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Live from DNC: Hillary the Angry Populist, Part II (Day 3)

Clinton's speech was very environment-friendly: it was all recycled.

by
Robert Stacy McCain

Bio

August 27, 2008 - 11:44 am

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s big speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention had a familiar ring to those who covered the former First Lady during the primaries.

Once she had name-checked Barack Obama, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and Bill Gwatney, Hillary said, “I ran for President to renew the promise of America,” and then went into a laundry list of promises recycled from the latter phase of her campaign.

After falling behind Obama in the delegate count, Hillary ditched her above-it-all demeanor and resorted to a fiery populist style that recalled Hubert Humphrey during the 1972 campaign, when the Democrat’s shameless promise-a-minute rhetoric caused gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson to dismiss Humphrey as “a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack.”

Philip Klein of the American Spectator called it Hillary’s “Say Anything” campaign. By May, Klein observed, Clinton was “staking her candidacy on a barrage of policy proposals that are completely untenable, and focused mainly on inciting middle class anger toward a carefully chosen list of enemies.”

This neo-populist message was what Hillary recycled in her speech Tuesday: “a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs … a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable … a world class education system and make college affordable again … an America defined by deep and meaningful equality … promoting unionization … bring fiscal sanity back to Washington … end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.”

She also promised “to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges,” including global warming. Perhaps recycling her campaign rhetoric was part of that effort.

CONVENTION UNSEEN:

If you couldn’t make it to Denver, you’re not really missing much in terms of politics. In fact, the convention site might be the worst place to watch the convention.

The convention is a “made for TV event,” progressive blogger David Goldstein said. “Being a political junkie and seeing almost every convention on TV since I was five years old, I almost feel like I’m missing this one being on the floor.”

Access to the Pepsi Center is overrated, says Goldstein, a Seattle resident who is one of the “50 state” bloggers credentialed to cover the convention.

“It’s kind of like going to a football game,” he said. “It’s really exciting, but you can really watch the game better on TV. So I can see the reaction of the crowd, but I have no idea how this is playing to the millions of Americans watching at home.”

BATTLING BULLHORNS:

Tuesday afternoon, the Revolutionary Communist Party showed up on 16th Street and did an impromptu counterprotest of a pro-life demonstration. The pro-lifers had apparently timed their protest to coincide with Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Emily’s List gala at the Sheraton Hotel. Kaitlin Mahoney spent an hour engaged in a bullhorn duel with the RCP activists. Whatever the relative merits of communism and the right to life, the noise was an annoyance to diners at the streetside Capitol Bar at the Sheraton.

Robert Stacy McCain is co-author (with Lynn Vincent) of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party . A frequent contributor to the American Spectator, he blogs at The Other McCain.
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