In a nutshell

In case you were rearranging the sock drawer or doing something similarly productive, here's what happened in Boston last night:

When it comes to convention speeches, it's difficult to say that Democrats are inconsistent. During last night's festivities at the Democrat National Convention, former vice president Al Gore, when not drifting into therapy—speak about how he has dealt with the results of the 2000 election, harped on some familiar themes.

The Republican Party, Gore thundered, favors tax breaks for their wealthy cronies, isn't interested in socialized health care, and doesn't give a hoot about Social Security. Flipping over to C—SPAN2, viewers could watch Harry S. Truman at the 1948 Democrat Convention rail against the Republican Party in Congress that apparently proposed 'a rich man's tax bill' that favors a tax cut 'for those who need it least' and penalizes 'those who need it most.' Truman also added that Republicans in Congress failed to act on his plan to spend $300 million 'to meet the education crisis.' Not only is the Democratic playbook oddly familiar, it's ancient.

Soon after Glenn Close reminded everyone that women would not be ignored, and the nine female Democratic U.S. Senators strolled by in the Parade of Pantsuits, convention chairman Bill Richardson took the podium to introduce former President Jimmy Carter. According to Richardson, if any of the delegates flew into Boston on a cheap flight, it was because of Carter's genius energy policies and his creation of another bureaucracy called the Department of Energy. Richardson claimed that Carter gave the nation 'a government as good as its people.' One wonders what in the hell we did to deserve that.

Carter immediately conveyed that he did not receive the DNC memo not to bash the President. While he did not mention the President by name, he decried 'the extremism of preemptive war.' There was not one mention of al Qaeda (Carter merely called the criminals of September 11, 2001, 'cowards'), and vague references to the Administration squandering the outpouring of love toward the United States in the wake of 9/11. He said that the United States could not lead the world 'if our leaders mislead.'

Carter said that human rights should be at the forefront of 'repudiating extremism,' that he thinks marks the Bush administration. Oddly enough, however, he did not mention the human rights of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein. Carter mentioned Hussein's name only in passing, and not even in a faint recognition that one of the most brutal dictators in the history of the world was removed by the United States, led by President Bush. What of the human rights of those who died and suffered at the boot heel of Hussein? Not a single word.

Sen. Hillary Clinton then took to the podium with the world's loudest monotone to introduce former President Bill Clinton. Her speech was, as all of her speeches are, unremarkable and unmemorable. Her spouse strode to the rostrum to the strains of 'Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow' as the crowd cheered and cheered the only elected President to have been impeached.

Clinton acted like a lecturing professor, wagging that famous finger and accusing 'their President' of using the September 11 attacks to bolster support, destroy the environment, and — hold your breath — continue to give tax cuts to the rich (a class of which Clinton did not lose any time boasting his membership). In essence, a smiling Clinton accused his successor of stepping over the bodies of 3,000 dead Americans to pass some tax breaks, help his well—oiled friends, and find out what you checked out at the library last week.

The policy wonk in Clinton could not be held back, and he recited a plethora of statistics to suggest that the Republicans and the Administration were just plain mean and wanted to slice up social programs, take tools away from the police and infuse the nation with assault weapons. He also reviewed the list of all the blessings that flowed to Americans courtesy of the Clinton administration.

Clinton bragged about Kerry's participation in what Clinton once called an immoral war, and equated his own letter—writing campaign to get out of the draft to President Bush's service flying fighter planes in the Texas National Guard. This sort of moral equivalence is par for the course for the Clinton Administration and the modern Democratic Party — facts are not essential, only perception. The Democratic Party has the unique ability to denounce and celebrate a war at the same time.

Clinton moved the crowd and proved his worth as a dynamic public speaker, managing to wrap a brutal attack on President Bush in sweet honey. The delegates in Boston cheered Clinton's speech — a camera even caught a woman openly weeping. Thinking of his own rhetorical ability, Kerry may have been doing the same.

In case you were rearranging the sock drawer or doing something similarly productive, here's what happened in Boston last night:

When it comes to convention speeches, it's difficult to say that Democrats are inconsistent. During last night's festivities at the Democrat National Convention, former vice president Al Gore, when not drifting into therapy—speak about how he has dealt with the results of the 2000 election, harped on some familiar themes.

The Republican Party, Gore thundered, favors tax breaks for their wealthy cronies, isn't interested in socialized health care, and doesn't give a hoot about Social Security. Flipping over to C—SPAN2, viewers could watch Harry S. Truman at the 1948 Democrat Convention rail against the Republican Party in Congress that apparently proposed 'a rich man's tax bill' that favors a tax cut 'for those who need it least' and penalizes 'those who need it most.' Truman also added that Republicans in Congress failed to act on his plan to spend $300 million 'to meet the education crisis.' Not only is the Democratic playbook oddly familiar, it's ancient.

Soon after Glenn Close reminded everyone that women would not be ignored, and the nine female Democratic U.S. Senators strolled by in the Parade of Pantsuits, convention chairman Bill Richardson took the podium to introduce former President Jimmy Carter. According to Richardson, if any of the delegates flew into Boston on a cheap flight, it was because of Carter's genius energy policies and his creation of another bureaucracy called the Department of Energy. Richardson claimed that Carter gave the nation 'a government as good as its people.' One wonders what in the hell we did to deserve that.

Carter immediately conveyed that he did not receive the DNC memo not to bash the President. While he did not mention the President by name, he decried 'the extremism of preemptive war.' There was not one mention of al Qaeda (Carter merely called the criminals of September 11, 2001, 'cowards'), and vague references to the Administration squandering the outpouring of love toward the United States in the wake of 9/11. He said that the United States could not lead the world 'if our leaders mislead.'

Carter said that human rights should be at the forefront of 'repudiating extremism,' that he thinks marks the Bush administration. Oddly enough, however, he did not mention the human rights of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein. Carter mentioned Hussein's name only in passing, and not even in a faint recognition that one of the most brutal dictators in the history of the world was removed by the United States, led by President Bush. What of the human rights of those who died and suffered at the boot heel of Hussein? Not a single word.

Sen. Hillary Clinton then took to the podium with the world's loudest monotone to introduce former President Bill Clinton. Her speech was, as all of her speeches are, unremarkable and unmemorable. Her spouse strode to the rostrum to the strains of 'Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow' as the crowd cheered and cheered the only elected President to have been impeached.

Clinton acted like a lecturing professor, wagging that famous finger and accusing 'their President' of using the September 11 attacks to bolster support, destroy the environment, and — hold your breath — continue to give tax cuts to the rich (a class of which Clinton did not lose any time boasting his membership). In essence, a smiling Clinton accused his successor of stepping over the bodies of 3,000 dead Americans to pass some tax breaks, help his well—oiled friends, and find out what you checked out at the library last week.

The policy wonk in Clinton could not be held back, and he recited a plethora of statistics to suggest that the Republicans and the Administration were just plain mean and wanted to slice up social programs, take tools away from the police and infuse the nation with assault weapons. He also reviewed the list of all the blessings that flowed to Americans courtesy of the Clinton administration.

Clinton bragged about Kerry's participation in what Clinton once called an immoral war, and equated his own letter—writing campaign to get out of the draft to President Bush's service flying fighter planes in the Texas National Guard. This sort of moral equivalence is par for the course for the Clinton Administration and the modern Democratic Party — facts are not essential, only perception. The Democratic Party has the unique ability to denounce and celebrate a war at the same time.

Clinton moved the crowd and proved his worth as a dynamic public speaker, managing to wrap a brutal attack on President Bush in sweet honey. The delegates in Boston cheered Clinton's speech — a camera even caught a woman openly weeping. Thinking of his own rhetorical ability, Kerry may have been doing the same.