The Fourth Night at the Democratic National Convention

July 29, 2016

The fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention has passed. Good on that, for this blogger has had his fill. Tired and ready to rest / get back to work.

My main thoughts focus on Chelsea Clinton’s introduction of her mom, and to Hillary Clinton’s speech. Before I press on, though, I must comment on Khizr Khan. (Here’s the speech.) Mr. Khan and his wife who shared the stage with him lost their son, Army Captain, Humayun S. M. Khan on June 8, 2004 in Iraq.

Mr. Khan shut down Donald J. Trump, both when he told Mr. Trump he had “sacrificed nothing and no one,” and when he pulled his U.S. Constitution from his jacket pocket and said:

Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”

[Fair question, by the way, given Mr. Trump’s evident lack of familiarity with the basic structure of the document.]

Mr. Khan was an extremely powerful witness for an open and pluralistic America. Given just how much Mr. Trump’s sells its antithesis—walls, protectionism, and purity—Mr. Khan mattered. (Mr. Trump has said nothing about Mr. Khan’s words.)

Chelsea Clinton’s remarks are here. Through her words we got a reminder that we see the public side of our public servants and, too often, think we have a clue … or, for those who despise Hillary Clinton, all of the facts.

Chelsea Clinton shared stories about a mom and, now, a grandmother. The stories should have surprised none of us, for we never had a legitimate basis for thinking otherwise. Dinner table conversation, notes left behind before trips (in an all-Hillary, totally organized way), shared time—no matter what—with the granddaughter.

Earlier on Thursday I heard an interview with an old FOH. She was recounting a time during the dark days in 1997-8, when Hillary was not around for some Monica-related event. Lots of noise in the media about what this meant, with its being a given that her absence mattered. And where was she? In Boston to be with a college friend during a surgery.

It’s easy, I know, to assume these people we elect are on 24/7, and that anything and everything they do relates to politics. But it’s just not so. We need to give all of these people, including people whose last names are Trump, some space.

Hillary Clinton offered up a fine speech. (Here it is, here’s the New York Times fact check, and here’s some smart commentary from Josh Marshall at

The speech included a few brilliant lines. They included:

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….” No, Donald, you don’t.

Don’t believe anyone who says, “I alone can fix it.” … Really? Isn’t he forgetting troops on the front lines? Police officers who run toward danger? Doctors and nurses who care for us? Teachers who change lives? Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem? Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe? He’s forgetting every last one of us. Americans don’t say, “I alone can fix it.” We say, “We’ll fix it together.”

And here’s my favorite, for just how clearly it draws the distinction between Hillary Clinton and the man less prepared than we might be when we set out to purchase a sofa.

So, it’s true. I sweat the details of policy whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs, because it’s not just a detail, if it’s your kid, if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president, too.

Fourteen weeks and a few days to go. Hold on to your seats, for it’s gonna be something!

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