Why's everybody always picking on him? He's a winner!

President Obama gave one hell of a speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, laying out the case for Hillary Clinton's qualifications as a candidate and preparing to pass the baton. It was Barry at his best, funny, moving, inspiring. And, considering that truckloads of Republicans have been accusing him of being a tyrant who rules by executive order and ignores the Constitution, Obama seemed especially concerned to point out that Donald Trump wouldn't just be a bad president because he lies and cheats. No, Trump would be a terrible president because his vision of governing is un-American. It had to be rather satisfying, considering Trump's idiotic suggestions five years ago that Barack Obama wasn't really American. You want not authentically American? Look at this Trump guy.

Here's the whole speech, in case you missed it, because it rocked. Barry starts hitting the Trump stuff about 19 minutes in:

Obama's attack on Trump started lightly enough: "You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He's not really a facts guy, either." And then he started getting to the substance of Trump's claim to competence:

He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who've achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who's spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? Hey, if so, you should vote for him.

But those were just the job qualifications. Obama had bigger concerns about Trump's vision thing, especially the parts where Trump likes to present himself as some kind of one-man Savior of America, a good old caudillo on a white horse, or a gold escalator at least. And that's not how America works, Obama said:

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump.


In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election, the meaning of our democracy.

Here's where Barack Obama's speech differed from the earlier attacks on Trump. Where most of the week's other slams on Donald Trump have been at the man's personal incompetence, his lies, or his double-dealing, Obama went straight to the problem of Trumpism: It's not how America works. In a lovely twist on a theme brought up by Trump's primary opponents, Obama said Trumpism isn't a Republican or even a conservative vision:

Ronald Reagan called America "a shining city on a hill." Donald Trump calls it "a divided crime scene" that only he can fix. It doesn't matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they've been in decades, because he's not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He's just offering slogans, and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

And that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We are not a fragile people, we're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled.

As a guy who's been accused of attempting to impose his will on the poor oppressed masses of America, Obama had to relish the irony: Here's a guy who's actually promising one-man rule, with immediate order to be imposed on a supposedly lawless America.

And if you thought Captain James T. Kirk gave an impressive reading of the preamble to the Constitution in the 23rd Century, you have to be impressed by how well our own Vulcan president pulled it off. Way better than some Canadian actor:

Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that we the people can form a more perfect union. That's who we are. That's our birthright, the capacity to shape our own destiny [...]

America has never been about what one person says he'll do for us. It's about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard and slow and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government. And that's what Hillary Clinton understands.

We know we've been relying on Linus Van Pelt a lot the past few days, but here he is again, turning to the Republican candidate and saying, "That's what a constitutional republic is all about, Charlie Brownshirt."

Republicans weren't entirely delighted with the speech, especially the contrast between Ronald Reagan's rhetoric and Trump's. Rich Lowry was particularly butthurt, which made us smile:

Excuse me, sir, but As Captain Kirk said in 1968, those things aren't just Yang Worship Words. They don't belong to you in the first place (ehh, you can have the Exceptionalism myth -- that was coined by Joe Stalin anyway). That's kind of the point.

Obama had one last rhetorical blast for Trump, and it was a doozy, considering the list that preceded it. After talking about the values that make Americans so darn American, Obama summed up:

America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me, they haven't gone anywhere...What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what's in here. That's what matters. [...]

That's why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

That's not a list you want to be in.

The Trump campaign responded with a pathetic three-paragraph statement that accused Wednesday's DNC speakers of "[resorting] to the politics of fear." Yep, they really said that. Incidentally, the critique contained no details whatsoever.

Let's go out with that other reading of the preamble we like. It's no Barry Bamz, but even as sci-fi cheese, it captures the spirit a lot better than the Trumpster does:

[WaPo / Vox / TPM / The Atlantic]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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