All political conventions henceforth should be virtual — even without pandemics.
Why? Because viewers and listeners could actually watch and listen without the distraction of audience hoopla, stale pundit awe and stage glitter — all designed to gin up contagious excitement.
Actually, just listening Monday night to the reasoned words of Republican and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former first lady Michelle Obama and others created its own form of deserved excitement — not the canned variety.
For verification of this observation, look no further than Donald Trump's torrent of unhinged tweets aimed especially at the former first lady. More than one opinion writer on Tuesday labeled the diatribe as spectacularly cringe-worthy even by Trump standards.
Obama got right to point — and clearly under the president's thin skin.
"The job [of being president] is hard. It requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass, and an ability to listen — and an abiding belief that each of the 330 million lives in this country has meaning and worth.
"A president's words have the power to move markets. They can start wars or broker peace. They can summon our better angels or awaken our worst instincts. You simply cannot fake your way through this job. As I've said before, being president doesn't change who you are; it reveals who you are. ...
"When my husband left office with Joe Biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. We'd secured the right to health care for 20 million people. We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. And our leaders had worked hand-in-hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.
"Four years later, the state of this nation is very different. More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless. Too many have lost their health care; too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent; too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we've turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower. ...
"So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is. ... "
Trump's tweets, as usual, reinvented reality. In his version, he won the White House only as a reaction to Barack Obama's failures — "the job done by your husband," he sneered. Trump claimed he then built the "greatest economy" in the universe, deliberately turned it off to save "millions of lives" and now is "building an even greater economy." And, of course, he jabbed that the Obama/Biden duo presided over the "most corrupt" administration ever, including launching the Russia hoax.
We're so glad his Twitter rant of disinformation mentioned the Russia probe.
Why? Because there's new news about it.
You'll recall that as the Robert Mueller probe was cranking up, the GOP and Senate ginned up their own probe through the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now that second, more wide-ranging, three-year, nearly 1,000 page report is out. And, guess what — the committee's main findings run parallel to the conclusions of special counsel Mueller's investigation, which found overwhelming evidence of Russia's efforts to interfere in the election through disinformation and cyber campaigns.
And there's a bonus: The bipartisan Senate report, released Tuesday, describes closer ties — read it again, "closer ties" — between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. That was particularly true with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who according to the new Senate report, "hired and worked increasingly closely with a Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Russian intelligence officer." The report also says Manafort's contacts posed "a grave counterintelligence threat," adding that the Senate found evidence the Russian intelligence officer may have been linked to the Russian government's efforts to hack and leak Democratic Party emails.
Manafort was sentenced to a total of 7 1/2 years in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges and being convicted on charges related to his foreign lobbying efforts that were uncovered in the Mueller probe.
The Senate probe also found that two other people who met at Trump Tower in 2016 with senior members of the Trump campaign — including Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. — had "significant connections to Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services" and those connections "were far more extensive and concerning than what had been publicly known."
This all comes at a time when the intelligence community has warned that Russia is once again seeking to interfere in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.
Of the new report, the new Trump campaign repeated an old trope: The Senate document "proves — yet again — there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign."
Talk about hoaxes.