Hi everybody, I’m going to liveblog Hillary Clinton’s speech. I’m in a weird position. I don’t have wifi yet in my house (coming on Friday!) and the nearby coffeeshops close early. So I’m in a nearby gym. They have CNN on mute, but I’m following the audio feed online. It’s delayed by about 40 seconds for some reason. I’m going to put a timestamp on my rolling posts here, in Central time, but they won’t be accurate. Just letting you know. I’ll approve your comments as fast as I can.
9:18 — I like Ross Douthat’s pre-speech comment. People are saying that HRC can’t top Obama’s optimism last night. Ross says she shouldn’t try to, but instead should go a little dark. Excerpts:
The cold reality of American politics in the year 2016 is that most people don’t seem to share President Obama’s sweeping optimism about the country’s future. When Ronald Reagan gave his own “morning in America” ad in 1984, half the country was satisfied with the country’s direction. Today the same number, from Gallup’s polling, is 17 percent.
This isn’t just a Trumpista phenomenon, and it isn’t just a reaction to Trump’s rise. Fear of his demagogy may have pushed the “wrong track” numbers somewhat higher, but a general dissatisfaction with the American trajectory has been a hallmark of the Obama era. The last time more than 40 percent of Americans said the country was on the right track was a month after the president’s re-election, and the wrong track number was stuck above 60 percent well before Trump’s primary-season ascent.
True, electing Trump to deal with these problems seems far more likely hasten any unraveling than to reverse it. But President Obama and his party, in the course of defending his legacy this week, have struggled to acknowledge the legitimacy of American anxiety, the depth of disappointment and discontent.
If there’s anything that Hillary Clinton can try to do that Obama did not, it’s to show that she understands these fears as something more than atavism or paranoia, to promise something more than just a continuation of this administration’s approach to leadership, to demonstrate that she’s prepared to lead a country that many, many people feel is somehow out of joint.
9:28 I’ve not been able to watch the convention this week, but I have to say, these images of Hillary coming onto stage to start her speech are really powerful. She looks genuinely overwhelmed by what’s happening to her — very human. The mood set by these images and the music is such a stunning contrast to the Trump speech. Really a lot of energy here. Very, very well staged.
9:31: But boy, does Bubba look old and worn out.
9:36 Nice lines making peace with Bernie.
9:38 — “We are stronger together.” Leaving aside how divisive the Democrats have been, as a rhetorical strategy, she’s doing a good job drawing a strong contrast between herself and Trump. It’s striking — it’s really striking — how things have changed. It’s the Democratic Party talking about optimism and faith in America now. Wow.
9:45 — You know, of course, that I find this kind of rhetoric grating, especially coming from a liberal Democrat, and especially coming from a liberal Democrat as divisive as HRC. But the image she’s creating for herself, and the contrast with Trump, is winning.
“Don’t believe anyone who says ‘I alone can fix it.'” Isn’t he forgetting troops, nurses, firefighters, teachers, et al.? she says. This is good stuff, making Trump out to seem selfish, unpatriotic, a strongman in the making.
9:48: Again, talking rhetorical effect, not policy, this is so much more attractive than Trump’s affect. How in the hell did the Republicans allow Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton! — to be in the position to come across as Reaganesque?!
9:51: Powerful contrasts with Trump. HRC talking about how her mother suffered as a poor girl, and how a teacher helped her, resonates with me. That’s exactly what happened to my mom. Look, I cannot imagine voting for a social radical like Hillary, but this speech makes her incomparably more attractive than Trump. It’s killing the conservative in me that this is happening. The Republican Party is dead at the national level.
9:55 — The thing is, I’m much more of a nationalist than a globalist. HRC is a total globalist. This speech is not really who she is. If the Republicans had a candidate this year who was a nationalist, but who seemed confident and normal, not a blustering bully, they would beat her. She’s owning the middle. The suburbs are going to go for her if she keeps this up through the fall. Saying she’s going to be a president for all Americans, even those who don’t vote for her, is potent, and is another strong contrast with Trump. Do I believe her? Not at all! But it doesn’t matter. Image is everything. Michael Deaver had this all figured out in the early 1980s, serving Reagan.
Clinton’s white garb reflects her transformation into an even more powerful wizard, a la Gandalf.
— Jeffrey Young (@JeffYoung) July 29, 2016
10:03 — “I believe that Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.” Oh, please! The Goldman Sachs candidate? The one paid skrillions for giving Wall Street speeches?
10:06 — When HRC starts talking about what she believes, that’s when reality kicks in. Militant liberalism, delivered by a hectorer. That’s the Hillary we know. How very, very lucky she is that her opponent is even more painful to listen to than she is.
10:08 — College tuition free for the middle class? I know that’s something Bernie pushed on her, but good grief, they’re going to spend us into oblivion if given the chance. Great line about Trump ignoring his debts, though.
10:09 — I wonder how many people at home know how bloody rich the Clintons have become since the left office. This economic populism of hers is phony. She’s the Davos candidate. She really is.
Hillary Clinton calls for overturning of ‘Citizens United,’ which overruled gov’t censorship of a film critical of…Hillary Clinton.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 29, 2016
10:12: I think this is good stuff, pointing out how Trump screwed over working people, and how Trump’s a hypocrite on having his branded stuff made overseas. But I’ve gotta say, when Hillary descended from her boffo opening to Democratic boilerplate, she lost a lot of steam.
Foreign policy section of speech includes nothing about anything Clinton did as SoS. It’s telling that she doesn’t cite her own record
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) July 29, 2016
10:16 — This speech is turning into a Democratic kitchen sink. Losing focus.
10:18 — Good point. Trump is a poor person’s idea of a rich person:
Trump licenses his name for stuff made elsewhere because American manufacturing is expensive & high-quality, and Trump’s a downscale brand.
— Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson) July 29, 2016
10:18: “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” She should say this every time she gives a speech. This is the thing that scares people about Trump. OK, it’s what scares me most about Trump.
10:22: I agree with her strongly about what a cruel pig Trump can be with his language. “Here’s the sad truth: there is no other Donald Trump. This is it.” Good line.
10:25 — This.
Trump allows Hillary to say, essentially, “Sure, there’s 100 things you don’t like about me. But, come on, really?” Value of this: it’s true
— alexmassie (@alexmassie) July 29, 2016
10:27: Not a great speech, but a solid one, and I think she helped herself with this speech. Strong contrast with Trump. Listening to this as a conservative was incredibly depressing, for the reason Alex Massie identifies. Who would have thought that the Republicans would have allowed Hillary Clinton to occupy the sensible, sane middle in American politics? I’m not talking policy; she’s going to be the most left-wing president America has ever had, and she is going to be a very divisive president too. But she is likely to be the next president because come on, really.
I need a drink. Of hemlock. Over and out, folks. I’ll be back online in the morning.