Conventional thinking

>> Thursday, September 06, 2012

Yesterday I rambled about not following the Democratic National Convention. Then I went home and did something awful and uncharacteristic--I went and turned on the Sirius XM simulcast of the convention and listened to their speakers.

Well. Nobody's perfect. Least of all, me.

They were mostly a decent lot. I write this with the caveat that the only speaker I heard who's someone I generally like was Elizabeth Warren, who rambled a bit (I'm afraid) and the caveat to that that I think Sandra Fluke seems like a nice young woman who gave a pretty okay speech but I feel a little nervy about coming out and, I dunno, endorsing her when she's such a newcomer and her main claim to fame, really, is being victimized by a bunch of jackholes (i.e. I don't know much about what Sandra Fluke is for, but if you judge her by her enemies she's probably pretty awesome). At any rate, the general tenor of events was something that made me feel, well, good about the prospect of voting for the Democrats in November, even if I had to get past the fact some of the people who were making me feel that way were, you know, Jim Hunt, f'r'instance.

I have to say "mostly" decent, because every now and again someone like Governor Jack Markell rankled. Specifically, it annoyed the hell out of me that Governor Markell distorted the context of Mitt Romney's "I like firing people" line again. Don't get me wrong: Romney's comment was all kinds of douchey, it just wasn't douchey in the particular way it keeps getting spun. Romney wasn't saying, "I personally experience a pleasant feeling when I deprive someone of their livelihood," he was saying, "I like having the option of cancelling services with an unsatisfactory vendor and taking my business elsewhere"; which is nice and all, only he was saying that in the context of discussing health insurance, where "choice", at least pre-Obamacare, is a rich man's problem. Normal people don't choose their health insurance provider, they take whatever their employer is providing them and are grateful to have it even if it sucks orangutang balls, or they tearfully accept the least-extortionate provider they can barely afford and hope they don't get arbitrarily shitcanned by the company when they file their first claim, or they pray not to get sick and get their primary care in the emergency room and push everyone else's medical costs up because legally the ER can't wheel someone out to the curb if their credit card gets declined. Normal people--by which I mean people like you and me who aren't rich; "They are different from you and me," and all the rest of that paragraph--normal people haven't had the option of firing an insurance provider, they've sucked it up and taken what they were doled out in the name of employment benefits, so Romney's line was grotesquely out of touch, though, to be fair, it's not the kind of thing you'd expect a gabazillionaire to know unless he'd read a book about the Middle Class or done some kind of embedded field anthropology project where he hunkered down with a petite bourgeoisie family or maybe even (hold yourself) proles for a few weeks.

Insurance companies, of course, could fire clients whenever they wanted. They won't be able to do that once Obamacare's guaranteed issue provisions go fully into effect in 2014. Only, you know, Romney keeps promising to repeal Obamacare, so I guess if he gets elected, we'll be going back to consumers bravely saying, "Thank you sir, may I please have another" every time they get slapped upside the head and being grateful they still had someone willing to hit them ("I know my insurance company is mean--but they love me") and insurance companies getting to fire whichever patients they want, especially expensive ones. So, you know, I guess you can say Romney wants to bring choice back into the healthcare system, it's just that it's the industry's ability to choose who lives and who dies and who goes bankrupt; and this is another level of douchiness, but, again, it isn't an asinine Donald Trumpesque "You're fired!" followed by clown laughter as much as it's a big ol' "Fuck you" to cancer patients and children with immunological disorders, etc., while CEOs of insurance companies go to conventions where they play golf and compare wallets or whatever it is they do to compensate for their tiny penises and secret fear God is real and created a special place in Hell for their kind.

Anyway, about that Convention--

Bill Clinton was the star of the evening, you know. And I don't have a lot of use for Bill Clinton, but goddammit he knows how to give a speech. I already know all the conservatives who tuned in to parts of it or heard clips on Fox News or whatever all rolled their eyes in unison and gave themselves some kind of seizure; whatever. Fuck 'em, it was a damn good speech. You can read the transcript or its better to find it on YouTube and watch or listen to it. He may have screwed up healtcare, sold out the gays, mucked up welfare, nearly blotted out the Democratic Party's progressive legacy with his embrace of the DLC's Reagan hard-on, corrupted himself with shady donor dealings, and--oh yeah, the thing I could really give a shit about but might as well mention it for completeness' sake--embarrassed himself with that whole stupid impeachment thing; he may be a flawed figure who I have a weird kind of fond contempt for, but the man gives a good speech. A great speech.

Matter-of-fact, it was exactly the kind of speech that has me wondering why I'm not a Democrat. And then, of course, as inevitable as death and taxes-for-those-of-us-without-secret-foreign-bank-accounts, I woke up this morning to hear about the God and Jerusalem kerfuffle, which I'd managed to avoid hearing about yesterday, and immediately remembered exactly why I'm not a Democrat. I don't mind if every speaker I heard last night seemed to end his or her speech with "God bless America" (though, being a Southerner, I'm kind of used to "bless his heart" being a lot less than complimentary, and couldn't help juxtaposing the phrases in an ironic an amusing way; "God bless America's heart," indeed). And I don't care if it isn't in the Democrats' platform; actually, since I'm not a Democrat, I don't have much more than an interested-third-party's concern in their platform at all. But leaving it out and rushing to stick it back in when the other side rides you for it--that just looks chickenshit, you know? And I've reached a point with the Jerusalem issue of saying we mind our own business and keep our noses out of it unless everybody starts nuking each other and then maybe we consider how or if that affects our national or moral interests and proceed from there. But I mostly couldn't care less what Jerusalem is the capitol of; I have to say "mostly" on the outside chance I might go on Jeopardy some day and I suppose it could be part of the question to an answer. Or a winning play in Trivial Pursuit, more like; I have trouble imagining ever being on TV.

Who cares if the Republicans make a stink about the lack of God in the Democratic platform? Anyone swayed by that kind of thing doesn't seem like a prospective Democratic voter anyway, and those of us who don't believe in a god and/or who think the single biggest flaw in the Democratic Party is a notable spinelessness in the face of right-wing irrational single-minded mindlessness (yes, I saw what I did there and I did it on purpose) will be put off by the rending of garments and pitiful abasement.

So even if the Democrats are sounding pretty liberal this week--and I do like that--and even if Bill Clinton has displayed some redeeming values with a helluva speech, and even if I feel good about voting for the Democrats come November instead of feeling slightly soiled-and-abused and in need of a shower (which is what I was expecting), and even if I might even check the cookie jar to see if I have a few pence to send the Party's way; well, it's the way they run scurrying at the first murmur from some mediocrity that they are insufficiently Jesus-ey that's the kind of thing keeps me from ever putting a "D" back of my name. Shame, because I wouldn't necessarily mind joining a group of people who sound like Bill Clinton and think like Elizabeth Warren, but I guess we all have to decide what we'll settle for.


Janiece Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 1:27:00 PM EDT  

I'm kind of losing interest in Israel myownself. I might feel differently if the Israeli government wasn't so committed to douchebaggery, but really - they've pretty close to wearing out their welcome at my door.

Random Michelle K Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 2:15:00 PM EDT  

God Bless America's Heart indeed.

That just made my day.

Warner Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 2:18:00 PM EDT  

I'm with Janiece and it isn't just the douchebaggery with the Palestinians, but what they let the frum get away with.

Leanright,  Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 2:50:00 PM EDT  

Yes, the speech was GREAT if you are a Clinton person. From the reaction of the crowd, I hope they had plenty of newspaper on the floor.

My XM Radio choice, Andrew Wilkow, said it best: "If Bill Clinton was a doctor, he could make you feel GOOD about having cancer"

vince Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 10:10:00 PM EDT  

Steve Buchheit pointed out a great tweet by Michael Ian Black: "God" not mentioned in Democratic platform means they don't worship God. "Money" mentioned eleven times in Republican platform.

Leanright,  Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 10:57:00 PM EDT  

Oh my Gosh Vince! How many time did the RNC say the work "The"?

Leanright,  Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 10:57:00 PM EDT  

Oh my Gosh Vince! How many time did the RNC say the word "The"?

Eric Friday, September 7, 2012 at 10:33:00 AM EDT  

Matter-of-fact, I retweeted the Michael Ian Black line myself, and possibly cross-posted it to Facebook. It was a good zinger. And he only had to post it once, though Steve and I echoed it.

While I'm checking in, I somehow feel obligated to repeat something I thought I'd already said: I'm not a Clinton person, and I thought it was a great speech. I had problems with Clinton's policies, but it was a great speech. I have problems with Clinton's legacy, but it was a great speech. Much of my replacing hostility about the Clinton presidency with ambivalence about it stems less from a reevaluation of what he actually did than it does from how much better he looks in retrospect when compared to his immediate successor. But it was a great speech.

Leanright,  Friday, September 7, 2012 at 1:29:00 PM EDT  

Eric, what did you think of Clinton's speech?

Eric Friday, September 7, 2012 at 2:05:00 PM EDT  

Dave, you do realize it's a problem when I can't even tell if you're trolling anymore, don't you? It's like you've collapsed into your own version of Poe's law.

Robbin Friday, September 7, 2012 at 11:02:00 PM EDT  

I was pretty upset over the Jerusalem vote. I'm pro-Palestine, so there is that, aside from the fact that the "voice vote" was entirely shady. I became interested in the Palestine-Israel issue about 7 years ago after I had a number of Jewish friends proclaim "Palestine doesn't exist". I wanted to talk intelligently with them about this (and for reasons unexplained I found their statements offensive) so I read "Arab and Jew" by David Shipler. Since then I've worked at an NGO where I've witnessed Palestine fight for UN membership in recent years, only to have the US smother their chances while most of the world supports them. It pisses me off.

Moving on...

Bill Clinton! I totally agree with you on the disappointments that occurred during his presidency, but nobody can argue that he is dumb. He is so wicked intelligent. Not only does he give a good speech but he just knows his shit. And not only that, and maybe this is his extreme smarts coupled with his southern-ness, but he can explain complicated problems like the economy in a way that isn't dumbed down and at the same time is simple. How many smart people can do that? He doesn't dumb down stuff so that I feel like he is lying to me or trying to insult me, but is in a way that I could repeat what he says in an academic journal article. I love him. I can't help myself. And I am really glad that he was our president.

Robbin Friday, September 7, 2012 at 11:10:00 PM EDT  

Also, I get that Israel is a US ally in the Middle East and all of that, and Palestine seems like such a minor thing to a lot of people (because they are small and financially weak), but it's so fucking short-sighted to keep dismissing an Arab state like Palestine when our enemies are Arab nations who are watching our every move and choice. If the US would acknowledge Palestine a lot of muslim countries would have less of an excuse to hate us and thus attack us.

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