The astute, muscular heart of the president's speech last night:
Look, Hillary's got her share of critics. She's been caricatured by the right and by some folks on the left; accused of everything you can imagine – and some things you can't. But she knows that's what happens when you're under a microscope for 40 years. She knows she's made mistakes, just like I have; just like we all do. That's what happens when we try. That's what happens when you're the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described – not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone "who is actually in the arena... who strives valiantly; who errs... [but] who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement."
Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She's been there for us – even if we haven't always noticed. And if you're serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You've got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn't a spectator sport. America isn't about "yes he will." It's about "yes we can." And we're going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that's what the moment demands.
One of the great film noirs is The Night of the Hunter from 1955, starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. This reading by director Charles Laughton features some of the film's hauntingly beautiful cinematography and music as the children flee down the river. I needed a break from current affairs yesterday, and this artistry from a dark film was restorative. Evil can be overcome.
The Night of the Hunter was not a success with either audiences or critics at its initial release, and Laughton never directed another film. Nevertheless, the film has found a wider audience over the years, and Mitchum's performance, in particular, has been praised.
The film was shot in black and white in the styles and motifs of German Expressionism (bizarre shadows, stylized dialogue, distorted perspectives, surrealistic sets, odd camera angles) to create a simplified and disturbing mood that reflects the sinister character of Powell, the nightmarish fears of the children, and the sweetness of their savior Rachel.
An exhilarating moment last night in Philadelphia. President Obama gave the best speech of his career, and Hillary came out to thank him.
Obama delivered one of the finest lines of the convention:
The American Dream is something no wall can ever contain.
My new Blade column gapes at Trump's fascist rally in Cleveland, as well as the growing scandal over Russian interference in the American election. And I examine the sharp contrast between the two parties' vice presidential candidates. Have a gander while you watch self-defeating leftists trying to sabotage the proceedings in Philadelphia.
Our friend John Becker writes on Facebook (reprinted here with permission):
SHAME -- The chants of "lock her up!" from the delegates and speakers at this week's Republican National Convention are disgraceful and baseless and chilling enough, but now we have a surrogate for and adviser to Donald Trump going even further: he's calling for Hillary Clinton's execution.
That's right, they're calling for the execution of their political opponents now. That's something that happens in dictatorships, not democracies.
Republican friends, let me be perfectly clear: if you do not immediately, explicitly, unequivocally, and loudly condemn and repudiate this hateful ugliness, you are tacitly condoning your party's dangerous slide into the evils of authoritarian fascism. Period.
There can be no hedging on this, no sitting on fences. How you choose to respond will reveal whose side you are on. I'll be watching.
So the fascist rally broadcast from Cleveland Monday night included plagiarized material from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, music from Freddie Mercury, and America portrayed as a crime-ridden hellscape when crime is down and the economy has significantly improved over the last Republican administration. Even with the sound muted, Rudy Giuliani looked like a madman. The prospective First Lady, aside from being given stolen material to read, showed herself to have a weaker command of English than many of the other immigrants whom her husband attacks. The Democratic candidate was condemned over Benghazi despite nine investigations having found nothing on her, demonstrating again that we are in a post-factual age. What we did not see were policy proposals. Just appeals to the mob.
On Tuesday evening, I could not bear to un-mute my TV to hear what Jeff Sessions was saying in his nomination speech for Trump, but he was grinning like an idiot. One of Donald Trump's sons said, "He will be a great father to this nation." Pardon me, but that is not the job he is running for. One speaker said, "Experience counts." Who was he talking about? Certainly not the Republican presidential nominee.
MSNBC cut into a speech by the president of Standard Waterproofing (seriously, that is typical of their lineup) so Chris Matthews could interview Giuliani. What a painful choice that must have been. They should have interviewed someone with diarrhea from the norovirus that's going around the convention. That would have been more interesting.
Seriously, Uncle Ben last night linked Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. What a sad spectacle he has made of himself, wrecking a once-shining reputation. But keep talking, Doctor. Don't pivot to the general election. Keep the crazy on display.
The Tina Fey of 2016 has emerged, and it is our best girl, @LauraBenanti. Now I have something to look forward to during the rest of this campaign. Brava, Laura. You nailed it. My favorite moment is her squinting at the teleprompter.