Denver is the New 'Windy City'

Attention, T. Boone Pickens: we may have discovered a source for the wind needed to power all those windmills you want to build. Several of the biggest blowhards in politics spoke to adoring Democrats in Denver last night. When you have to listen to Chuck Schumer, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden all in one night, that’s a lot of bloviating.

Clinton’s speech was somewhat less narcissistic than I had expected, but it was embarrassingly cliché-ridden in its praise of Barack Obama. But then, that is what it is going to take to sell voters on the idea of electing a completely unqualified candidate with no experience. The verbosity with which Clinton touted his candidate was almost comical.

Obama, we were assured, will be a combination of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Superman. According to Bubba, President Obama will stop nuclear proliferation, eradicate poverty, bring an end to HIV/AIDS, reverse global warming, cure bad hair days, get everyone in the world a job, and make all the bad people in the world play nice. Oh, and if those bad people don’t want to play nice, Obama will make ‘em!

The world’s problems, Clinton intoned, “Cry out for American ideas and American innovation, and when Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets and create wonderful new jobs for our own people.” What a guy!

Ignoring the effects of the recession he handed George Bush, followed by the attacks of 9/11, Clinton bragged about the economy during his own eight years in the White House as contrasted with the last eight years, which Clinton characterized as divisive and filled with fear.

Clinton did what was expected of him, throwing red meat and bellicose lies into the crowd while pretending he was happy about the fact that he was not going to be moving back into the White House next year.

Biden was introduced by his son, Beau, the attorney general of Delaware and a National Guard officer about to be deployed to Iraq. A video also was played in advance of Biden’s speech. A happy warrior, Biden has an admittedly compelling personal story. However, his tendency to insert his foot in his mouth on the campaign trail does not bode well for Barack Obama.

Biden’s speech was laced with smarmy smirks and partisan attacks, but he also showed why he will be a formidable debate opponent for whomever John McCain selects as his running mate. Biden is the third most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, after Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy; but his devotion to his family will go a long way toward persuading the average voter of his decency and sincerity. Fortunately, the vice presidential nominee rarely brings many votes to the ticket.

In between the two speeches, a remarkable film about our troops was played, followed by a disabled female Iraq war veteran, who spoke movingly about what should be done for our veterans. It was remarkable because it was a wonderful tribute to those who have bravely fought the war in Iraq, but even more so because it was used as a cynical attack on our nation’s current policy. Under the tired guise of “supporting the troops but not the war,” this ploy was one of the low points of the convention so far.

One strange contradiction this week in Denver is the perpetual praise of hard work and perseverance by a party that tells Americans to ask not what we can do for our country, but what our country can do for us.

Wednesday night was by far the most interesting night of the convention so far, but Obama is going to have to work hard to come out of this week with a bounce. And with the Republicans gearing up in St. Paul next week, that’s going to be a tall order.