There is a 1971 Bob Seger song “Looking Back” that emphatically talks about “too many people looking back.” The same is true today. Principal among those peering in the rear view mirror is the 2020 Democratic Party, as evidenced not only by their nominee but by the list of speakers that has been appearing at their virtual convention all week. Wednesday night was ladies night, specifically intended to appeal to women, but in general the DNC has been unabashedly about the past.
Former first lady Michelle Obama was the headliner the first night. While obviously the Democrats hope she appeals to women and minorities, an essential element of her appearance on behalf of nominee Biden was his connection to the Obama years. Interestingly she made no mention whatsoever of Kamala Harris. The not so subtle message was that if you are pining for the good old days of yesteryear, Joe is your guy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, born before the United States entered World War II, sees Biden as the vehicle for fundamental change. As an owner of three homes, the cheapest of which is worth in excess of $400,000, Sanders is fed up with how unfair the United States is and sees a guy first elected to the US Senate in 1972 and subsequently reelected six more times before spending eight years as vice president, as just the guy to set a new direction.
John Kasich, a former Republican congressman and governor, had his heyday in the 1990s, playing an essential role in brokering a budget deal that balanced the United States budget. It was an impressive feat but Kasich’s star has been considerably tarnished as his moral compass went awry. For most of his career he professed to being a strong Pro-Life advocate, including when he made his ill-fated attempt at the Republican nomination for president in 2016. When given the opportunity to save countless innocent babies however, then-Gov. Kasich vetoed the Ohio “Heartbeat Bill.” It would have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat could be detected. In fact Kasich vetoed it twice. Now the self anointed moral authority has abandoned the GOP altogether and appeared this week at the DNC to promote the most pro-abortion presidential ticket in history.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who was first elected to Congress in 1981, took to the virtual stage to speak up for Biden as the agent of change. The Democrats’ losing candidate of 2004 John Kerry, who first entered public office in 1983, popped up on screen and criticized what he termed as Trump’s blooper reel. One had to wonder when Al Gore and the ageless Walter Mondale would be making their remarks. All geared toward the future of course.
Cindy McCain, widow of the 2008 losing Republican candidate and longtime Sen. John McCain, hit the airwaves to promote Biden. The senator famously hated Trump so much that his daughter spent much of McCain’s eulogy bad mouthing the president. Apparently invoking the wishes of a guy who will have been dead two years this week is the Democrats’ idea of looking toward the future.
Former President Clinton revisited the spotlight this week as well. Literally the same day he spoke at the DNC, photos of him and Jeffrey Epstein’s 22-year-old masseuse appeared in print. I don’t want to say Clinton is old news but even allegations of his sexual misconduct go all the way back to the 1970s.
Out of all these high profile DNC speakers, where is the future? Where is the fundamental change? What people saw was ironically enough, mostly old white guys who have been feasting at the Washington, D.C., trough for decades. At the same time that the Democrats are claiming the status quo is an abject failure, virtually everyone they have trotted out on Zoom played an essential role in creating that status quo.
Except one of course. The youthful and exuberant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was given a speaking role at the DNC. Kind of. She was given 60 seconds. Apparently the power brokers in the party figured one minute was the maximum risk tolerance they could accept, minimizing the odds that she would say something crazy that dominated the next news cycle. Or quite possibly she only needed 60 seconds because even that exceeds the attention span of most of her followers.
The Democrat convention is intended to be projecting forward toward the future, providing a message of change. Why then was virtually every guest speaker simply providing a look back?
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