Comic relief: Vice President Biden's superlative speech!

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2016

The analysts' fears subside:
For our money, there have been three very good speeches at this week's convention.

Personally, we've liked Joe Biden's speech best. We recommend the following chunk, not for what Biden says about Hillary Clinton, but instead for what this chunk of his speech says about Biden himself.

Biden discussed the loss of his son, the late Beau Biden. Then, he offered this. To watch the whole speech, click here:
BIDEN (7/27/16): His wife Hallie and his two kids are here tonight. But as Ernest Hemingway once wrote, the world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.

I've been made strong at the broken places by my love, Jill; by my heart, my son Hunter; and the love of my life, my Ashley. And by all of you, and I mean this sincerely, those who have been through this, you know I mean what I say. By all of you, your love, your prayers, your support.

But you know what? We talk about, we think about the countless thousands of other people who suffered so much more than we have, with so much less support, so much less reason to go on. But they get up every morning, every day. They put one foot in front of the other. They keep going. That's the unbreakable spirit of the people of America. That's who we are.

That's who we are. Don't forget it. Like the people in the neighborhood that Jill and I grew up in, she in Willow Grove and me down in Wilmington and Claymont. The kid in Claymont with the most courage, who always jumped in when you were double teamed or your back was against the wall, who became a cop because he always wanted to help people. The middle daughter of three daughters who always made her mother smile, who was a hero to her sisters, now a major in the United States Marine Corps because, "Mr. Vice President, I wanted to serve my country."

The teachers who Jill knows and so many of you know who take money out of their own pockets to buy pencils and notebooks for their students who can't afford them. Why? Why? Because being a teacher is not what they do. It's who they are.

You know what I know. For real, these are the people who are the heart and soul of this country. It's the America that I know, the America that Hillary knows and Tim Kaine knows.

You know, I've known Hillary for well over 30 years. Before she was first lady of the United States. When she became first lady. We served together in the United States Senate. And during her years as secretary of state, once a week, we had breakfast in my home, the vice president's residence.

Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about. I know Hillary.

Hillary understands. Hillary gets it. Hillary understands that the college loan is about a lot more than getting a qualified student education. It's about saving the mom and the dad from the indignity of having to look at their talented child and saying, "Sonny, honey, I'm so sorry. The bank wouldn't lend me the money. I can't help you to get to school."

I know that about Hillary. Hillary understood that, for years, millions of people went to bed staring at the ceiling, thinking, "Oh, my God, what if I get breast cancer or he has a heart attack? I will lose everything. What will we do then?" I know about Hillary Clinton.
We hope that's true about Hillary Clinton. But nobody knows how to talk about "ordinary people like us," as he later put it, in quite the way Joe Biden does.

He has access to amazing emotional memory, and he isn't afraid or ashamed to speak about "ordinary people like us."

As we watched him, he couldn't help thinking about our tribe's unwise inclination to name-call those "ordinary people like us." But just watch that part of Biden's speech. He has vast depths of memory.

Now for a moment of snark:

The analysts breathed a sigh of relief when Biden spoke so well of Candidate Clinton. The youngsters had been tied up in knots ever since they saw Rachel Maddow make these remarks, back at the end of June:
MADDOW (6/30/16): Well, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have now rescheduled their first joint campaign appearance, it's going to be next week in North Carolina. And today we learned that, in addition to Hillary Clinton appearing with President Obama on Tuesday in North Carolina, later in the week, on Friday, she's also going to do a joint campaign appearance with Vice President Joe Biden.

And that is interesting for a couple of different reasons. Now, the first reason is that ever since Vice President Biden went through his long, public, to-ing and fro-ing over whether or not he himself was going to run for president this year, ever since then, there have been a lot of Washington whispers about whether or not Vice President Biden really, truly, deeply supports Hillary Clinton for president and whether he would really, truly deeply, enthusiastically campaign for her in this election.

Well, we know he's going to campaign for her in this election, and we'll see what that looks like a week from tomorrow when they campaign together just outside the place that oddly is both of their hometowns. Both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and they will be together in Scranton next week.
Say what? There had been "a lot of Washington whispers about whether or not Vice President Biden would really, truly deeply, enthusiastically campaign for Candidate Clinton?"

We tried to tell the analysts that was just the usual crap, but they were now frankly scared. Later, that Scranton event was canceled because of a terrorist event, and the fear settled into their bones.

In fairness, there was more than simple fear back on June 30. At first, the analysts were frightened when Maddow offered that analysis. Soon, though, several youngsters emitted a familiar cry:

"There she goes again!" Or so the analysts said.

Biden and Clinton were both born in Scranton? These analysts swore that it just wasn't so! The youngsters began to tear their hair over this latest "trivia fail." And sure enough! Before the program was done that night, Maddow offered one of the comical, overwrought self-corrections which have been flooding her air.

The biggest problem with Maddow's program in the past year has been her manifest refusal to fight the power. She never made the slightest attempt to clarify or explain the whole email mess. And when Comey the God seemed to peddle a scam a few weeks back, the world's biggest fame-and-lucre hound didn't so much as say boo.

Rachel defers to the power, whether we notice or not.

The second problem with Maddow's show has been the tons of silly, propagandistic trivia with which her viewers are now assailed. The new, improved Rachel Maddow loves to dumb us liberals down with silly, trivial presentations about how dumb and pathetic The Others are. Sadly, this pandering seems to make us love her more.

This silly corporate "cable news" show has become a corporate mess. That said, intermittent comic relief comes from the program's frequent errors, and from the overwrought self-corrections with which some of these errors are met.

We do get to chuckle at those self-corrections. Tomorrow, we'll start with Maddow's overwrought apology about the Scranton bungle/fail. We'll struggle onward from there.

For the record, "ordinary people like us" live in Scranton. It's best not to call people names.

HOW WE GOT HERE: Fury concerning the Yankees and Cubs!

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2016

Part 4—Hillary-hatred and novels:
Why do so many people seem to hate Hillary Clinton?

For obvious reasons, it's an important question. When Michelle Goldberg asked the question this week, she considered every possible answer—every possible answer but one.

What's the source of the Hillary hatred? To consider the answer Goldberg skipped, let's recall something which happened way back in June 1999.

Way back in June 1999, the New York Yankees decided to visit the White House. The Yankees were reigning World Series champs. As such, they made their ceremonial visit to The House Ruth Didn't Build.

This prompted a comment by the first lady. Her comment helped us see that she, like Candidate Gore, was clearly The World's Biggest Liar.

What did the first lady blurt? In the Washington Post, on the front page of Style, a reporter named Frank Ahrens helped the nation confront a new, deeply troubling problem.

The nation seemed to require no prompting. According to Ahrens, the nation had "collectively hurled" in reaction to what Clinton said:
AHRENS (6/11/99): On yesterday's "Today" show, the first lady played her familiar wink-and-a-nod, maybe-I'm-running-maybe-I'm-not shtick with host Katie Couric, who asked Clinton first about the New York Knicks—currently battling in the NBA playoffs—and then about the Yankees.

"Are you a big Knicks fan?" Couric asked.

"I'm becoming a big Knicks fan," the first lady responded, laughing.

"More and more every day, huh?" Couric parried.

And then a sleepy-eyed nation collectively hurled.

Later, Clinton asserted that she'd "always been a Yankees fan." Couric correctly challenged her,
saying she thought the first lady, a native of Illinois, was a Chicago Cubs fan.

"I am a Cubs fan," Clinton said. "But I needed an American League team...so as a young girl, I became very interested and enamored of the Yankees."
Why had the nation "collectively hurled?" It was the obvious lying! Let's establish a bit of background to Ahren's remarkable statement:

At this time, the first lady was exploring the possibility of running for the Senate from the state of New York. For this reasons, all the savants—all the life forms like Ahrens—knew that Clinton was telling a lie, looking for a way to gain favor with Empire State voters.

Please understand—at this time, the savants were busy creating an ugly, destructive novel about Candidate Gore. They were busy inventing the "lies" which established the fact that Gore, Bill Clinton's chosen successor, was The World's Biggest Liar, just like Bill Clinton before him.

At the time Ahren's piece appeared, Gore was about to make his formal announcement. The "press corps" was about to land on him like a ton of bricks.

(No one was more active in this lynching than the Washington Post's Style section—Eugene Robinson, editor.)

On June 16, Gore made his announcement; the mockery was ubiquitous. On June 18, the headline appeared in the New York Post which defined the novel the "press corps" was writing:

AL GORE, LIAR, the headline said.

The corps kept typing that tale about Clinton's successor for the next sixteen months. They invented Gore's "lies" as they went. Their conduct sent Bush to the White House.

To this day, you're not allowed to see or hear this conduct discussed—and along the way, the Clinton-hating insider "press corps" was eager to type the same pleasing novel about Bill Clinton's rank wife.

(Bill Clinton had survived impeachment four months earlier. Rather plainly, this conduct was furious payback.)

At any rate, there you see a bit of the background to the Cubs/Yankees remark. Life forms like Ahrens knew what to do in reaction.

(To give you a hint of his own moral greatness, Ahrens serves today as an executive for a Washington PR firm. "Innovative communications executive who delivered results at a global Fortune 100 firm in Asia and builds business at a top-line agency in the U.S.," the giant's self-description says. "Crafts and executes communication strategies across multiple platforms, sharpened for maximum impact and clarity of message.")

Back in June 1999, Ahrens went to work. He employed the colorful language which would call the rest of the life forms to action.

The nation had "collectively hurled" when the first lady made her claim, he said. Appallingly, the first lady had said that she had been a fan of the Cubs and the Yankees.

Triggered by Ahrens, the various life forms of the press did in fact swing into action. Tomorrow, we'll show you some of the things they said about the first lady at that time.

We'll also recall the way the life forms returned to the first lady's obvious lie when she sought her party's nomination for president in 2007 and 2008. Once the life forms get a script they like, the script will never die.

The first lady was called every name in the book by the various life forms and jackals. Michelle Goldberg will never tell you, but this is one of the obvious answers to the question she raised in her long piece for Slate.

Why do so many people hate Clinton? Tomorrow, we'll recall the reams of derision which landed on her head for her obvious lie, not just in 1999 but also eight years later.

For today, let's note a small minor problem with Ahrens' magnificent conduct. Let's note two profiles of Clinton which had run in his own Washington Post years before the nation collectively hurled.

When Hillary Clinton was a girl, did she root for the Cubs and the Yankees? This Sunday, in a high profile piece in the New York Times, the appalling Gail Collins reminded the world of how crazy this silly claim was.

In fairness to the horrific Collins, she was simply repeating a claim her coven has peddled for seventeen years. Today, let's recall the profiles of Clinton which disappeared when Ahrens triggered the maelstrom.

Uh-oh! Back in 1994, the White House had thrown a picnic on the South Lawn to celebrate Ken Burns' "long-awaited" documentary film, "Baseball." At the Washington Post, Donnie Radcliffe reported on the event.

Radcliffe's piece appeared on the front page of Style, as Ahren's piece would do years later. But the Big Liar jihad hadn't started, so no storm emerged when Radcliffe report the first lady's fiendish lie:
RADCLIFFE (9/12/94): Among the picnic's other attractions, which included a be-your-own-trading-card photo booth and standard ballpark fare of popcorn and hotdogs (plus more elaborate cuisine), was Hillary Clinton, who hit a couple of balls in the batting cage.

"That was a great swing," Burns told her. "Did you get some batting practice before the screening, just to warm up?"

Mrs. Clinton, who as a kid was a "big-time" fan of the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees and "understudied" Ernie Banks and Mickey Mantle, smiled. Another favorite was Satchel Paige and his advice on how to stay healthy.

"I always loved 'Don't look back, somebody might be gaining on you.' " she said.
Fiendishly, the first lady told her lie.

Or might her claim have been true? The first lady had quoted Satchel Paige correctly. Is it possible that she really was a baseball fan—a baseball fan who, as a child, had supported the Cubs and the Yankees?

Is it possible that her statement was true? Readers, of course it is! Indeed, shortly before she became first lady, another profile in the Washington Post had painted a similar picture.

Martha Sherrill penned that profile of Clinton. At various points, she described the type of upbringing Clinton received from her father.

Below, we learn where Clinton's swing came from—the swing Ken Burns would later admire. We also encounter an early variant of that fiendish lie:
SHERRILL (1/11/93): One spring, the entire Rodham family went every day to Hinckley Park and watched Hugh Rodham pitch and pitch and pitch until his daughter Hillary learned to belt a curveball. In sixth grade, she started taking piano lessons from Margaret-Lucy Lessard, who had a big dark house down the street, with her dead stuffed pets, Pomeranians, in a glass case in the living room. And in eighth grade, she learned to square-dance—but didn't date or anything. Everybody went out in groups. She was a mimic, a Ping-Pong player and a wading-pool lifeguard.

[...]

Whatever goal lingered in her mind—she has said she wanted to be an astronaut, her friends remember her talking about becoming a doctor—her focus was far away, years away, another place. "She had absolutely no vanity," remembers Jeannie Snodgrass Almo, a high school classmate who now runs Kids First, a day-care center in D.C. "She was totally unconcerned about how she appeared to people—and she was loved for that."

While her girlfriends had crushes, stared at boys, padded their bras, Hillary talked about politics, Sputnik and sports. "We used to sit on the front porch and solve the world's problems," said Rick Ricketts, her neighbor and friend since they were 8. "She also knew all the players and stats, batting averages—Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle—everything about baseball."
As you probably know, Maris and Mantle were, at that time, the fabulous stars of the Yankees. Ricketts, Clinton's childhood pal, remembered her rattling their stats.

As a child, did Hillary Clinton root for the Cubs and the Yankees? In 1993 and 1994, the Washington Post ran profiles which said and suggested that she actually did.

By 1999, though, an ugly jihad was on. Life forms like Ahrens were reinventing Candidate Gore as The World's Biggest Liar, Just Like Bill Clinton. When the first lady repeated her claim about the Yanks, they threw her into the briar patch too.

Tomorrow, we'll show you the mountains of ugly derision which were dumped on Clinton's head. It happened in 1999 and again in 2007, because of the fact that she had uttered this obvious fiendish lie.

Those earlier profiles disappeared. The life forms love to do this.

Trigger warning:

Tomorrow, we'll show you ugly behavior on the part of the "mainstream press." To state what is blindingly obvious, this ugly behavior helps explain why so many people seem to hate Hillary Clinton.

That behavior was ugly, but then again, so is Goldberg's behavior today. In accord with the laws of her guild, she is refusing to tell you the truth about the question she asked.

Nothing will make them tell you the truth about the ways their colleagues behave. In the wings, Candidate Trump is crazily waiting to serve.

Tomorrow: After that, the deluge

HOW WE GOT HERE: Every possible answer but one!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2016

Part 3—The guild must be disappeared:
Why do so many people hate Hillary Clinton so much?

Under the circumstances, it's a very important question. Because so many people hate Clinton, the craziest candidate in American history, by far, may end up in the White House.

Why do people hate Clinton so much? A full-blooded answer to that question would help us know how in the world we got here.

As such, the question is very important. In her recent piece for Slate, Michelle Goldberg examined every possible answer to that question—every possible answer but one.

As we noted yesterday, Goldberg interviewed an array of Hillary haters seeking the reason for the hate. One hated Hillary Clinton because of all the "suspicious deaths." Another hated her for an offhand comment she made in March 1992.

Why do people hate Clinton so much? Partly, we humans just love to hate, a fact which is increasingly clear within our own liberal tents.

That said, Hillary Clinton is hated a lot. What explains all the Hillary hatred? Goldberg pondered some possible answers.

In some ways, she tried to be fair. She cited Clinton's lack of charisma, though lack of charisma could hardly explain all that hate.

She also cites some normal political factors. Some people don't like Clinton's political positions, including some which have changed down through the year.

Again, though, a problem arises. This might explain political opposition, but it hardly explains all that hate.

In the end, Goldberg mainly considers the role of sexism and misogyny. Almost surely, such attitudes are one part of the problem.

Without any question, misogyny has played a role in the hatred of Hillary Clinton. Just consider all the times Chris Matthews derided her as "Evita Peron" or "Nurse Ratched" during his decade of Hillary hatred, a decade of lunatic public behavior which ended after 2008.

Goldberg won't mention those comments, of course. Within the guild, it's not done! But Matthews was hardly the only offender within the guild as the Hillary hatred grew.

During the Obama-Clinton nomination race in 2007 and 2008, such comments were also common from media stars like Mike Barnacle and Keith Olbermann, MSNBC luminaries both. And in June 2008, the New York Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, savaged star columnist Maureen Dowd for her incessant gander-based trashing of Candidate Clinton.

In a remarkable column, Hoyt savaged Dowd from stem to stern for what he called her misogyny. You will never learn such things from the work of a figure like Goldberg.

Briefly, let's be fair! Right at the start of her piece, Goldberg names two major journalists who have criticized Clinton. One is a former Republican speechwriter. The other is no longer alive and was hugely never well known:
GOLDBERG (7/24/16): It might seem as though nothing much has changed in 20 years. Many people disliked Hillary Clinton when she first emerged onto the political scene, and many people dislike her now. She is on track to become the least popular Democratic nominee in modern history, although voters like Donald Trump even less.

But over the last two decades, the something that pisses people off has changed. Speaking to [Professor] Gates, former Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan described “an air of apple-cheeked certitude” in Clinton that is “political in its nature and grating in its effects.” Noonan saw in Clinton “an implicit insistence throughout her career that hers were the politics of moral decency and therefore those who opposed her politics were obviously of a lower moral order.”

Noonan’s view was a common one. Take, for example, Michael Kelly’s 1993 New York Times Magazine profile, mockingly titled “Saint Hillary.” “Since she discovered, at the age of 14, that for people less fortunate than herself the world could be very cruel, Hillary Rodham Clinton has harbored an ambition so large that it can scarcely be grasped,” Kelly wrote. “She would like to make things right. She is 45 now and she knows that the earnest idealisms of a child of the 1960s may strike some people as naive or trite or grandiose. But she holds to them without any apparent sense of irony or inadequacy.” Kelly’s piece painted Clinton as a moralist, a meddler, a prig.
Michael Kelly died in Iraq in 2003. He was a virulent Hillary hater, and a childhood friend of Dowd's.

Noonan is a famous figure from the conservative press—and "a former Republican speechwriter."

Kelly and Noonan are named by Goldberg right at the start of her piece. That said, it's the last time Goldberg names any major journalist who was ever critical of Hillary Clinton.

Where did all the hatred come from? At one point, Goldberg mentions "conspiracy websites." Those websites are part of the answer.

That said, who does she never name? She never names the mainstream press! In this passage, you see the classic, guild-approved, mandated shifting of blame:
GOLDBERG: Some who loathe Clinton see her as the living embodiment of avarice and deception. These Clinton haters take at face value every charge Republicans have ever hurled at her, as well as dark accusations that circulate online. They have the most invidious possible explanation for Whitewater, the dubious real estate deal that served as a pretext for endless Republican investigations of the Clintons in the 1990s. (Clinton was never found guilty of any wrongdoing, though one of her business partners, James McDougal, went to prison for fraud in a related case.) Sometimes they believe that Clinton murdered her former law partner, Vince Foster, who committed suicide in 1993. They hold her responsible for the deadly attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash has convinced them that there was a corrupt nexus between Clinton’s State Department, various foreign governments, and the Clinton family’s foundation. Most of Schweizer’s allegations have either been disproven or shown to be unsubstantiated, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from invoking them repeatedly. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he accused Clinton of raking in “millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers.”
Who is responsible for all the hate? That passage gives us our clearest answer.

The Hillary haters believe the charges Republicans have hurled. They've swallowed the guff about Whitewater, a set of charges which led to endless Republican investigations.

They've swallowed the claims in Schweizer's book, even though most of his charges have been disproven or shown to be unsubstantiated. As for Schweizer himself, he was last seen—where else?—speaking at the Republican convention!

Let's state the obvious. Republicans have played a key role in building the Hillary hatred.

The party did run crazy Whitewater probes. Republicans have hurled a bunch of crazy claims, including claims about Vince Foster and other "suspicious deaths."

Peter Schweizer did appear at the Republican convention. Without any question, that's all part of the problem.

Republicans have played a key role in building the Hillary hatred. But who did Goldberg forget to cite in her lengthy piece? She forgot the mainstream press!

Citizens, can we talk? The bungled claims about Whitewater began in the New York Times.

When Schweizer wrote his discredited book, he signed a deal with the New York Times to publish his bungled work.

Last August, that resulted in the most embarrassing "news report" of the current campaign. We refer to the New York Times' embarrassing 4400-word report about the scary uranium deal—a piece of work which should have gotten all participants fired.

When that giant piece appeared complete with its nine count-em nine photographs, we spent a week outlining its ludicrous, shoddy work. But within the mainstream guild, the boys and girls don't challenge the might of the hapless but powerful Times.

Instead, Goldberg appeared on the Chris Hayes program, where the embarrassing, bungled piece was excitedly described as a "bombshell report." One year later, Goldberg says the book has been discredited, but as she does, she forgets to note the role played by the ludicrous Times in its propagation.

By now, everyone knows a basic fact about the journalism of the past twenty-four years. But within the upper-end guild, the careerist boys and girls also know they mustn't mention the fact.

What fact did Goldberg choose to withhold about all the Hillary hatred? Everybody knows this fact:

The Hillary hatred has largely been spread by Clinton-, Gore- and Hillary-haters within the upper end press corps! Among a million other names, by figures like Matthews and Dowd!

Everybody knows this fact; Goldberg also seems to know that she mustn't state it. For today, we'll leave our discussion right there.

This afternoon, we'll post a few links. Tomorrow, more to come.

Tomorrow: Shedding tears for alas poor Romney!

Still coming: The Yanks and the Cubs

Glory watch: Michelle Obama's story-telling!

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

Reminiscent of glorious Homer:
Michelle Obama's convention address was widely praised last night.

For ourselves, we'd prefer to see first spouses, male or female, speak in non-partisan settings. That's especially true in the case of someone like Obama, who has such remarkable depth of vision to share.

That said, one part of Michelle Obama's speech is being widely quoted—and we're not sure that her presentation is being fully captured. We refer to the passage at the end of her speech when she described her thoughts as she watched her happy, beautiful daughters play on the White House lawn.

Obama started and ended her speech with the needs of her daughters, and of the rest of the nation's children. Our view? Politics should always be about the interests and needs of the babies born today. What kinds of lives do we want them to live?

Michelle Obama built her speech around the needs of the country's children. This is the way she started:
OBAMA (7/25/16): You know, it’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be president.

Remember how I told you about his character and convictions, his decency and his grace, the traits that we’ve seen every day that he’s served our country in the White House?

I also told you about our daughters, how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world. And during our time in the White House, we’ve had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women, a journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington.
As she continued, Obama described the feelings of a parent raising two kids in the White House. Along the way, she gave us a glimpse of two parents' reaction to the conduct of a deranged public man:
OBAMA: I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become, and how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them. That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.
When Donald Trump created himself as King of the Birthers, he was, among other things, taking aim at the children in the White House. The press corps has almost wholly disappeared his appalling conduct. Meanwhile, did you hear that Hillary lied about the Cubs and the Yankees?

The press corps should be ashamed of itself for the way it has avoided challenging Trump's past conduct as a birther. That said:

At the end of her speech, Obama returned to the lives of her daughters. She offered a beautiful two-part construction in which she describes her thoughts as she watches her daughters playing with their dog.

This construction is so lovely that it seems to come out of Homer. It seems to us that one part of this two-part construction is being widely lost:
OBAMA: That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.

And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.
Obama seemed to choke up as she recalled this moment. We can't say we blame her.

In that glorious statement, Obama compares the happy lives of her daughters to the lives of the glorious ancestors who built the house in which they now live. As she watches her daughters at play, she thinks of the lives those honored ancestors lived.

It's going to be a long, long time before you hear a deeper passage from a speech. We thought of glorious Homer as Obama watched her girls at play and found her thoughts turning to those who had come before. That's some of the greatest story-telling you'll ever meet in a speech.

From there, Obama went on to ask what we can do for all the other kids, for the babies being born today. What kinds of lives do we want them to lead? She was asking a very good question.

That was a very unusual moment. As a general matter, we'd prefer to see this invaluable person sharing her insights in a setting where everyone, from all the tribes, might be inclined to listen.

Also, glorious Sandburg: You'll rarely encounter better story-telling than Obama gave you last night. We thought of Sandburg's account of Lincoln's last act before leaving Springfield to become the nation's sixteenth president.

Late in Volume II of The Prairie Years, Sandburg describes Lincoln’s trip to visit the woman who had raised him—his stepmother, Sally Bush Lincoln. The trip occurred in January 1861—after Lincoln’s election, before his inauguration.

The president-elect journeyed in ways which are hard to imagine today. “Lincoln rode to Mattoon, missed connections with a passenger train, and took the caboose of a freight train to Charleston,” Sandburg wrote. “Friends met him and took him to the house, where he was to stay overnight; the next morning he would go out to say good-bye and have his last hours with his stepmother, Sally Bush Lincoln.”

After an evening of story-telling, Sandburg imagines this:
SANDBURG: The next day Lincoln drove eight miles out to the old farm along the road over which he had hauled wood with an ox team. He came to the old log house had cut logs for and helped smooth the chinks; from its little square windows he had seen late winter and early birds.

Sally Bush and he put their arms around each other and listened to each other’s heartbeats. They held hands and talked; they talked without holding hands. Each looked into eyes thrust back in deep sockets. She was all of a mother to him.

He was her boy more than any born to her. He gave her a photograph of her boy, a hungry picture of him standing and wanting, wanting. He stroked her face a last time, kissed good-by, and went away.

She knew his heart would go roaming back often, that even when he rode in an open carriage in New York or Washington with soldiers, flags or cheering thousands along the streets, he might just as like be thinking of her in the old log farmhouse out in Coles County, Illinois.

The sunshine of the prairie summer and fall months would come sifting down with healing and strength; between harvest and corn-plowing there would be rains beating and blizzards howling; and then there would be silence after snowstorms with white drifts piled against the fences, barns, and trees.
There too, another great portrait. Lincoln, looking on cheering thousands, would be thinking of the woman who had come before.

The girls played on the lawn with their dog. Lincoln lived in that same house.

Comic relief continued: Governor Kaine inaugural lore!

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

Virginia is for bunglers:
By the end of last Thursday's convention coverage, the analysts were shaken.

"We just can't take it," one youngster cried. "Don't make us watch her any more!"

The youngsters were reacting to Maddow's latest gaffe. She'd said that Trump was the oldest nominee in the history of either party.

That statement was true, of course. But only if you forget about McCain and Dole, and even Reagan before them! For a full report, click here.

At any rate, after Maddow's Thursday night bungle, the analysts were telling us that they'd finally suffered enough.

In recent weeks, the errors have come thick and fast on the Maddow Show. That said, by Friday evening, we'd "talked the analysts down."

We'd convinced them to give Maddow and her orange-shoed program one more maddening chance. And then, just like that, the cable star struck again!

Adopting her practiced tone of world-class political expert, the cable star played videotape from Governor Tim Kaine's inauguration in 2006. After that, she offered the highlighted groaner:
KAINE (videotape): This is a glorious day! The weather is to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.

MADDOW (7/22/16): When Tim Kaine got sworn in as Virginia's governor in 2006, the state capitol was under renovation. They had to swear him in in Richmond instead of Williamsburg. It was really cold, rainy and miserable.

And Tim Kaine laughed at that. And maybe that is a good sign in a running mate for a sign of what is to be an absolutely brutal presidential election.

Joining us is Jeff Schapiro. He's a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Schapiro acted like nothing had happened. The analysts were in tears.

To state the obvious, Richmond is the capital of Virginia. It's where the state's capitol building is found.

Frankly, we had no idea how Williamsburg got into the mix. But Maddow had bungled again, and the analysts were in tears.

While the youngsters rent their garments, we skillfully checked the facts. As it turned out, Maddow's error-prone staff had gotten their basics reversed:

In 2006, when Kaine was sworn in, the capitol building was under renovation in Richmond, right where it's usually found. For that reason, the ceremony was held in Williamburg, which had served as Virginia's capital until 1780.

Nothing turned on this mistake, of course. But do these errors ever stop?

Ever since MSNBC went all pseudo-politics all the time, Maddow has fashioned herself as a savant about political history and trivia. In the past few months, this has produced an escalating series of errors, punctuated by some comical self-corrections.

Maddow's staff seems preternaturally skilled at bungling their basics. The partisan porridge Maddow serves represents a bigger problem, of course, along with her ridiculous political analyses.

By the way, Maddow's obsession with Governor Ultrasound's gifts has already helped create a problem for VP nominee Kaine. We'll get to that by the end of the week. Fun with Ferraris ahead!

Tomorrow: Alas, poor Kornacki! Also, some humorous self-corrections

HOW WE GOT HERE: Why do people hate Clinton so much!

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

Part 2—Skipping one obvious answer:
In this morning's Washington Post, Richard Cohen asks a very good question:

Why do people hate Hillary Clinton so much? Cohen offers several possible answers, steering away from one.

Why do people hate Clinton so much? Over at Slate, Michelle Goldberg decided to ask the same question. Her piece appears beneath these headlines:
The Hillary Haters
Few figures in American political life have inspired such deep and decades-long contempt. But why?
Why do people hate Clinton so much? Goldberg decided to go Cohen one better. She went out and asked an undisclosed number people why they hate Clinton so much.

In the course of her undescribed search, Goldberg turned up some of the usual suspects. She spoke with a 49-year-old Iowan who supported McCain in 2008 but now is in love with Sanders. She spoke with a 22-year-old medical student who rattled a list of "suspicious deaths" around the fiendish Clinton, who he sees as a sociopath.

(The "febrile" young man cited 47 suspicious deaths. In future years, he may not be the medical figure you want on your death panel.)

Goldberg's undescribed search took her far and wide. She even turned up a 78-year old Los Angeles songwriter "[whose] work has been recorded by Julie London, Mama Cass, and Harry Belafonte, among others."

Goldberg describes this fascinating case in some detail:
GOLDBERG (7/24/16): Like many of the people I spoke to, Rosner’s antipathy doesn’t follow a precise ideological trajectory. Now 78, she says her negative feelings about Clinton first arose during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Rosner says she was especially irritated when, in response to criticism of her work at the Rose Law Firm, Hillary said, “You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.”

“That bugged me,” says Rosner. “She was putting down regular women, people who stay home and take care of kids and bake cookies.” It’s not that Rosner was offended on behalf of housewives; she herself has always had a career. “I just thought it was a stupid comment,” she says. “I don’t think she’s as smart as most people think she is, or seem to think she is.”

Rosner also makes a fairly standard progressive case against Clinton. “I don’t like her support for the Iraq war,” she says. “She didn’t support same-sex marriage until it became a popular issue. Her email stuff—she is the only one that would not testify, and I think that’s bullshit. I don’t like her friendship with Netanyahu. I think they’ve destroyed the Middle East with Iraq. I don’t like that she takes money from big banks. She doesn’t support universal health care. For all those reasons. I think she’s more a Republican than a Democrat, and I refuse to vote for Republicans, ever.”

All the same, Rosner says she would happily vote for Joe Biden, who also voted for the Iraq war. In the Senate, Biden was known for his deep ties to the credit card industry, and as a presidential candidate, he didn’t support universal health insurance. “Yeah, Biden does not have all the positions I would like, but he has a certain kind of humanity that touches me,” she says.
Hillary-hatred can last a long time! This hater is still citing Clinton's "baking cookies" remark from March 1992. She still burns with tears of rage!

As Goldberg notes, Hillary hatred can also evade "precise ideological trajectory." When it comes to more literal politics, this particular Hillary hater cites Clinton's vote for the war resolution along with her original stance against same-sex marriage. At the same time, she'd be happy to vote for Vice President Biden, who also supported the war resolution and who also "didn’t support same-sex marriage until it became a popular issue."

Despite Biden's retrogade views, this hater likes his humanity! She hates Clinton, but likes the guy whose Senate voting record was actually somewhat less liberal.

Where does all this Hillary hatred come from? Obviously, Goldberg's search is highly anecdotal. There's no way to know how representative her Hillary haters are.

That said, Goldberg tries every theory of the case—every theory save one. Like Cohen in today's column, she is partial to the idea that sexism and misogyny are involved in the hate—and almost surely, they are.

Goldberg is also willing to entertain theories which revolve around Clinton's shortcomings. In this passage, Goldberg makes a very good point, though it doesn't really succeed as an explanation of hatred:
GOLDBERG: Most Americans, however, are not frothing partisans. For many of them, something in addition to sexism is at work in Clinton’s unpopularity—some mystery of mass media connection. There’s a reason actors do screen tests: Not everyone’s charm translates to film and video. For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in public life, people who’ve met in her person have marveled at how much more likable she is in the flesh than she is on television.
Goldberg asks an excellent question. Would Hillary Clinton have passed a "screen test" to be a major politician?

Actually, no, she probably wouldn't have passed. Her performance skills are quite limited, and she's a bit of gaffe machine. This dates back to the tone deaf "baking cookies" comment in March 1992, and to her tone deaf statement two months earlier, in which Clinton seemed to diss Tammy Wynette in her first appearance on the national stage.

We remember watching that 60 Minutes program and wondering how a Southern first lady could make such an obvious gaffe. Like many people before us, we'll suggest the obvious answer:

Bill Clinton was a highly skilled natural pol. His wife pretty much was not.

Hillary Clinton is a bit of "legacy" pol. Based on the evidence of her skills, there's no reason to think that she'd be where she is if she had been required to get there "on her own," without the initial giant boost from Bill Clinton's position.

To state the obvious, that doesn't make Hillary Clinton a bad person—and it doesn't explain the hate. So what explains the depth of the hatred? And why is she hated at all?

This is now a profoundly important question. In November, Clinton will be running against the craziest major party candidate in American history.

Her opponent is virtually allergic to truth, yet Clinton is seen as The World's Biggest Liar! For that reason, she may end up losing to this craziest candidate—for that reason, and because of all the hate.

Why is Clinton hated so much? Goldberg pretends to wonder. She considers every possible answer—every answer save one.

Tomorrow, we'll return to the obvious possible answer which Goldberg and Cohen both skipped. Why is Clinton hated so much? As it has long been decreed in the guild, Goldberg and Cohen both chose to skip one obvious part of the answer.

Tomorrow, we'll read through Goldberg's essay again, noting the possible answer she very deliberately skipped. When we do, you'll be able to see, once again, how guild members like Goldberg and Cohen may yet send Candidate Trump to the White House, helped along by the mandated silence of their many enablers and friends.

Tomorrow: The road not taken

Still coming: She lied about the Cubs and the Yanks! Also, she even lied about her own freaking name!