First, the Republicans put on their show. As much as many of us might wish that the GOP convention delivered the sort of thrills normally reserved for Chris Matthews’ lower extremities, it was a fairly standard affair. Indeed, the lone truly exciting moment was Clint Eastwood’s delivery of a speech directed partially at an empty chair that was far more interesting than the man in whose stead it stood.
Then last week, the Democrats hit the stage in Charlotte, N.C., with a much smaller, weirder and somewhat less predictable party. My favorite part of their freak show has to be former Michigan Governor and current media minor league commentator Jennifer Granholm shrieking at an audience about one-fourth of its expected size about — well — something. I must admit, beyond pretending Barack Obama’s fiscally disastrous handover of General Motors Co. to the union thugs isn’t an 11-figure (and counting) disaster, I’m not sure what put wrinkles in Granholm’s pantsuit. But give her credit: She sports some pair of lungs.
Later on, Obama closed the program with a number that should have been a showstopper but fell flatter than a high-school production of a Broadway musical. Following former President and eternal national disgrace Bill Clinton’s predictable-but-personable attack on the Republicans, Obama gave what might have been the most boring recitation of left-wing talking points since the invention of the teleprompter. I almost felt bad for Obama. He’s never been the most electrifying orator, but following Bubba was miles beyond his meager talent. And the blogosphere — from Facebook to Twitter and all points in between — responded with liberal lamentations over the fact that Clinton can’t run for President again.
As I pondered the Democrats’ miscalculation in allowing Clinton to take center stage in the midst of a convention that spiraled out of control before it even began, it suddenly hit me: Former President Clinton wasn’t warming up the crowd for Obama; he was warming up the crowd for future President Clinton. Most of the Democrats have yet to realize it, but Clinton’s lone bright spot during a gathering marred by rhetoric, hate and outright lies (which might as well have been recorded earlier in front of a live Moveon.org audience) was no warm-up for the re-coronation of Obama. It was the opening salvo for Hillary 2016.
Think about it. The other noteworthy moments at DNC 2012 included: bad speeches, poor attendance, a monotonous focus on liberal hatred of Republicans in general and even a charming moment in which the majority of the national leadership of the Democratic Party actually booed the Almighty. And in the middle of it all, the Secretary of State stayed 10,000 miles away from the maelstrom while her husband reminded everyone that, stripped of his unearned personality cult, Obama is almost as inspiring as 1988 Presidential loser Michael Dukakis. Dukakis gets the edge because he looks better in a helmet.
Following the Democratic convention, Obama picked up in the polls somewhere between an abysmal 1 and meager 4 points on challenger Mitt Romney. And that includes the polls that are currently being targeted by David Axelrod and Attorney General Eric Holder’s storm troopers for daring to suggest Obama is headed “Forward.” off a cliff. What’s worse, Obama’s post-convention bump — likely his best moment until November — didn’t make it back to the magic 50 percent mark. And his personal approval is headed south toward the dreaded 40th percentile. Meanwhile, he’s saddled with a running mate who makes Al Gore look like John Adams. And Bill Clinton — whose personal approval ratings among the Democrat faithful hover somewhere between love and outright idolatry — stole his thunder and handed it to the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock, Ark.-Chicago-Chappaqua, N.Y.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich noted Bubba’s speech to the faithful was “eerily anti-Obama.” He elaborated: “You have a real president and then you have this guy who’s a pretender.” While I might take issue with Gingrich’s implicit endorsement of Clinton, I can’t argue with his characterization of Obama. The problem is: neither can the Democrats.