Wednesday, July 27, 2016


There were highs (Joe Crowley stripping the hide off Donald Trump for "cashing in" on 9/11 while Hillary was helping survivors and first responders) and lows (Lena Dunham and America Ferrera making Oscar-telecast-dumb jokes), but I'm a Democrat so it's always fun to watch Bill Clinton work. Headlines suggest it was about selling himself as the First Whatever, but the speech was both more generous and more targeted than that. Bill breezed past his own accomplishments, including the Presidency, to talk about hers; much of it was like some kind of Charlie Kaufman experiment where the President of the United States is a minor figure telling in awestruck tones the life story of some minor politician. It was strange and charming to hear how the future leader of the free world was "dragged around" on an unelected official's quest to get more kids in pre-school. Of course the romantic stuff helps; everyone likes courtship and sending-the-kid-to-college stories. But they were there mainly so the usual assholes couldn't notice their absence and go into their sham-marriage shtick. And even the cute stories were turned toward heroic biography -- it's not just that she was a good mom, but that she was a good mom while doing all these other things. I would add that it was a measure of Clinton's cunning professionalism that he left the implied rebukes to the Trump campaign -- which we all know he is both motivated and equiped to deliver at operatic length and scale -- to a few minutes at the end, as if, compared to the woman he'd just described, the shitheel on the other ticket wasn't worth the sweat off his balls. A+.

Speaking of shitheels, Jonah Goldberg managed to embarrass himself before and after the speech. In the prelude Goldberg does his usual inept search for poetry in slander -- get a load:
The notion that Bill Clinton, of all prominent Americans not convicted of a violent crime, might be officially named “First Gentleman” is a crime against all logic, fact, and decency.
"Ecrasez l'Infame" it ain't, but if you're a wingnut legacy pledge who thinks fist-shakings over Clintons are your sluice to the Pantheon, you're not likely to do better. Eventually Goldberg stumbles into the realm of Clinton fanfic:
I think he could help himself enormously by offering some glimmer, hint or suggestion of remorse or apology for what a spectacularly horrible husband he has been. Everyone in the audience — well, at least the TV audience — knows he’s been a cad. It makes his potential status as the “First Gentleman” endless fodder for late night comedians — and Donald Trump. It might happen, but I doubt it. Bill is a gaslighter...
A few hours later, as the Wells Fargo Center rings with cheers and Clinton is adulated for yet another brilliant speech, Goldberg shakes his head at the gaslit masses and attacks Clinton for not telling them what a shitty family man Goldberg thinks he is:
The simple fact is that everyone expects husbands to speak well of their wives — even Bill Clinton. That was a box he could have checked in 10 minutes of his speech. Instead, he took the 9,072 minutes of his speech (by my rough estimate) reading Hillary Clinton’s C.V. The biggest problem is that the more he talked the weirder it was that he didn’t address the elephant(s) in the room. This is not a great marriage by any normal person’s definition, unless you measure them almost solely on the metric of political success.

I’m not saying there weren’t effective bits. But my God that speech was boring unless you’re already fascinated by Hillary Clinton.
Yeah, because why would people watching a national political convention want to hear about the candidate? It's a good thing Goldberg's writing never had to sell anything except the perpetual renewal of his wingnut welfare.

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