Props to Bernie Sanders last night for expending zillions of gallons of water to hose down his disruptive convention diehards. It was high time that he schooled them in reality. He should’ve done it long ago, of course, but better late than never. At least he didn’t go rogue and cop a Cruz.
Early in the day he had been booed by the bitter-enders. They had jeered when he said, “Brothers and sisters, this is the real world we live in,” and when he said, “Real politics is not necessarily sexy.” I can’t totally blame them for that, because it was Bernie who had long stoked their fantasies — tantalizing them with dreams of a nomination victory months after it was obvious that the quest was over; feeding their animosity toward Hillary Clinton by denouncing her as unqualified five times in a single speech; griping about a “rigged” system even though he was waxed in virtually every major, racially diverse primary.
Hearing those boos, I was reminded of the famous line, albeit paraphrased, from Hosea 8:7 in the King James Bible: He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.
But, to his credit last night, he did his best to tame it. And he got major help before he ever reached the podium. Actress and comedienne Sarah Silverman, a Bernie fan who has moved to Hillary, admonished the most obnoxious people in the hall with an ad lib: “You’re being ridiculous.” Michelle Obama silenced them with a stirring pitch for Hillary — nobody is going to boo the First Lady — thus demonstrating, not for the first time, her gold-standard rhetorical talents, and giving Melania Trump new material for next time. And Elizabeth Warren braved a few lame taunts (“We trusted you!”) to draw the obvious contrasts between Hillary and Donald.
Then came Bernie: “We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger — not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans, and veterans — and divides us up. By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”
This ain’t brain surgery, Bros: “Her Supreme Court appointments will also defend a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the government’s ability to protect the environment. If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights, and the future of our country.”
It was a very issue-oriented speech — contrasting Clinton and Trump on health care, climate change, education, jobs, infrastructure, minimum wage, campaign money, and much more (though barely a word about foreign policy) — and that made sense. He always cared more about issues than his sudden status as a folk hero (even though his ego kept him in the race too long). And his singular focus on issues last night was rhetorically clever. It allowed him to say nary a word of praise about Clinton as a person.
The words character and integrity are nowhere in the text. Fine. Like he’d said earlier in the day, real politics isn’t necessarily sexy. You don’t get everything you want. You compromise for the greater good.
You conclude that the greater good is served by “a Hillary Clinton presidency — and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.” You conclude, “I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great First Lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a First Lady was supposed to play …. Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.”
Not all Bernie backers will fall in line. By definition, the delegates in the hall are probably the most fervent of all. As the convention adjourned last night, the cable networks easily found a few who, even now, remain stupefyingly oblivious to the clear and present danger of Trump-Putin. But I suspect that these bitter-enders will be a small minority in November.
It’s important to remember that if the so-called “liberal media” has a bias, it’s a bias for conflict. As I’ve previously written, the cable networks in 2008 awarded disproportionate publicity to the angry pro-Hillary PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass), who supposedly were gonna sit out the Obama election in November. But by cherry-picking a few PUMAs, the nets created the false impression that Clinton’s female votes were going to desert the Democrats en masse.
But in the end, when confronted with the prospect of John McCain and his content-free sidekick, they too realized — as Bernie signaled yesterday — that a partial loaf beats going hungry. And that the art of politics is not necessarily sexy.
Speaking of Trump-Putin, nothing is more pathetic than a simpering fanboy.
A Trump tweet from 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”