Conclusions I reached during the two weeks of conventions:
• There is not an American alive who could beat Bill Clinton in an election. There aren't a whole lot of dead ones, either, although I think a Ronald Reagan-Bill Clinton race would be entertaining as all hell.
Clinton took Romney and Ryan and the entire Republican Party behind the woodshed and beat the livin' piss out of 'em. He exposed them for what they are—out of touch with the dwindling middle class, with the principles of balancing a budget (about which Mr. Clinton will forever be able to boast) and, quite often, with the truth.
The two words I was happiest to hear come out of President Clinton's mouth were "hate" and "arithmetic." He used the latter to explain what he and the Republican
Congress used to balance the budget back in the late1990s.
It's clever, because "arithmetic" is even more basic than "math." The only people who can't do arithmetic (as in balancing a runaway budget requires spending cuts and tax increases) are those who don't want to do arithmetic.
His use of the word "hate" was especially important. As mentioned in this column recently, many people on the right (and/or in the Tea Party movement) really hate the president, a fact that is indisputable and quite disturbing. There have been bad presidents from both parties. Richard Nixon was a megalomaniacal clod; Jimmy Carter wasn't up to the job; Bill Clinton signed the bill abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act; and George W. Bush got us into two unnecessary and protracted wars, pushed through an incredibly expensive Medicare prescription program and, at the same time, delivered huge tax cuts when he should have been raising taxes to pay for everything. All of them were wrong in one way or another, but none was hated in huge numbers like Barack Obama.
I wonder why that is.
• Sean Hannity is a dishonest little twerp. All through the spring and early summer, he railed about how President Obama was going to raise a billion dollars for his re-election campaign, calling it unfair and ridiculous. But then Romney pulled ahead in fundraising, and ever since, not a word from Hannity about money. What happened to all that talk about how big money was going to distort the political process? Hypocrite.
On the day of President Obama's acceptance speech, the Dems moved the speech from a football stadium to the convention arena, citing weather concerns. The right jumped on this, claiming that the Obama people were concerned that the president would be speaking to a half-full stadium. Quite honestly, we'll never know. Hannity, not content to have fun with that, went on the radio and claimed that the chances of rain in Charlotte, N.C., that day were "ZERO." I went online to different weather sites, and they all said that the chances were at least 50 percent. You know that somebody has gone around the bend when he makes false statements that are easily looked up and refuted.
It did indeed rain in Charlotte that day, and there were thunderstorms in the area for hours. Something called The Washington Times reported that the rain let up just before the end of the president's speech, which proves ... what?
As a point of reference, that same day, much of Tucson was blasted by storms. Some parts of town got 2 inches of rain. Power was knocked out; washes ran deep; there were more than a dozen calls for swift-water rescues.
Officially, Tucson (at the airport) received a trace of rain that day.
• If you're going to make a big deal out of the president's middle name (Hussein), then fairness dictates that you also use Mitt Romney's first name, which is Willard. I'm sorry, but Willard is way creepier than Hussein, even if you don't know anything about the rat movie from the 1970s.
The only cool Willard I've ever known about was the character that the late Chris Penn played in the original Footloose. And he wasn't even all that cool, seeing as how he dated Sarah Jessica Parker, and he couldn't dance.
• Being the smartest person in the room (or at least having other people think you are) is a double-edged sword. Faux-intellectual jock-sniffers seem willing to convey that honor upon Paul Ryan, whether he deserves it or not. When the smartest person in the room says something, he is generally given the benefit of the doubt, because he's so freakin' smart. But when something he said is repeatedly shown to have been false, he gets no benefit of the doubt whatsoever. A dumb guy could have just made a mistake; the smart guy doesn't make mistakes. He lies.
Where I come from, the three things you didn't want to be were cheap, disloyal or a liar. The Republicans have shown that they view being cheap as a virtue. Judging by the way they treated the previous two GOP presidents, disloyalty is not that big a thing, either. But they should care about lying, because, in politics, if you've gotta lie, your argument is broken.
• Finally, if you weren't choked up by Gabrielle Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance, you need to get off the planet, because you're dragging the rest of us down.