Just this one more night, and we’re done! Live-Tweeting Hillary

night 4 crowd

Boy, I could have done with having this convention some other week, when I’m not trying to have vacation. But them’s the breaks.

Here’s hoping I like Hillary Clinton’s speech better than I did this one back in 2008.

First step, please don’t say you’re going to “fight” for me. I hate that.

Another thing I hope she doesn’t do is talk like this is all a Democrats-vs.-Republicans thing, partisan business as usual. She knows better. The picture she must paint is one that reflects the reality that we’re facing: A choice between her, a fairly conventional center-left politician with very good credentials. (Not “the best ever,” as some would have it — she can’t beat a G.H.W. Bush or an Eisenhower — but very, very good.)

No, she has to reach out to independents like me, because she needs every one of us. She needs to reach out to all those Republicans out there who are deeply disturbed at what has seized their party’s nomination, and unfortunately have a problem with voting for her — a sort of Hillary Derangement Syndrome.

That takes some mighty reaching — stretching that might challenge Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man. But she needs to do it. The country needs her to do it.

As David Brooks said a moment ago, her party has done a decent job seizing the ground that the GOP abandoned last week — the role of the patriotic party, the Morning in America party, even in a sense the culturally conservative party, in terms of embracing traditional American values.

She needs to close the deal. We’ll see.

If the internet keeps working — it’s been on and off today where I am — you’ll see my Tweets more or less in real time below, in the comments. If you just can’t wait a few seconds for them to show up here, here’s my Twitter feed

68 thoughts on “Just this one more night, and we’re done! Live-Tweeting Hillary

    1. Phillip

      Incidentally, where did this trope emerge suddenly that Eisenhower’s credentials, his resume pre-Presidency, was so vast and stellar? I’ve seen that flying around the internet lately and it puzzles me. Yes, a great leader, but entirely within the military sphere. It worked out OK with him as it turned out, but we’ve had other Presidents whose only leadership experience was military, and they were not so hot (Grant).

      I do agree Hillary is NOT most qualified ever, though. My vote for that goes to Buchanan, but then he was pretty helpless in watching the nation slide into civil war.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Phillip, Ike was never a combat leader — he didn’t distinguish himself in the field, like Grant. He was an administrator who ran probably the largest and most complex, multifaceted governmental enterprise our nation had undertaken. Further, and most of all, he was an extremely able diplomat, who had adroitly handled Patton, Montgomery, Churchill, DeGaulle, and millions of other extraordinarily difficult people and issues under the toughest of conditions.

        His geopolitical experience, confined though it was to Europe, was a lot more intense and consequential than that encountered by most Secretaries of State. And most of the decisions were his alone.

        Don’t do like so many of my post-Vietnam liberal friends and dismiss the man because he worn our nation’s uniform. Look at what he DID, and how well he did it.

        1. Phillip

          I didn’t “dismiss” Eisenhower’s many qualifications. I just find it odd that I’ve seen this internet meme going around disputing the “Hillary the most qualified ever” statement by citing Eisenhower, of all people. I agree that Hillary’s resume is not the most impressive ever, but I could name at least ten Presidents who would have been better examples than Eisenhower with which to make that argument.

          Incidentally, while I acknowledge all the things you cite that Ike had to handle, it is worth remembering that in terms of “diplomacy” and “difficult people”, Patton, Montgomery, DeGaulle, Churchill were all on OUR side. Also, because “most of the decisions were his alone,” that in itself tells you how different his job was from the one he held as President, where there is a limit on what the executive branch can decide unilaterally.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You have a point there, Phillip. In terms of raw, unchecked power, merely being president of the United States might in some ways have been a letdown after being Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            And Phillip, you’re right that the difficult characters I named were all on our side. But I could add that Ike also “handled” Hitler and the Nazis — just a bit more roughly…

          3. Bryan Caskey

            If we’re just talking about “qualifications” and not actual performance in office, I think you could argue that anyone who is a military veteran is more qualified to be Commander in Chief than someone who isn’t.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              If you say “all other things” being equal, I’d agree. But I wouldn’t say that, say, a draftee who served a hitch in peacetime, stayed stateside and never rose above private is better qualified than a former secretary of state who never served in uniform…

              1. Bryan Caskey

                Granted, being a veteran is not a trump card. However, as POTUS has a very free hand in military matters when compared to domestic policy, I give military service greater weight than others when looking at all the factors.

            2. Doug Ross

              Like George Bush and Dick Cheney? An Air Force “hero” who protected Arkansas from invasion in between drinks and a draft dodger? Or do you mean a combat veteran like John Kerry? Seems like the narrative depends on which side you’re on. I was more afraid of John McCain and his inability to think beyond war as the answer to every question…

              1. Bryan Caskey

                Cheney’s not a vet, is he? I didn’t think he was, but I could be wrong on that. However, I am fairly certain that he wasn’t POTUS, so why are you bringing him up, anyway?

                Oh, and war isn’t the answer to every question. It’s just an answer to some of them. 🙂

                1. Doug Ross

                  You don’t think Cheney was the brains behind Bush? He was the de facto Commander in Chief. He always had better things to do than actually put his own life on the line.

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Don’t you love the way you’re getting double pictures of me when I embed a Tweet from me in a comment from me?

    Reminds me of the reprint of the “Power Failure” series we did back in 1992. It didn’t occur to me that there was a picture of me on every page for the first half of the reprint until it rolled off the press (they were reproductions of the installments as we had run them in the paper, and originally, I had had a mini-column on the front page of each installment).

    Bud Ferillo gave me a pretty hard time about that. He said the paper should have run a contest: Accurately count the “Braddies” and win a prize!

    1. Pat

      All of a sudden, we’ve started hearing about denying birth control for women. Perhaps we (I) need more education on what’s wrong with birth control.

        1. Pat

          @Bryan Caskey “from whom”: To be exact, denying funds via insurance for birth control. The ACA can’t require businesses to include birth control with their company insurance. Now I’ll have to admit, I’m not totally sure insurance needs to cover every little office visit or prescription, but birth control options can really vary in costs.
          So, the point in making this comment was that in discussing women’s health care decisions, it’s possible she was considering more than abortions.

  2. bud

    I haven’t seen Hillary’s speech yet so I’ll wait to comment on that. But I did watch a good bit of the preliminary stuff. Way too much war mongering. This is what scares me about Hillary. She seems hell bent on continuing these perpetual, counterproductive wars that we’ve become so accustomed to. I’m afraid she may have lost a good chunk of the Bernie voters because of this. Hopefully they’ll vote for Johnson instead of Trump. But I dunno, Trump’s making some sensible comments about getting out of NATO. Could spell trouble.

    This election is absolutely NOT about winning undecided, centrist type voters. That’s an old paradigm that just doesn’t fly this time around. There just aren’t many undecided voters. No, what this is about is getting your own loyalists to the polls and not pissing people off that should be on your side. The war mongering rhetoric is a yuuuge mistake. Hopefully it won’t cost her the election.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The fact that she’s the closest thing the Dems have to a Scoop Jackson, or for that matter a neocon, is her greatest strength.

      And Bud (how many times must I explain this!), about 30-something percent of the electorate is Democratic, and about the same percentage is Republican. The rest of us decide elections, period.

      And it looks like we are particularly needed right now to save our country, when even dyed-in-the-wool liberals are saying Trump is “making some sensible comments about getting out of NATO.” What he is doing is babbling incoherently…

      1. bud

        Brad, take your strong-military-as-a-virtue hat off for a moment, put yourself inside the brain of a Bernie voter and look at this logically. When General Allen was on the podium with all the veterans behind him who did that impress? What audience was he trying to reach? Obviously the big military types right. These are people who supported Lindsey Graham or possibly Jeb Bush, a decidedly small group. Plus, most of those people have already decided who they are going to support. They are not swayable. You serve as a perfect example of that. Probably very few people are going to switch from Trump to Clinton based on that type of speech.

        On the other hand, there are plenty of Bernie voters and others who are still trying to come to terms with the choice of Clinton or Trump. Believe it or not these folks might just consider Trump or at least a third party candidate. Why? He offers something different from the status quo. But many of them are concerned with his bigotry and strong man persona. If they see Hillary as a sensible choice who will not repeat the horrible war-first mistakes of the Bush years then they will feel reasonably comfortable going into the voting booth and holding their nose and voting Hillary. But if they are repelled by what they see as more cozying up to the big banks, more disastrous trade deals and especially more military intervention then they will feel compelled to stay away from the Hillary lever. It is just a bridge too far for this type of voter.

        Most of these people, including me, will not ultimately vote Trump. The bigger risk is that many will turn to a third party candidate or just not vote. Remember Ralph Nader? Hopefully this election will not be that close but it could. Why risk alienating millions of Bernie voters with a bunch of militaristic grandstanding? I thought it was a bad idea. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

        1. Karen Pearson

          Bud, given Trump’s grandiose talk about wiping out ISIL (who, you may remember, are in foreign countries that probably don’t want our military there), his violence laced speech, and his apparent inability to control what he saying long enough to speak tactfully, do you really believe he is less likely to lead us into war??? Hillary’s statement about a man who can be baited with a tweet having no business controlling nuclear weapons wasn’t hyperbole. It was simple truth. I firmly believe that if Trump wins the white house we will be at war, either international war, civil war, or both.

          1. bud

            Karen, let me be clear. I will vote Hillary come November. But if the doves in the electorate perceive the risk of more counterproductive war equally likely regardless of who becomes POTUS their incentive to vote Hillary is reduced. I just don’t see an offsetting pickup of any voters. The semi rational Hawks like Brad are already on board with Hillary. The totally irrational hawks aren’t going to switch because of a general’s grand standing. It just wasn’t a good move strategically.

  3. Tex

    Well I commented once during the speech, apparently it didn’t pass Brad’s approval. Which is funny because I was likely the only person following his comments here on his blog.

  4. Doug Ross

    Didn’t watch all of it. Couldn’t stomach it after she started a laundry list of things she can never deliver nor pay for. She’s tricky too – she made it sound like she’d do something about student loans to make them disappear but then through in the word “refinance” at the end. And “free” college – how is she paying for that? and when something is free, how do you get people to value it and attract the best professors? Free college will be like the Medicaid of education.

    I’ve been following Scott Adams’ (Dilbert creator) take on the election and he has a half funny/half true take on the convention:

    “I’ve been watching the Democratic National Convention and wondering if this will be the first time in history that we see a candidate’s poll numbers plunge after a convention. On the surface, the convention is going great. Michelle Obama made a speech for the ages. Bill Clinton was his masterful self. Bernie gave a full-throated endorsement of Clinton. The whole affair has been a festival of inclusiveness. The media is eating it like cake. All good, right? That’s how it looks on the surface. And if you’re already a Clinton supporter, it probably looks great all the way down.

    But if you’re an undecided voter, and male, you’re seeing something different. You’re seeing a celebration that your role in society is permanently diminished. And it’s happening in an impressive venue that was, in all likelihood, designed and built mostly by men. Men get to watch it all at home, in homes designed and built mostly by men, thanks to the technology that was designed and built mostly by men. I mention that as context, not opinion. I agree with Michelle Obama’s gratitude about Clinton’s success so far, and how the country now “takes it for granted that a woman can be president.” That’s a big, big deal, and an accomplishment that you can never take away from Clinton, no matter how it all ends. I would argue – as did Michelle Obama – that Clinton already removed the glass ceiling. Now it’s just a question of who the voters prefer.

    And that brings us to a concept called “Selling past the close.” That’s a persuasion mistake. Clinton has already sold the country on the idea that a woman can be president. Sales experts will tell you that once the sale is made, you need to stop selling, because you have no chance of making things better, but you might give the buyer a reason to change her mind.

    Obama understood how to avoid selling past the close. At some point during Obama’s first presidential election campaign the country mentally agreed that an African-American could be their next president. So Obama accepted the sale and talked about other stuff. If he had dwelled on race, and his place in history, he would have risked making things worse. So he stayed quiet on race (mostly) and won. Twice.

    Clinton is taking a different approach. As Michelle Obama said, we now take for granted that a woman can be president. That sale is made. But Clinton keeps selling. And that’s an enormous persuasion mistake. I watched singer Alicia Keys perform her song Superwoman at the convention and experienced a sinking feeling. I’m fairly certain my testosterone levels dropped as I watched, and that’s not even a little bit of an exaggeration. Science says men’s testosterone levels rise when they experience victory, and drop when they experience the opposite. I watched Keys tell the world that women are the answer to our problems. True or not, men were probably not feeling successful and victorious during her act.

    Let me say this again, so you know I’m not kidding. Based on what I know about the human body, and the way our thoughts regulate our hormones, the Democratic National Convention is probably lowering testosterone levels all over the country. Literally, not figuratively. And since testosterone is a feel-good chemical for men, I think the Democratic convention is making men feel less happy. They might not know why they feel less happy, but they will start to associate the low feeling with whatever they are looking at when it happens, i.e. Clinton.

    On the 2D playing field – where policies and facts matter – the Democratic National Convention is doing great. And when it comes to exciting women, it might be the best ever. But on an emotional level – where hormones rule – men have left the building…that they built.”

    1. bud

      Any male that feels their manhood threatened by Hillarys uplifting, inclusive speech isn’t much of a man. It’s time to move forward rather than waller in a past that was never as good as its proponents claim it was.

      1. Phillip

        Agree with Bud, and gotta say Scott Adams’ take is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. Adams is 59 years old, so his testosterone drop ain’t happenin’ cause of Hillary, it’s just age, dude. If there’s any grain of truth in what he said, he should at least have modified the claim of his theory to “I think the Democratic convention is making middle-aged-and-older white men feel less happy….” That is the core of the Trump base.

  5. Assistant

    Talk show host Chris Plante (WMAL, Washington, DC: The work-free drug place!) asked listeners this morning (Friday) for the phrase that best captures their feelings now that both conventions have ended. So far the best two are:

    – We’re friggin’ doomed.
    – If this were a party, I’d leave.

    Plante’s show, 9:00 – Noon weekdays, is about the best conservative political show in the country.

  6. Concerned Carolinian

    Please don’t try to convince people of “facts” that are just plain wrong–that’s a Republican move at this point in partisan history. With all due respect, you need to bone up on your political science, in which the “myth of the independent voter” is a long-standing finding. Despite what you say in your July 29 comment (“how many times must I explain this?” — I say, “no more!”), very few voters are truly independent. See the useful summary below. If you need citations to actual research, I can provide them.

      1. Concerned Carolinian

        The “myth” is the misinformation you are spinning, that as you said above, “And Bud (how many times must I explain this!), about 30-something percent of the electorate is Democratic, and about the same percentage is Republican. The rest of us decide elections, period.” The idea that 40% of the electorate is “Independent” has no basis in fact. The fact of the matter, as the link I cited above demonstrates, is that most “independents” are closet partisans who vote in a much more partisan way than those who only weakly consider themselves Democrats or Republicans.

        One of the central problems facing our Republic at this point is the fact that both parties and much of the media traffic in misinformation. As a reporter, you have a responsibility to understand what it is you are reporting. Unfortunately, for most voters and many reporters, it’s easier to take a quick uninformed position or spin a truism rather than do the work that is required to be informed.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Talk about your misinformation…

          For one thing, I am not a “reporter.” I haven’t been since 1980. I spent two years as a reporter, from 1978 to 1980. The rest of my career has been as an editor. And since 1994, I haven’t written a word for publication in newspaper or blog that was not opinion.

          And as I state from time to time, this is an opinion blog, not a news reporting site — I lack the resources for that.

          Of course opinion, to be credible, has to be backed up by facts, and I’ll stack mine against anybody’s.

          I realize that it VERY IMPORTANT to partisans, and to the folks in the media who want to cover politics as a sport (with only two sides), to claim that EVERYBODY is partisan, so they can label anyone who disagrees with them on anything as a partisan of the opposite side. It’s ridiculous, given how complex the world is, but this ones-and-zeroes dichotomy is extremely important to them.

          And so we see these articles here and there headlined “The Myth of the Independent Voter.” This is based in the observable fact that even people who CLAIM to be independents have a tendency toward one party or another (all but the 12 percent hardcore among us).

          To which I say, “So what?” If an independent votes Democratic 75 percent of the time, but still has enough problems with the Democratic party that he refuses to identify with it, and each election honestly considers all options (but ends up settling for Democrats more often than he settles for Republicans), how is he not an independent?

          You do realize, don’t you, that in terms of viable candidates, all we are offered is Democrats and Republicans, right? The most independent voter in the world could well go his whole life without voting for a single candidate who is not one or the other. And again, so what if he votes somewhat more for one flavor than the other? That’s no reason to doubt his independence, or worse, his intellectual honesty.

          As someone who has spent his entire life being accused, in pretty much equal measure, of being either a Democrat or a Republican (by adherents in each case of the opposite party, of course), I have NO patience with those who are determined to wish people like me away. We’re here, and we’re… well, not queer at all, statistically speaking. There are loads of us. Oh, and that 12 percent of us who even the most determined “mythers” can’t shove into one camp or the other? That number is growing

          1. Concerned Carolinian

            Thanks for engaging meaningfully with this reply. And apologies for mislabeling you as a “reporter.” Given your history in the news business and experience as a reporter, perhaps you can see how this would be confusing to someone outside the business. That said, I am troubled by an industry in which opinion leaders, whether writing the news or spinning it, often play it fast and loose with topics about which they are not well informed. This only exacerbates that tendency among the public at large. Perhaps this is why you left that business.

            While we disagree about the leaners (I say behavior trumps how one wants to think about him/herself when it comes to voting, and it sounds like you would take the other position), I think it is safe to say that there is not a middle 40% of the electorate who call themselves Independents and decide elections. Turnout among strong partisans and quite possibly the behavior of the self-identified non-leaning Independents (as you say, “hardcore” independents like yourself, who make up about 10% of the electorate) is likely what turns elections. I’ll leave it at that.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And I’m glad we’re able to respectfully disagree. That’s a good thing for our republic. Yes, it all hinges on the importance that we place on self-identification. And in my case, I value it greatly because in my life so many people have called me a liar for embracing independence, and I know better.

              While my interpretation may be warped by personal experience, I think it has a certain “independent” validity. Even if a person votes Democratic 90 percent of the time, and Republican 10 percent of the time, I consider that person to be more “independent” by far that the sort of person who just pulls a party lever. A Democratic-leaning independent, but a person capable of independent thought nonetheless.

              My own “leanings” are almost completely 50-50. Of course, if it were perfectly 50-50, that would indicate artificiality. If you choose honestly and with a truly independent mind, without regard to party, you will ROUGHLY divide between the two.

              Take a look at this post, which was the last time I did a tally. It reflects every election during the time that I was on the editorial board of The State, mostly as the guy presiding over it, ending with my last election at the paper, 2008.

              You’ll see that while our endorsements (which closely tracked my own personal preferences) were mostly for Republicans in 2008, over the 1994-2008 period we endorsed SLIGHTLY more Democrats than Republicans.

              It was never intentional either way — each candidate was considered on his or her merits — but after years of being accused by each party of being a shill for the other, I went back and started keeping a running tally. My purpose in doing this was twofold — to see if we were as independent if I thought, and to check out the canard that our “endorsement was the kiss of death.”

              I found that our “won-loss” record in general elections hovered near .750. And over those seven elections, we endorsed Democrats 52.6 percent of the time…

              1. Concerned Carolinian

                Thanks, Brad. I do see where you’re coming from. And I’d take a .750 batting average to the bank on just about anything.

                What I was hoping to clarify is simply this: that when voters are asked to self-identify, very few do so as “pure” independents. Rather, while about 40% may say “independent” first (the data I shared in that link comes from a two-part question), most of them go on to say they lean one way or the other. And their behavior follows that inclination. So they in fact self-identify as leaners.

                This is not to say that even a leaner (or a strong partisan, for that matter) isn’t an independent “thinker.” Just that their affiliation isn’t purely “independent” in the sense of that word, and how it gets applied to their (non-)partisan identity. Moreover, the data suggest that the leaners are also more likely to pull that party lever than someone who first says “Republican” or “Democrat” but then says they only weakly identify as such.

                And of course, as you say, a lot of this is a function of the two party choices we are given. But that’s for another day–also, I would say, something that from a political science standpoint, we know to be sown in the type of electoral competition generated by the U.S.’s plurality rule election system. Proportional representation would likely elect some of your UnParty sympathizers!

                With all of that said, I can only imagine how much flack you have taken in a partisan world from both sides. That is a good sign of your underlying independence, I would say! And I applaud your willingness to take every issue and candidate seriously. If only more voters did so I think we’d be in a better place.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, that IS a good thing. And it’s laudable because, as you say, what happened at Benghazi was not any more her fault than anyone else’s, as — how many is it now; seven? nine? — investigations have found.

      By contrast, Donald Trump HAS said the things he’s accused of saying about Muslims. And he HAS demonstrated an abysmal lack of understanding of the Constitution…

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