky tightrope to cross, because different voters want to see different things. This time around, this is even more pronounced since Donald Trump is seen as such an existential threat to American democracy. So people like me want to see the case against Trump prosecuted in great detail and with lots of indignant emotion. But I do realize that you can't just make the case against the other side, you've also got to give voters something to vote for as well. And, like I said, I think the convention has struck a pretty good balance between these two goals, for the most part.

 

Leadership Matters

This was the theme of the second night, and it was a pathetically easy case to make. One only has to look at pretty much any aspect of the Trump presidency to see what an absolute lack of leadership looks like, in fact. This point was made over and over again last night, while painting a contrast with Joe Biden's essential decency and humanity. Again, not exactly a hard case to make.

The Democrats did largely miss a big opportunity last night, however. The convention had to be rescheduled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so originally this calendar alignment didn't exist, but even so, yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the final state ratifying the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. This centennial anniversary was mentioned in passing throughout the night, but was never really given center stage. This was a shame, because this election more than any other in American history might just hinge on how women vote. Suburban White women, Black Women, women of all backgrounds and demographics are what already propelled the Democrats to victory in the 2018 midterms, and there is every indication that they will be the backbone of the Democratic base this time around, too. So where was the five-minute or ten-minute salute to history? Where was the celebration of women voters and women candidates and women Democrats? It was conspicuous in its absence. Maybe they're holding this off for tonight, to celebrate Kamala Harris, but if so it'll really be a day late. As I said, a real missed opportunity.

What the convention did do very well last night was to prove that a virtual convention can in some ways actually be better than a big party inside an arena. The initial keynote speech ("a different kind of keynote") was impressive, and gave plenty of upcoming young Democratic politicians a platform. Normally, such people are rewarded with being state delegates, which means they are largely lost in the crowd. But they all had interesting stories to tell about how they personally decided to get involved with politics, and why. This was capped by Stacey Abrams getting the final speaking slot, which showed why she was seriously considered to be Joe Biden's running mate. She's an excellent speaker and very passionate about her beliefs, and I found myself wishing she had a bigger speaking slot than she got. But all around, the opening was unusual and unprecedented, and showed that even given the new technological framework constraints, sometimes such experimentation works great.

This was even more notable in the roll call segment of the program. Normally this is the time when you go grab a sandwich, since normally this is incredibly dull to watch. Each state is given a little mini-speech where they try to outdo each other in home-state boosterism. "Our state is the greatest in the Union because of X," state after state proclaims. Funny outfits are often worn, just to provide better television, but mostly it just falls flat.

Usually, this roster is cut short somewhere in the middle, leaving all states after the letters "M" or sometimes "N" out in the cold. The normal procedure is that the tally begins with the first state, the nominee's home state passes, and then when the total number of delegates for the winning candidate approaches the magic number which will put him or her over the top, the next state in line will defer to the candidate's home state -- who then proudly secures the nomination for their candidate. Everyone cheers, and the convention moves on.

Now this is not to say there aren't occasionally moving moments during the roll call. The absolute best convention drama I have ever witnessed, in fact, was one such standout moment. In 2008, the state of Illinois was Barack Obama's home state. They passed when called, as usual. But then when the traditional "put him over the top" moment arrived and the next state in line deferred to Illinois, Illinois actually surprised everyone by deferring to New York. In a surprise move, the head of the New York delegation stood up and announced that he himself was deferring his announcement, to a fellow member of the New York delegation. And then Hillary Clinton appeared and cast the deciding votes for Barack Obama, which was the most moving "bury the hatchet" moment I have ever seen in politics. The crowd went wild. It still sends a little shiver up my spine even writing about it years later, in fact. It really was that good.

This year will also be remembered in roll call history. Instead of one state delegation after another merely standing up beside a vertical sign with their state's name on it, they got to choose the setting for their own short video presentation. With 57 states and territories, we got 57 different ideas as to how best to show their state off. This ranged from the bizarre and inexplicable (Pete Buttigieg speaking in front of... um... an abandoned shopping mall?... a medical experimentation lab from a science fiction film? I have no idea.) to the folksy (farmland or local landmarks) to traditional state boosterism (Rhode Island appearing with a plate of deep-fried calamari, or Michigan appearing in front of some Detroit cars) to grim reminders (Matthew Shepard's parents in Wyoming) to the downright endearing (the woman from North Carolina was best in this category). Instead of breaking off when Biden went over the top, each state and territory got their chance and they ended with Delaware, which visually provided a joke only French-speakers would truly laugh at: C'est la vie, c'est la gare ("That's life, that's a train station").

Multilingual kidding aside, the entire roll call segment was so superior to what normally happens that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this is the way all future conventions handle it. We got to see one slice -- representative or not -- of every single state and United States territory. That's beyond inclusive, it was a great little travelogue, and it was far more interesting than I initially thought it was going to be. Well done! So far, this has been the breakout moment of the viral convention format.

 

The speakers

I must admit that I didn't take as many notes last night as I should have, so my reactions to the individual speakers are going to be somewhat truncated.

The emcee was, once again, someone I didn't recognize (which says more about me than her, most likely), but she seemed to do a presentable job.

Sally Yates led the evening's speaker roster off, after the aforementioned "different kind of keynote" and a short Joe Biden cameo clip. Yates was one of those holdover officeholders that served under Obama but who was unceremoniously shown the door days after Trump took office because she refused to back Trump's Muslim ban. Yates tore into Trump for "weaponizing" the Department of Justice, and for essentially not understanding how government works at all.

We then had a few people speak on the importance of leadership (in keeping with the "Leadership Matters" theme of the night), capped with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who appeared live with the Statue of Liberty off in the background. He ripped into Trump with fervor, including taunting Trump for "hiding in a bunker" from the White House protesters. Schumer then went into a riff on Trump's notorious "it is what it is," stating that no past president ever would have been so callous. This ended with a rather powerful line: "America, Donald Trump has quit on you." Schumer also got in a line which I've been dearly wanting to hear: "our long national nightmare will soon be over."

You could tell Schumer was live because he (like Jim Clyburn the night before) got cued to start speaking twice. Also, because he kept rather awkwardly giving fist-pumps for no apparent reason.

For some reason, we then got a few Kennedys speaking. 'Nuff said.

A better blast from the past came next, as both Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn spoke over a video reel of Carter and Biden from back in the 1970s. Jimmy Carter is the oldest ex-president ever in American history, and he will also be remembered fondly as perhaps the most respected for his post-presidential work ever as well.

Continuing the "ex-presidents" theme, we next got to hear from Bubba himself, William Jefferson Clinton. Now, there have been complaints about putting him on the program (he's not exactly seen as relevant in the "#MeToo" era, to say the least), but he seems to be setting his own kind of presidential record. Bill Clinton has now spoken at the last eleven Democratic National Conventions -- a string stretching back to 1980, when he was governor of Arkansas. That's a pretty impressive streak, you've got to admit.

Clinton also reminded everyone of just how good a speaker he is. He didn't get to be president for nothing, in other words. Although seriously abbreviated from his last few convention speeches, he packed a whole lot of wallop into the time he was given. Clinton did the best takedown yet of Trump's coronavirus response, even pointing out his egotistical "signature on a check to fool you into thinking it came from him." Nice touch.

Then we moved on to the actual business of the convention -- the nomination of Joe Biden. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez (a man, it should be noted) led this off with a riff on the 19th Amendment's 100th anniversary, after which he formally asked for the nominations. Only two out of the 27 Democrats who ran made it this far: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Each candidate had one person nominate them and one person second the nomination. This is where A.O.C. got her sixty seconds, which she used for precisely the intended purpose: to praise Bernie Sanders and his influence on the Democratic Party.

The roll call followed, which I've already commented on. Joe Biden appeared at the end of this with his grandchildren in the background (one of which amusingly had a "No Malarkey" shirt on) with a few dime-store balloons and a confetti popper. This was (obviously) not exactly the standard convention balloon drop, but it was pretty endearing. You have to make do with the technological constraints given, and this seemed to fit the bill.

This was followed by a strong reminder to everyone about the history of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Joe Biden was indeed instrumental in pushing Barack Obama to see this effort through to the end (while some of Obama's advisors were telling him to just throw in the towel on the whole thing), so Biden deserves a lot of credit for making it happen. Biden then talked to some people via the "circle of screens" who all would now be dead if it weren't for Obamacare. This was both powerful and moving, considering that Donald Trump has been trying every way possible to kill Obamacare (and replace it with absolutely nothing) for his entire time in office.

The theme then shifted to foreign policy, led off by John Kerry. I have to admit that I had forgotten how good a speaker Kerry is, too. He very soberly ripped into Trump for his "blooper reel" overseas trips and his complete and stunning ignorance of foreign policy in general. He hit one point that Democrats really should stress often, which is that Trump "did nothing" when informed that Vladimir Putin had placed bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan. "Our troops can't hide in the White House bunker" Kerry strongly stated, continuing the taunting of Trump and his massive ego.

This was followed by a video of foreign policy heavyweights both Democratic and Republican, who ran down a few other of Trump's foreign policy shortcomings, including a "dereliction of duty" in abandoning the Kurds in Syria. Colin Powell spoke afterwards, continuing this theme. This video and Powell's speech were excellent all around.

Cindy McCain then provided a voice-over speech of a video of her late husband John highlighting the close friendship between them and the Biden family. John McCain and Joe Biden shared a long history even before McCain made it to the Senate, and they forged a lasting across-the-aisle friendship.

This led in to the final speech of the night, from Dr. Jill Biden. This was kind of low-key, energy-wise (even with backing music from the Beatles), but it did more to humanize Joe than anything we've yet seen at the convention. She told her history with Joe, how they met, how they married, and what their life has been like ever since. She came across as very authentic, which is entirely understandable since she's not a politician herself. Her stories of being a teacher -- speaking in an empty classroom, wistfully remembering pre-pandemic times -- was a very moving and very relatable touch. The only odd moment during her speech was a non-sequitur story about her dealing with a neighborhood bully ("I punched him right in the face") which didn't really seem in fitting with the rest of her speech, at least to me.

But all around Dr. Biden's speech did exactly what it needed to -- show the country what a decent, hardworking, and faithful man her husband is. She highlighted Joe Biden's strength of character and essential goodness in a way that no other person could, and she did it extremely well. It was a great end to the second night of the Democratic National Convention, in fact.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

43 Comments on “Democratic Convention Day Two: Leadership Matters”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The mainstream media misses a lot, in the understatement of the millennium.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    For some reason, we then got a few Kennedys speaking. 'Nuff said.

    Not sure what that means. Biden and the Kennedys go way back. I think that's why they were there. I enjoyed it.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    To get back to the main point -- why was A.O.C. essentially put in a corner for this convention?

    She is a newbie, plain and simple, and she doesn't seem to be able to generate much respect for Senator Biden. Those are two pretty good reasons in my book of reasons.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This has led to a larger charge, that the Democrats are not working hard enough to enthuse younger voters this time around.

    I have a question. Why do Democrats have to work so hard to enthuse younger voters. What on God's green earth is the matter with younger voters? Do they not have a clue!?

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    When did paying your dues go out of fashion?

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Now, I have no idea how much say Biden has in the actual scheduling -- I have no idea whether he's the one making such decisions or whether others are doing so. But you've got to remember that he is the nominee, so he can largely have whatever kind of convention he wants.

    I would hazard a guess that there is very little in the scheduling or anything else about this convention that Biden hasn't set in motion or approved.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I really enjoyed the roll call. Maybe a new tradition has begun ...

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I love President Obama!

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just as much as I love Senator Biden! :)

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Barack Obama went from being someone who barely tolerated a merely verbose Biden to someone who truly valued Biden's loyalty and friendship and partnership. President Obama is one of the relatively few Americans who understands the essential Joe Biden.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kamala nailed it! I think this ticket is the best ticket in the history of American presidential tickets. Of course, I'm a bit biased but, still ... I couldn't be happier than a pig in mud if the city of Kitchener, Ontario could convince the Rolling Stones to come for a visit along with their UNZIPPED exhibition.

    What I can't understand is why this election is so close ... oh, wait. Trump isn't America's biggest problem ...

  12. [12] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    WOW! BHO Unchained.

    IMHO his best oration EVER! or perhaps it has been the last three plus years of having to listen to a person who acts like a coke fiend with a bad set of dentures speaking. Really, though, I prefer the former over the later.

    While I think Kamala did a great job, I almost felt sorry for her having the follow on after the Obama speech, she did a great job of not coming out of the "chute" hot.

    Now, everyone go pop some popcorn and get ready to watch, little fucker carlson and his brother hammity have an a spasm of white grievance and fear.

  13. [13] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Oh, moose poop...I really should have previewed.

    Sorry folks, that pesky f key is right next to the t key and the same goes for the m key being right next to the n key.

    Any names that may have been called are purely accidental.

    Sorry for the grammar errors as well....

    Maybe....

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kamala gave a wonderful speech, irrespective of the speech she followed.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No reason, whatsoever, to feel sorry for her, in other words.

  16. [16] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Never underestimate the inclusiveness of reaching out to even the "punch him in the face" constituency. Kumbaya, and stuff.

  17. [17] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    EM- 14

    You should have noticed that I said ALMOST.

    Kamala gave a great speech, however, her moment will be overshadowed by the content of Obama's speech in the media. Just scan through the big media sites and you will see the big lede is Obama.

    She also was not helped by whoever made the decision to put her on what ever the hell that monstrosity of a set was ( I can only assume it is intended for tomorrow with some sort of gimmicky thing).

    Given the sharp shift in tone and intensity, combined with the content of her speech I think she would have been much better served delivering from a smaller more intimate setting, like say, the Wilmington University Law Library and having the same ending moment with the Biden's and her husband in that setting.

    I think that that small change would have given more weight and media space for HER moment. It's a shame the production team didn't make that leap.

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    "So it's understandable why Biden would concentrate more on the people who got him the nomination..."

    Not just the nomination during the convention but also getting him elected if he wins.

    And the people Biden will concentrate on if he is elected will be the big money interests that finance his campaigns.

    Not a very good and decent person after all when you consider all the people that have died, are dying now and will die from covid and even more from other reasons that can be attributed to the Deathocrats selling out to the big money interests.

    But of course now is not the time for considering any of that as it doesn't fit into the unity propaganda narrative.

    Perhaps I should start using different initials to address comments to you.

    Maybe CWP for Chris Weigant Propagandist. Or maybe CWF for the farce is strong with this one.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    gt,

    Almost doesn't pull you off the hook. It was a good speech, I would say even better than Obama's. She kept smiling with her eyes. She and Biden are going to be a phenomenal team!

    Her moment did quite nicely, thank-you very much, your quaint assessments aside. :)

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    gt,

    Most Americans don't pay much attention to the media that you seem to rely on. Most Americans are quite right to dismiss the media with regard to how they assess Kamala's great speech, among many other things.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    gt,

    The only thing about her speech that I didn't really like to see was what happened immediately after it. When Biden came out and kept his physical distance. I mean the moment was crying out for a hug. And, if Biden and Harris don't share a COVID bubble, along with their spouses, then they really should.

    Although, I can imagine the outcry if that were to happen. Sometimes the masking and physical distancing is taken to the extremes. And, as I sit here in a country that has the virus under control, more or less, I see an America where the Democratic nominee for president and his pick for running mate can't embrace because y'all are in such a preventable pickle. :(

  22. [22] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-18

    Careful Icarus.

  23. [23] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    POSSIBLE EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION:

    As I write this, something like a third to half of my county is on fire. We had a lightning storm a few days back -- an incredibly rare event in California -- and it sparked off several wildfires, which have been burning and growing ever since. The fire is "zero percent contained" at the moment.

    We are personally in a very safe zone, so we are in no danger at all (as of now). The fire is at least 10 miles away from us, and it would have to burn its way through an entire large town/small city before it got to us in any way. So while I have friends who have already evacuated (and possibly have already lost their homes), we are not in such danger yet, and most likely will not be at all.

    However, I cannot guarantee that my ISP -- a local small business -- will not be affected in the next 48-72 hours. Or the wires they use to connect to the rest of the world, for that matter. So there is a chance that this site could suddenly go dark at any moment.

    This is just to warn everyone of the possibility.

    I will update the situation as it changes, but just wanted to give everyone a heads-up.

    Stay safe everyone, and thank your local firefighters for the hard work they do.

    -CW

  24. [24] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Fingers crossed for you, Chris.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Take good care, Chris! Best wishes for your safety and the safety of all the firefighters!

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks for the warning, Chris! And, don't take anything for granted - you know how unpredictable fires can be!!! Stay very, very, very safe!

  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    TS (22)-
    For what?

    As far as I know everyone here is allowed to post their opinions on Trump, Biden, CW or any public figure.

  28. [28] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    This is why I get Cafifornia, they're atheist and consider the flames as nothing more than act of nature.

    Remain safe, CW...

    Steve Bannon... lol

    You can't make this shit up... What brilliant timing is this?

    New term... "Inferior Wall"

    LL&P

  29. [29] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-27

    Think back to June 10th 2020: dissolve and harp music

    [TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!]

    I am, for the first time ever, flashing a yellow card.

    To Don Harris -

    You have now been yellow-carded.

    For the next week (approximately, we'll see how it goes...), you have been frozen out of your account. All I've done (so far) is to change your password.

    This means all you have to do to log in is guess what password I've now assigned to you. Good luck with that.

    I sat down tonight to answer some comments, fully intending to go back over the last few weeks, but you know what? It only took one day's comments for me to tire once again of your endless stream of moosepoop.

    This site is not a public service which allows you to heap abuse upon me and your fellow commenters. It (like Twitter) is a private entity with its own rules. You have absolutely ignored them. You have also ignored all entreaties for you to change your ways, from me and from plenty of others, as Kick points out. So you are now in the penalty box for a week (or so).

    You have a clear choice to make, here. You have three paths to choose from.

    (1) You can change your ways and redefine yourself as a constructive voice here. If you do so, you'll be allowed back into the CW.com universe. After one week's penalty, of course. This means not trying to create other usernames or any other spamming techniques, and gracefully re-entering the conversation in a week's time, having seriously changed your ways.

    (2) You can accept that you are not welcome here, and go elsewhere. If you do this gracefully and exit the stage responsibly, then all your previous comments will remain intact on the site's archives, to boost your tilting-at-windmills political philosophy.

    (3) You can continue to be a pest. In this case -- for whatever reason I determine -- then I will simply DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT entirely. This means that EVERY SINGLE COMMENT you've EVER posted here will magically disappear from the archives.

    Call option (3) the "red card," if you will.

    It's up to you, dude. You have been warned more times than I (or Kick, for that matter) can count. You have ignored these warnings. So you are now paying the price. Deal with it and change your ways, and you'll be welcomed back. Continue down the path you've blazed, and you will be completely erased from the memory of this site.

    That is your choice.

    You'll get an email from me in a week's time with a new password you will be able to use to log in again. And from then on you'll still be on VERY thin ice.

    Doing this brings me no pleasure, I should point out. As I have said, this site is now 14 years old and you are THE FIRST commenter who has ever warranted this penalty, which I have been resisting for longer than I can now even remember. But I think everyone else here can fully agree, you have more than deserved it.

    -CW

  30. [30] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Stay safe, Chris!

    -R

  31. [31] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [29] -

    Dammit, do I have to deal with some unruly comments right now?

    Grrr... I'll try to get to things later. Somewhat preoccupied today (see above)...

    -CW

  32. [32] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: To get back to the main point -- why was A.O.C. essentially put in a corner for this convention?

    Why were the three other members of "the Squad" put in the corner? It's not like all four of them have spent less than 2 years in Congress, is it? I mean, they weren't all just sworn into Congress last year, were they? Oh, were they?

    Let's remember that this convention is unconventional. The networks had already announced that time would be limited. As such, everything has to fit into an unheard of window as conventions go. Seventeen Democrats delivered the keynote address, all of them under the age of 50. I think the Party is doing its level best with the time it's been given.

    But last night it became even more obvious that the establishment Democrats really didn't want her to speak at all...

    If Bernie Sanders had won the nomination, the DNC would still be putting on a similar limited show, but I would wager that Bernie would have had more say in what he wanted included and would likely have given AOC maybe a 5 or 10-minute window. I wonder if the "establishment Democrats" would have spent a lot of time whining about the far lefty "Socialists Democrats" who didn't give the "establishment wing" much time at all? How much time do you think they'd have given Kamala Harris? Probably none or maybe 1 minute.

    The "establishment Democrats" gave a 2-term former President of the United States 4 minutes and 50 seconds. How much time do you think the Democratic Socialists would have given Bill Clinton? How much time would the Democratic Socialists have given Barack Obama? Or any of the quote "establishment Democrats"? About 5 minutes? Maybe zero. If roles were reversed during that awesome state roll call, how much time would Joe Biden be given if Bernie had won? I'm guessing maybe 5 minutes.

    Last question: How ridiculous would the "establishment Democrats" sound for whining that their former Presidents and Vice Presidents were given between zero and a few minutes' time when "black Americans" and centrists and seniors who are reliable voters for the Democratic Party weren't given enough time by the "Socialist Democrats"?

    We're likely going to find out in the future. When the time arrives that the "establishment Democrats" are whining about their allotted convention minutes by the "Socialist Democrats," I cannot wait to find out if you think that the up-and-coming first-term Democratic congressperson that is so exciting to the young centrists should have been given more than a minute to talk when a former 2-term President of the United States was also given less than 5 minutes. I'll definitely be staying tuned for that. :)

  33. [33] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: But even having said all of that, each convention is a compromise between lots and lots of Democratic factions. And each convention is also a reflection of the nominee. Joe Biden is an old White guy who learned politics back when Black voters were pretty much the only minority the major parties even paid any attention to at all.

    Yep. Absolutely... 100%. I wish there was more time for a whole bunch of them, and that includes AOC and Julian Castro. So this 2020 convention is going to one for the ages. I'd say under the circumstances, it could have been a whole lot worse.

    I think the pandemic has changed America forever in ways we're beginning to realize as time goes on. I think it's also done the same thing for political conventions. I expect when things get back to "normal," (whatever constitutes "normal"), we're going to find that the Party conventions have been changed forever also, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the way we vote has been forever altered by 2020.

    They say "hindsight is 20/20," and in the future they'll look back on 2020 with 20/20 hindsight as one for the ages. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We are living history. :)

  34. [34] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    1-10

    This... these! All of them.

    I'm just saying that I see we are "on the same page"... literally hovering around the same sentence on the same page.

    74 DAYS * 07 HOURS * 14 MINUTES

    But only a few weeks until we light this "voting season" candle! :)

  35. [35] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW (31)-
    No, you don't have to deal with unruly comments in this thread.

    When the time comes that you can deal with things, you may have to deal with some good old fashioned American criticism, but that is all.

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:

    goode trickle
    12|13

    IMHO his best oration EVER!

    I agree. Long time in coming too.

    While I think Kamala did a great job, I almost felt sorry for her having the follow on after the Obama speech, she did a great job of not coming out of the "chute" hot.

    Obama was scheduled to speak last, but he wanted it to be Kamala's night and to give her the final speaking slot and pass the torch. I think Vice-President Biden himself should be given credit for his bridge building toward the future.

    Now, everyone go pop some popcorn and get ready to watch, little fucker carlson and his brother hammity have an a spasm of white grievance and fear.

    Heh. So true.

    Sorry folks, that pesky f key is right next to the t key and the same goes for the m key being right next to the n key.

    Well, I just repeated it, and I apologize for that slip too. Probably. Nope... not even a scintilla. :)

  37. [37] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-31

    I hope your assessment of "safe as of now" still applies. Troll suppression can wait.

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    18

    Not a very good and decent person after all when you consider all the people that have died, are dying now and will die from covid and even more from other reasons that can be attributed to the Deathocrats selling out to the big money interests.

    I blame Don Harris and his rank inability to sell his idea. Don Harris has had years and years to do so and has thus far failed miserably in that quest. If Don was a "good and decent person," he obviously would have saved America already and it would have been renamed "Utopia" by now. Perhaps if Don Harris had pursued higher education, we wouldn't now be sitting in this quagmire where politicians are allowed to accept 201 or more dollars which immediately renders them automatically indecent people by the standards of Don Harris.

    Shame on you, Death Harris!

    So to recap: Don Harris logic being applied directly to Don Harris. You're welcome. :)

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    TheStig
    22

    Careful Icarus.

    Heh. Now ain't that the gods' truth!? Daedalus warned him how to use his clever invention, did he not? :)

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    Chris Weigant
    23

    I'm so sorry about your friends. Please don't give a second thought to the small stuff, and keep yourself and friends and family safe first and foremost.

    Sending you all our best wishes as always. :)

  41. [41] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Don't pat any burning dogs.

    Donny Dingleberry just pissed off millions of teachers by declaring them, essential workers...

    Bob love him.

    LL&P

  42. [42] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    35

    When the time comes that you can deal with things, you may have to deal with some good old fashioned American criticism, but that is all.

    Oh, I don't think so, Don. CW has proven unequivocally and beyond doubt that you are infinitely easy for him to ignore... and rightly and impressively so. I wish I possessed CW's talent in that department, but alas I display Don Harris level ability regarding the "ignoring of trolls" issues. I also suck at my inability not to corrupt politicians since I've given way too many of them 201+ dollars. I just can't help myself.

    I used to be Snow White, but I drifted. ~ Mae West

  43. [43] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Kick -39

    You know your myths. "Careful Icaras" (said in a posh British accent) became a catchphrase on the Late Late Show during the Craig Fergusson era. I know CW is a fan, and I figured he could use a laugh.

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