Democrats appearing Wednesday night via their party’s virtual national convention certainly appeared somber and sincere. But the content of their oratory naturally raises the question of how seriously viewers should take them.
Former President Barack Obama said:
The one Constitutional office elected by all of the people is the presidency. So at minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us — regardless of what we look like, how we worship, who we love, how much money we have — or who we voted for.
But we should also expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy. We should expect that regardless of ego, ambition or political beliefs, the president will preserve, protect and defend the freedoms and ideals that so many Americans marched for and went to jail for; fought for and died for.
The former president’s delivery was outstanding. But his message would have been more compelling if–four years ago today–his FBI had not sent an informant to record a conversation with someone participating in the political opposition’s presidential campaign. The exculpatory evidence collected that day from Trump supporter Carter Page–like much of the other exculpatory evidence the Obama administration collected on him–would not be shared with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as the government improperly seized wiretap authority.
The Justice Department’s Obama-appointed inspector general would later identify “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in the government’s applications to surveil Mr. Page.
If there is one person in America who should not be lecturing us about the duty of a president to ensure our rights are protected regardless of our political beliefs, it is Barack Obama.
But give our 44th president credit for nerve. He was appearing just hours after news broke of a related courtroom development involving an anti-Trump government attorney. Dustin Volz and Alan Cullison report in the Journal:
On Wednesday, FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering a document investigators presented to a judge for approval to continue surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page… Mr. Clinesmith is set to be sentenced in December.
Wednesday night offered Mr. Obama a timely opportunity to apologize for the surveillance abuses that began on his watch. But instead he offered yet another smear of the man his FBI targeted for abuse. Said Mr. Obama:
I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.
As Mr. Obama spoke, the text of the Constitution formed a lovely backdrop to his remarks. Perhaps he found a moment to read it.
Another of Wednesday night’s speakers was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose comments raised similar questions right from the start. Mrs. Clinton said:
Good evening. After the last election, I said, “We owe Donald Trump an open mind and the chance to lead.” I really meant it.
She first uttered those words on Nov. 9, 2016, which would have been a good time to repudiate the bogus Steele dossier of accusations against Mr. Trump that her campaign funded and which the FBI used to secure the improper surveillance warrants.
That day of her concession speech, delivered the morning after Mr. Trump’s victory, also represented a good opportunity to decide that she would not spend the next several years refusing to accept the results of the 2016 election and making baseless allegations about members of both parties. But she did not seize the day.
So what did she really mean?
Speaking of Clintons, the Washington Times reports:
Former President Bill Clinton used his Democratic National Convention speech Tuesday to lecture President Trump on decorum, drawing charges of hypocrisy even before a photo of the former Democratic president with an Epstein accuser went viral.
“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center,” Mr. Clinton said in his remote speech. “Instead, it is a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.”
Leading off the mockery was “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, who alluded to Mr. Clinton’s Oval Office affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“All right, that’s true, that’s a good point,” Mr. Colbert replied. “But I don’t think Bill Clinton gets to lecture anyone on what should happen in the Oval Office. Those in glass houses should not be allowed near the interns.”
The same day, the [U.K.] Daily Mail ran a photo showing Mr. Clinton receiving a neck message from Chauntae Davies, then 22, who has accused the late Jeffrey Epstein of raping her. Mr. Clinton has come under fire for his friendship and travel with Epstein, a convicted sex offender.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a stark reminder to Wisconsin Democrats on Thursday about the importance the battleground state plays in the presidential election less than 11 weeks away.
“No pressure, it’s all riding on Wisconsin,” Pelosi told more than 100 Democrats during a virtual meeting tied to the final day of the Democratic National Convention. “No pressure.”
Democrats, as well as President Donald Trump, have made no secret how essential winning Wisconsin is to the race this year. Wisconsin did not get the national attention it hoped for when the Democratic convention originally planned for Milwaukee moved online. But Trump and his surrogates have flooded the state this week, drawing a sharp contrast with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who decided against traveling to the state to accept the nomination due to concerns over COVID-19.
Still, after Trump’s narrow victory of less than 23,000 votes in 2016, and polls showing another close race this year, Democrats are pledging not to downplay the importance of Wisconsin in Biden’s efforts to defeat Trump.
“The road to the presidency runs through Wisconsin,” said Holder, who was attorney general under former President Barack Obama. “The fate of the United States, the fate of the western world, is on your shoulders. Not too much pressure.”
Holder and Gov. Tony Evers also stressed the importance of denying Republicans the six seats needed in the Wisconsin Legislature to have a veto-proof super majority headed into the once-a-decade process of redistricting next year. Wisconsin has been at the front of the national battle over redistricting, with Democrats taking a challenge of the current maps all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Republicans need to pick up three seats in the Senate and three in the Assembly to have super majorities that could override any Evers veto. That would enable the GOP-controlled Legislature to enact any map it wishes after redistricting next year, just as it did in 2011 when Republican Scott Walker was governor.
Evers and Democrats have rallied around a “Save the Veto” message, with the first-term Democrat saying Thursday he had temporarily suspended fundraising for his own reelection to focus on that effort.
Interesting last sentence. Wisconsin is in a health emergency as declared by Evers, but it’s not too much of an emergency to suspend usual politics.
Saying is one thing. Doing is another. On that, RightWisconsin reports:
Remember the good old days when nearly everyone was excited the Democrats chose Milwaukee to host the Democratic National Convention?
Okay, a few us worried about the rioting, but it turns out the left can destroy businesses and ruin lives without having the Democratic National Convention as an excuse. Look how successful they are in Madison.
But we were supposed to get thousands of visitors, a ton of publicity and goodwill, and millions of tourist dollars.
Instead, we don’t even get a visit from the party’s nominee. Thousands of delegates? Nope. How about press coverage from all over the world? Nope again. We don’t even rate a silhouette in the convention logo anymore because Democrats don’t want anyone to think they visited Wisconsin. And when the roll call of the states showed the best of what each state had to offer, Wisconsin‘s Democrats had Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who made Biden a plural earlier, in a conference room instead of some wonderful Wisconsin location.
Of course, it’s not like Barnes could drive anywhere.
But if you wonder what Hollywood and the Democrats really think of Wisconsin, late night talk show host Stephen Colbert has the answer. Thank you for your contempt, and you can stop wondering how Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2016.
What about Colbert?