I had assured Dan McCarthy that I would blog about the Democratic convention last night. But I kept finding myself distracted from the speeches.
There were baseball games on, after all.
And I found very quickly that my judgement reflected that of Daniel Larison here, and Matt Lewis here. In short, I think the Democrats’ first speakers were more effective advocates of Obama than last week’s counterparts were for Romney. But, I thought the focus on culture war politics would not help them, and in fact could turn off a few persuadable voters.
I’m not the only one who is complaining about the unreal quality of our politics.
And just as the disgust was rising up within me I would turn to watch the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. Or to the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. Unlike what is happening beneath the bunting in Charlotte, this is a show that is put on to appeal to me. It has rules. And they are recognized by everyone. If the Yankees fail to score more runs than the Rays, all the newspapers will reflect that fact. There is no bias in sports journalism that allows journalistic factions to argue that in fact, the Rays lost, or that at least they lost among single-soccer moms who care about security issues.
I watched with a kind of awe yesterday as Debbie Wasserman Shultz was exposed for telling a lie to a group of Jewish Democrats. She said, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.” She was referring to the suggestion by some hawkish Republicans that Obama was allowing “daylight” between Israel’s policies and U.S. policies in the Middle East. According to Shultz, this was not just a lie, but one that hurt the interests of Israel, according to the Ambassador.
The Ambassador denied this strenuously. And when confronted on Fox News about it, Debbie Wasserman Shultz denied ever saying this, and blamed the Washington Examiner for twisting her words. This was a lie to cover up the initial lie. The Examiner quickly produced the audio recording of her actually lying about the Ambassador. A bravura performance from Schultz, really.
So if that isn’t enough to make your jaw hurt. Just think of what Shultz is getting at. “DWS”, as she is known, is arguing that to even suggest that the U.S. could be more closely aligned with Israel is to undermine the closeness of the alignment in a way that is dangerous for the Jewish state. Just transpose a different issue: “To even suggest that Soviet state could be more thoroughly communist is a danger to communism.” You see what I’m getting at. This is just bent. Everyone is talking about Debbie’s fibbing. But what about the refried nonsense that the lie was supposed to convey?
Another political reporter emailed me last week and said, “[Politics] is like sports for stupid people who think they’re much smarter than sports fans.”
So, to sum up: The Yankees have squandered a ten-game division lead and after their loss last night, they are tied with the Baltimore Orioles, with the Tampa Bay Rays just 1.5 games behind. It should be a great September.
I promise, I’ll try harder the rest of this week, Dan.