Democrats build a wall to keep Donald the barbarian at bay

 

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Good day Austin:

The Gettysburg Address was 272 words long.

Khizr Khan’s address to the Democratic National Convention last night was 270 words, and like the Gettysburg Address, was a marvel of elegance, simplicity and oratorical power speaking to American identity at a moment of crisis.

Khan is a Muslim immigrant who lives in Charlottesville, Va.. He was flanked by his wife in her head scarf, who stood silently while her husband delivered his remarks with exquisite dignity.

Their son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Two passages amounted to the most effective attack on Trump at a convention largely devoted to attacks on Trump.

Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.

 

And:

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

But really, watch and read the whole speech.

Tonight, we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.

Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy — that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings.

We were blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams.

Our son, Humayun, had dreams of being a military lawyer. But he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers.

Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son “the best of America.”

If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.

Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.

Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.”

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division.

We are Stronger Together.

And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next President.

Khan’s address was so effective because it distilled the case against Trump – that he is unAmerican and beyond the pale, that while he says he wants to make America great again, he doesn’t get what America is all about.

It is the Democratic critique of Trump, but it is also the Ted Cruz critique of Trump.

Ted Cruz as an adolescent memorized the Constitution and, as part of a group called the Constitutional Corroborators would, essentially, perform the Constitution before civic groups.

Khan’s question – has Donald Trump ever read he Constitution – cuts to the quick because it’s a good question.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez had another great moment.

I have just spent the last week covering the Democratic National Convention here in Philadelphia and before that two weeks in Cleveland, covering the Republican National Convention and the GOP rules and platform committee meetings the week before.

So, I suppose, the time has come to make some assessments about the relative success of each, with the proviso that perhaps the best place to assess the success or failure of a convention is in front of your TV at home and the worst place may be amid the tumult of actually being there.

But here goes.

Trump’s message in his acceptance speech was: “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

The Democrats’ message was that this man is an existential threat to the United States, that Trump truly is an outsider, but in a dangerous way, in that he is outside the bounds of decency and legitimacy, that he is not so much a populist as a barbarian, and that their purpose in Philadelphia was to build a wall to protect the (it takes a) village and all its decent folks, and keep the barbarians and their Genghis Khan at bay.

bar·bar·i·an
ˌbärˈberēən/
noun
noun: barbarian; plural noun: barbarians
  1. 1.
    (in ancient times) a member of a community or tribe not belonging to one of the great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Christian).
adjective
adjective: barbarian
  1. 1.
    of or relating to ancient barbarians.
    “barbarian invasions”

To that end, the convention morphed in its last two days from a Democratic Convention to  a Never Trump convention.

There was Michael Bloomberg, representing centrist independents.

Given my background, I’ve often encouraged business leaders to run for office because many of them share that same pragmatic approach to building consensus, but not all. Most of us who have created a business know that we’re only as good as the way our employees, clients, and partners view us. Most of us don’t pretend that we’re smart enough to make every big decision by ourselves. And most of us who have our names on the door know that we’re only as good as our word. But not Donald Trump.

Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders, and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.

I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one.

There was Doug Elmets, a lifelong Republican and Reagan speechwriter;

I haven’t just voted Republican. I worked in President Reagan’s White House. I recently led an effort to place a statue of Ronald Reagan in California’s capitol. I’m here tonight to say: I knew Ronald Reagan; I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.

And the Democrats cheered.

And, suddenly equipped with large American flags, the delegates waved those flags and roared their approval as retired Gen. John Allen, flanked by a coterie of military types the size of a small junta, declared Hillary Clinton the only strong and safe choice for president.

 

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It should be noted that during Allen’s speech = and during Hillary Clinton’s – there were some heckling chants from diehard Bernie supporters in the hall, chanting slogans like, “No More War,”  but they were strategically drowned out by chants of USA USA USA! from surrounding delegates.

I feel sorry for that chant. Once it had some edge. It was a right-wing riposte to left-wing protest.

Then, this past year, at Trump rallies it was used, as it was last night, to drown out protesters.

And now Democrats find themselves chanting it to make sure some peaceniks didn’t get a word in edgewise.

USA USA USA!  has become the quicker-picker-upper of American politics. Got a spill in aisle six? Chant USA USA USA!

 

 

 

Finally, from Vice President Joe Biden to Hillary Clinton, Trump was cast as a schoolyard bully not temperamentally fit to be president.

From Clinton’s acceptance speech:

Ask yourself:  Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?  Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.  He loses his cool at the slightest provocation.  When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter.  When he’s challenged in a debate.  When he sees a protestor at a rally.  Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons. 

And how did Trump respond Thursday?

With bullying.

From ABC News:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday afternoon he wanted to “hit” some of the Democratic National Convention speakers “so hard” while watching them last night, including a “little guy…so hard his head would spin.”

“You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard,” Trump said. “I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them, I was all set and then I got a call from a highly respected governor.”

Trump didn’t immediately clarify what he meant, but he said he was made particularly upset by an unspecified person he called a “little guy.”

“I was gonna hit one guy in particular, a very little guy,” he said. “I was gonna hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

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Trump repeated the sentiment at a rally hosted in Cedar Rapids several hours later, and expressed his desire to “hit this [little] guy so bad.”

He said that he was urged to think of his fight against “Crooked Hillary” instead, and that he was advised “don’t punch down.”

The “little guy” presumably is Bloomberg, the diminutive former New York mayor whose wealth is to Donald Trump’s is what Donald Trump’s is to mine.

All this wold not seem to bode well for Trump,

And yet even as Clinton says Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign, he virtually single-handedly seized the Republican nomination, took over one of America’s two major parties, and, going into the Philadelphia convention, had actually opened a slender lead on Clinton in the CNN poll.

 

What Trump still has going for him is that the Democrats, post-Philly, are more than ever now the party of the status quo in what is begging to be a change election, and Trump remains ever more the outsider who has defied expectations every step of the way.

Which brings us to Garry Mauro’s caution as he was leaving the convention last night in the video at the top of First Reading.today. Trump’s genius, his success, has been in dominating the news cycle day after day.  Unless Clinton can disrupt his ability to do that, she could face the ignominy of losing to Donald Trump.

 

 

 

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