I wrote this a few days after the night she delivered the speech.
I warn you, this is gonna be a long post for a single speech even by my standards. I have a lot to say because this particular address, especially with all the surrounding scandal of this primary, seems tailor made to piss me off. And Hillary Clinton has a talent for rubbing me the wrong way even in to a degree the Bush brothers cannot. The Clintons and Bushes are good friends for those of you so convinced shes our one and only choice, our supposed great liberal savior against the likes of them and her other friend, Trump. At least Jeb is someone you can laugh at, y’know?
So…Hillary’s speech. Even her husband fell asleep to it, and really that’s all that needs to be said. There was no noticeable booing I’m sad to say, but that’s mostly because the DNC revoked credentials of Bernie supporters, and trained the Hillary loyalists to drown out any Bernie cheering with choruses of their own. Frankly, I don’t know how Hillary lives with herself. I’d love to be President too someday and institute my reforms. But if I had to steal another person’s rightful time to shine, subvert the Democratic process itself, and I knew I was losing in the polls to goddamn Donald Trump I’d be so ashamed I’d drop out for the good of the country. How the fuck do you go through with a sham like this, looking out into the crowd knowing half the audience is paid seat fillers (to keep the Bernie supporters out) that the whole convention was booed and protested, and that a solid 70% of the country hates you and doesn’t think you’re trustworthy? It must be nice being rich and connected so that when your dreams aren’t earned you can just manufacture them, as this entire convention was for her.
So, it’s no secret I strongly dislike Hillary Clinton for what she stands for and what she represents, and I think its important to be upfront about that bias. I cannot stand to see her speak. The maniacal laughter every time she’s asked a question she doesn’t want to answer, the shrill screeching tone of her voice, the obvious lies and/or double speak, the sense of entitlement…it drives me crazy. I could only stand to watch 3 of the ’16 Democratic primary debates because of it, and even then I had to constantly pause and watch something else for awhile because listening to her talk for more than say, 20 minutes at a time would make me want to throw something. No exaggeration, I could only watch this speech in 3 minute intervals without having to take a breather for a few minutes, she rubs me that bad.
I’m not the only one either. Hillary has negative charisma, as in the more people see/hear of her the more they dislike her. Every race she’s ever been in, she started high (due to name recognition) and then constantly trended downwards (as people actually got to know her.) The Clinton camp seems to know this now, which is why she’s done no press conferences or uncontrolled events. They’re worried she’ll say more entitled, out of touch or unlikable things like her “with a cloth?” gaffe or when she screamed in a Bernie supporter’s face. Also, there are rumors she’s not in good health. She had a blood clot removed from her head years ago and is at risk of a stroke. Supposedly, that’s why she was late to return to the debate stage earlier in the primaries. There were appearances where she could barely get a word out with all the coughing and hacking.
That said, I hate how Hillary begins this speech with the family shout outs. This isn’t me trying to throw every little barb I can at her; I’ve complained about this before in other candidates’ speeches. I say save the family shout outs to the end and save the “thank you ____ for moderating” to the end of debates. We’d all be a lot happier for it. You, as the candidate, need to address me and the rest of us first and focus on humanizing yourself after the fact. With Hillary though, she’s such a loathed public figure that maybe her team thought it was necessary? But even then, nobody likes Chelsea either and her introduction speech was somehow worse than her mother’s. Everyone knows you and Bill don’t like each other and that he’s a rapist, so focusing on them doesn’t humanize you. If anything, it’s a reminder that America is under the heel of an even more unlikable family of pampered above-the-law rich yuppies than even the UK with their Royal family. At least Kate and William seem to be decent people, and Princess Di for whatever her faults was a lot better at appearing sweet and sincere than Hillary.
I think it’s shitty she mentions how the children are watching and the President will be their’s too after the youth overwhelmingly chose Sanders, and Hillary’s policies of neoliberal privatization, neoconservative war-mongering and exporting fracking will absolutely doom our financial and ecological future. We will be the ones paying off the unfair student loans burdened on us by the boomers, we will pay off the wars of the Bushes and Clintons of this world, and we will grow up in a post-Bill of Rights world because of people like Hillary Clinton. Assuming her primary rigging becomes the new standard (and why not? She got away with it, didn’t she?) we will ALSO be the first generation born into a post-democratic America. But yeah, keep trying to convince us you’re good for the children, Hillary. Yeah, remind me some more about how offensive Trump is and how he’s the one setting a bad example.
Around this point the camera pans to Sanders looking a depressing combination of sad, embittered, and defeated. In my opinion, after the wikileaks came out, he should never have endorsed her. He should have rescinded his endorsement, called upon the Super delegates to choose someone who wasn’t mired in scandal and losing in match-up polls to Trump, and then washed his hands of this whole sorry charade. I know Bernie did what he believed was best, but by letting Clinton railroad him like that, he effectively snuffed out his own revolution and set the precedent that this can happen again with no blow-back. I truly believe this is the beginning of the end for fair and just elections in America, since no one from the media to her primary opponents took a divisive stand against the tampering. That’s one of many reasons why it baffles me to hear everyone say that Hillary is the lesser of two evils. She’s just as bad if not worse than Trump could ever hope to be, just in a less obvious and arguably more sinister way. It’s amazing too, how even when she’s supposedly giving Bernie a compliment in how much he’s inspired people, she still sounds like a condescending old matron. The tone of her voice, if not the circumstantial evidence, just screams “I could give less of a fuck about you, but I need your supporters so here’s some petty lip-service.”
I know I said I wouldn’t call out every lie, but when she says “your cause is our cause” and mentioned the platform (which she only cribbed together by being forced to steal his ideas to remain competitive) I vomited a little. HILLARY HAS A HUGE TELL FOR WHEN SHE’S LYING. Seriously, keep watching for this, I’ve noticed it myself. Whenever she lies, her eyes bulge out and usually she shakes her head as well. It’s something I picked up on watching interviews. (It’s so transparent that it makes me furious to think new media outlets don’t peg her on this.) And her eyes are bugging out like mad when she says all this bullshit to us Sanders supporters.
I’m sick of hearing about the Revolutionary War. I’ve complained about how often it’s taught through school at the expense of more recent history like the systematic destruction of the Left, from the Red Scare to Organized Labor losing representation in the 70s, to Reagan shutting down the air traffic controllers’ protests. Or the Business Plot, creation of the FED, and Streetcar Scandal. Or Goldwater and McGovern’s campaigns and their legacies for the entire political spectrum. Referencing something so obvious as the First Continental Congress does nothing for me personally anymore. I guess it’s a savvy move to bring up for most though, but like everything Hillary does it’s just so tone deaf. Trying to sound young and hip (“stick it to the king!”) and referencing the need to compromise after subverting the democratic process, and talking about powerful forces keeping us from working together when she is that powerful force (or one of them at least.) But of course, she’s framing that “powerful force of division” as Trump and only Trump. Seriously, not even 10 minutes in and ALREADY we’re on Trump. I’ve never seen an election where both parties were so desperate, so bankrupt of principles, that 90% of their speeches are reminding us how evil the other candidate is.
Later, Hillary also stoops to another low blow. Again, this isn’t me trying to twist everything she does as underhanded; I’ve called this tactic out before every time I see it because it pisses me off to no end. She tries to frame Trump as some kind of asshole because “he says he can fix it. Isn’t he forgetting about our soldiers and police officers and fire fighters and doctors and nurses, and entrepreneur and mothers…!” (And good plumbers.) Ugh. Fuck off with that bullshit. That’s such an easy, lazy, tactic that never helps anything. That line of attack could literally be thrown against anything your opponent does, which again just shows how useless it is. Bush II used it against Kerry a couple times at the 2004 debates, sometimes literally when Kerry just said he wants to HELP the troops “he says help is on the way, what does that say to our troops?!?” I hate it when politicians fall back on emotional appeals, pointless “gotcha!” moments, troop-worshiping bullshit like this and just once I want to see someone with power call them out on it.
At this point, about halfway in, I really wish Hillary had hired a vocal coach or something. God knows she can afford it and every other aspect of her and her campaign is manufactured to hell. But she has a very trademarked awkward delivery in her speeches. The pauses, the tone, and the way her voice rises when she wants to make a big zinger line. It’s just a very unnatural delivery. It makes her very hard to listen to. It’s not all her fault; men have a speaking advantage over women where they can raise their voices without sounding shrill. This may be objective observation or it may also be ingrained sexism in our subconscious, but when a man yells we tend to think “wow, what a strong leader” when women yell we tend to think “ugh, shut up, you’re really annoying.” But still, I never felt that way personally when I was listening to Ferraro’s speech, Palin’s, Warren, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or any other women in politics. I really think it’s about working with what you have and Hillary STILL hasn’t bothered to adjust her style to best suit her vocal range and speaking patterns. When she talks like this it alternates between sounding like a nagging mom to that bitchy “let me speak to your manager!!!” customer at McDonalds. One notable example of her abysmal speaking pattern comes around 30 minutes in when she talks about how “when barriers fall it clears the way for everyone.” The way she says that last word is so unnaturally drawn out it’s like listening to a Google Now or GPS voiceover and she has a lot of moments like that.
Only at about 30 minutes in, after all the Trump fear mongering and “yeah, broke the glass ceiling!” pandering and family shout outs does she finally start to get into policy. I think it will be a hard sell, as the wife of NAFTA signer Bill and against Trump, for her to frame herself as the “good jobs for the middle class” candidate as she’s trying to do. I also don’t think it was wise to mention “our democracy isn’t functioning the way IT should” (complete with weird emphasis on “it.”) A lot of these DNC speeches were completely tone deaf to the rigged primary and how we all knew about it. It perfectly illustrates how out of touch and careless these people governing us are, and how empty their rhetoric truly is. I *DO* believe Hillary when she says she’s against Citizens United though. I honestly do, as it was a ruling against her in the first place and even Obama for all his shortcomings has been consistently and believably against it. But this one kernel of truth is hidden in a mountain of bullshit about reigning in Wall Street and other typical pandering talking points we all know are gonna fly out the window in office.
The single biggest cringe here is when she says “I believe in science!” and then you can just barely hear her mic pick up a “tee hee hee” little old lady/Professor Umbridge laugh. Really, I never noticed it before but the resemblance is uncanny. And I think that’s partially why a lot of this “lesser of two evils”/”gotta stop Trump!” appeals to fear are falling so flat this year. Even if she’s hardly the worst antagonist of all time, Umbridge is one of the most hated ever. Because we all know an Umbridge, and every Umbridge is an insufferable power-hungry, holier-than-thou, brown-nosing, authoritarian personality, piece of shit. Trump though, is like Doctor Evil or Gordon Gekko. He’s so over the top that it’s comical to behold and makes him entertaining and even likable to some people. Or, like Gekko, people see him not as a bad person but a really smart businessman who’s simply mastered the rigged game. People laugh at Dr. Evil, they admire Gekko…but they loathe Umbridge. That’s why Clinton is losing a lot of people, and that’s why many don’t see her as the lesser of two evils.
A lot of speeches have a repeated talking point, or chorus. The best example I can think of, and my favorite is (who else but) McGovern with his “come home, America” in his own DNC acceptance speech. Hillary’s is “join us.” Ugh. It’s like her own stupid slogan “I’m with her” and Warren’s speech at the DNC with “Hillary will do it, and I’m with her!” It’s the exact type of egotism and building-everything-around-yourself she criticized Trump for earlier. And then she goes right back to attacking him. Usually the dirty work of smearing the opposition is left to surrogates and the nomination speeches are used solely to build yourself up and outline your vision. Some will dismiss this with “yeah, but Trumps so evil that she has to do it!!!” but I see it as rank evidence of what a hallow candidate she is. Even her own coronation is dominated by Trump. “No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans. I on the other hand, love talking about mine!” yeah, whatever you say Hillary. When’s your next press conference again?
It’s really rich of her to accuse TRUMP of not being able to handle a campaign. Say what you will about him, but he fought hard against insurmountable odds to win the Republican primary. He won it through innovative campaigning, putting himself out there to interview anytime, anywhere and saying what was on his mind and accepting the blow back. Hillary hasn’t had a press conference all year, relied on backdoor deals and corruption to snuff out a popular reformer, and tailor made her image to be as unoffensive as possible. You can criticize Trump for many things but this is not one of them, and it’s the height of hypocrisy for her especially to do so. The famous line after this speech “a man you can bait with a tweet should not be trusted with nuclear weapons” might have been a great attack ad coming from someone else. “We can not afford to have a President who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby!” No Hillary, but one in the pocket of Wall Street, big pharma, media conglomerates and Big Oil will do just fine!
Overall, this was just an awful speech. Terrible shrill robotic delivery. Terrible optics/gaffes because of the scandals and collusion surrounding her and this primary. Hypocritical attacks that collapse if you know anything about her. Annoying appeals to lowest common denominator history and the troops. Unprecedented move spending over half the speech focusing YET AGAIN on Trump, repeating the same stupid attacks against him we’d heard a million times by now before and even throughout the entire convention itself. No real actionable promises just more empty lip service and appeals to minorities. Terrible zingers like “love trumps hate” and “America is great because America is good” which don’t even make sense.
The tragedy of this election is, had the Democrats let things play out and Bernie won the primary (which I’m starting to be convinced he would have without the collusion) or had the super delegates done their jobs and kept a weak candidate from going forward this might have been the greatest election since 1932 for the liberal cause. This could have been a repeat of 1972 with a law and order, southern strategy candidate vs a progressive…except with the results switched and the progressive winning in a landslide. This could have been the beginning of a realignment towards the left. Instead, it seems this election will mirror 1968. The law and order, southern strategy Republican vs the establishment favorite, a flowery bullshitter no one was excited about who will probably go on to lose a close election. The realignment now looks to be about globalism vs nationalism and authoritarianism vs libertarianism, not a push back from the progressive left as I was hoping. Hillary and the DNC almost certainly doomed the cause for another generation, all the while shaming us to get in line. [This just in from the future: Yep, that’s exactly what happened.]