The president passes the baton.
Before the DNC fired up on Wednesday, a presidential story emerged. John Hinckley, who in 1981 shot Ronald Reagan and nearly killed the president, gained full release, supposedly cured of the mental illness that prompted him to shoot. In the early going at the DNC, it turned out to be a gun night of sorts.
Film producer Lee Daniels said his father, a policeman, had been shot, but did not mention the shooter. Neither did Christine Leinonen, mother of one of the Orlando victims, mention Muslim murderer Omar Mateen. The attack was an example of “gun violence.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy decried the “horrifying trajectory of cascading gun massacres,” but identified none of the shooters, such as Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farrook, Islamic terrorists who killed on behalf of ISIS. Gun violence was the problem and Hillary Clinton would “take Washington back from the gun lobby.” For their part, the Democrat big guns targeted Republican nominee Donald Trump in predictable style.
For Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Trump was a “hateful con man” who wanted to tear down the pillars of middle class security. California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome called him “defeatist and retreatist.”
California governor Jerry Brown called Trump “a fraud” in thrall to “sheer ignorance and dark fantasy” on climate change. When Brown sought the presidency in 1992, he criticized Bill Clinton for sliding work to his wife’s law firm. The Clinton Foundation dwarfs anything the Clintons had done in Arkansas, but Brown failed to mentioned it.
Brown did not take up “gun violence” but he had shown his stance as governor of California. When Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement fled to California after a gun battle in South Dakota, Brown refused to extradite him.
Former CIA director Leon Panetta was one of the few speakers to mention the violence practiced by terrorists. Panetta named ISIS and recalled the recent attack that took the life of a priest in France. Panetta said the “murderers” had to be stopped, but the response from the convention was barely audible.
“No one attacks the United States of America and gets away with it,” said Panetta, who did not outline the 2012 terrorist attack on the American compound in Benghazi. The Islamic terrorists succeeded in that attack, killing four Americans. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was about a video and shrugged off the deaths with “what does it matter?”
Yet Panetta, who worked with nine presidents, told the convention that Hillary Clinton was the “most experienced person who ever ran for president.” And she was the “only candidate with the experience, temperament and judgment” to be president, according to the former CIA boss.
In similar style, retired admiral John Hutson told the convention that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “restored our reputation in the world.” She had “the spine to be a superb commander in chief,” while Donald Trump “invited Russia to hack us” and serves as “a recruiting poster for terrorists.”
Vice President Joe Biden, known for plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock of the British Labour Party, called Hillary Clinton “smart and tough.” We are entering “the American century,” Biden said, and “we own the finish line.” Hillary Clinton, he said, “will write the next chapter.”
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who billed himself as an independent, told the convention “Hillary Clinton is the right and responsible choice in this election.” His fellow New Yorker Donald Trump was a “risky, reckless and radical choice.”
Hillary’s pick for vice president, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, said “somos todos Americanos,” no matter “how you worship or who you love,” a theme that prevailed on Monday and again drew cheers. Hillary Clinton, even in the view of some Republicans, was “a fantastic Senator.” Said Kaine, “Barack gave us hope and Hillary Clinton is ready to lead.”
Proclaiming himself “more optimistic than ever before,” President Obama told the cheering crowd he had made “health care a right for everybody.” He “brought troops home” and “delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden.” Through diplomacy, the president said, “we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
Across the nation, the president said, “marriage equality is a reality” and a U.S. Marine may now serve his country “without hiding the husband he loves.” The president did not spend much time demonizing Donald Trump, but did say that what happened in Cleveland was not Republican or conservative. Rather, it was about “fanning the flames of anger, and hate.”
In the president’s view, the country was strong and Hillary Clinton was the candidate who “believes in the future.” She had “made mistakes,” but the president did not elaborate. In similar style, he decried “the madness of Orlando or Nice,” but failed to provide details about the perpetrators.
Hillary, he said, “will defeat ISIL,” and is “fit and ready to be commander in chief.” According to the president, “there has never been anyone more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”
The president proclaimed himself “ready to pass the baton” and that had some in the crowd chanting “four more years!” In Philadelphia, the Democrats know what the deal is.