The Stench of Mendacity at the Democratic Convention

The opening two nights of the Democratic national convention this week produced the greatest deluge of monstrous political falsehoods in any two evenings of American television history.

The champion mythmaker was the venerable Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). After the usual fictions about “systemic racism,” the most convenient way of ignoring this summer’s widespread urban terrorism, came the familiar pieties about climate change, an issue that, happily, has run largely out of steam during the coronavirus crisis. 

Sanders then decried “the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression.” After four years of the Great Depression, unemployment was over 30 percent and there was no direct aid for those out of work. This recent artificial dip was a response to a shutdown supported by a broad political and scientific consensus and has already shrunk through a reduction of unemployment in the last three months larger than the entire number of net new jobs created in the eight Obama-Biden years.

Sanders declared that Donald Trump is “leading us down the path of authoritarianism . . . greed, oligarchy, and bigotry.” He urgently assured the convention that the election was about “preserving our democracy,” because Trump had “tried to prevent people from voting, undermined the U.S. Postal Service, deployed the military and federal agents against peaceful protesters, threatened to delay the election, and suggested he will not leave office if he loses.”

“Under this administration,” Sanders said, “authoritarianism has taken root in our country . . . I will work to preserve this nation from the threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat.” 

President Trump’s concern about huge numbers of ballots being mailed to nonexistent voters or to the wrong addresses and filled out and returned through the post office fraudulently by party organizers is well-founded. He has appointed a postmaster general with a mandate to shape up the Postal Service, but there is no reason for optimism that in its present condition it could handle 75 million presidential election ballots coming and going. 

The occasional deployment of federal marshals and national guardsmen has been to prevent urban guerrillas and hooligans from burning down federal buildings and destroying the monuments to America’s great men. Trump expressed concern that the Democratic plan to flood the country with posted ballots and harvest them to their own advantage might provoke litigation that would not allow the winner to be identified by inauguration day. He has said that, of course, he would leave office on January 20 if he lost the election. This entire argument is an unutterable fabrication.

So is the allegation of “authoritarianism.” Not a scrap of illustrative evidence was or could be cited in support of it. 

Playing the Nazi Card

But the most odious assertion of all in this farrago of malignant calumnies was to assimilate Trump to the enemies of America whom generations of veterans fought and gave their lives to defeat. I am quite relaxed about political hyperbole, but the comparison of Trump to Nazism, which is what Sanders was implying, gave the entire proceedings what Tennessee Williams called “the stench of mendacity.” 

It is supremely irritating to have Democratic hypocrites call for unity and promise to “bring the nation together” while denouncing the incumbent president as akin to a Nazi all while failing even to mention, much less criticize, the urban mob violence they have helped provoke and have effectively condoned.

“By rejecting science,” Sanders continued, the president “has put our lives and health in jeopardy, refusing to produce the masks, gowns, and gloves our healthcare workers desperately need.” In fact, Trump showed great executive ingenuity in producing those items in great quantities with astounding speed, emancipating the country from the absolute shambles in public health emergency response capability bequeathed to him by Obama and Biden. 

Sanders pretentiously affected classical learning in saying “Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Trump golfs. His actions fanned this pandemic, resulting in over 170,000 deaths.” Nero was a self-adulatory psychopath with no aptitude to be emperor, a position he inherited. He was assassinated by his palace guard while he was attempting to commit suicide in recognition of his total failure.   

Sanders was inexorable; Trump’s “negligence has exacerbated the economic crisis; instead of maintaining the $600 a week of unemployment supplement,” he has unconstitutionally replaced it with “virtually nothing,” in fact, he authorized a $400 weekly supplement so that the unemployed have an incentive to return to work. And, naturally, Sanders accused Trump of “threatening the very future of Social Security.” 

Providentially, Sanders added, “Joe Biden will end the hate and division Trump has created. He will stop the demoralization of immigrants, the coddling of white nationalists, the racist dog-whistling, the religious bigotry, and the ugly attacks on women.” 

An Avalanche of Sanctimonious Claptrap

An absolute majority of the sentences in Sanders’ bilious harangue were false. It was an unintended profession of the total moral bankruptcy of the Democratic campaign; there were no positive suggestions, nothing but unexplained hatred of the president. The one truthful sentence in all of it may have been the eerie triumphalism that his socialist “movement” had effectively taken over the Democratic Party.

Yet the pièce de résistance of Tuesday evening was from former First Lady Michelle Obama. The fact that it was taped more than a week before in Martha’s Vineyard prevented her from inflicting the merits of the vice presidential nominee on us. But what we got was a lengthy avalanche of sanctimonious claptrap. 

“A never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered; stating the simple fact that a black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office,” she said.  

[Americans] see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good, and winning is everything because as long as you come out on top, it doesn’t matter what happens to everyone else . . . They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protesters for a photo-op.

Those who accuse their opponents of Nazi tendencies reinvent Goebbels’ “big lie” adapted to squalid Alinskyite Democratic urban bossism. The cages were in fact comfortable simulations of McDonald’s outlets and were set up during her husband’s regime and the “peaceful protesters” had been rioting for hours, hurling projectiles at the police, and trying to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson. The walk to the “president’s church” the day after her peaceful protesters tried to burn it down may have been a photo-op, but it was an elegant gesture indicating that, unlike the Democratic Party, the administration would not tolerate unlimited violence, arson, assault, and vandalism from the mobs that the Democrats not only “coddled,” but lionized. 

Michelle Obama’s promise that “when they go low, we go high,” was more galling than usual as the indictments of her husband’s administration begin, for the greatest outrage against constitutional presidential elections in American history.  

Mercifully, the second evening closed with a tasteful, even encouraging, note with the gracious address of Jill Biden. After all those who preceded her, she was a tentative reassurance that some sanity, decency, and integrity remain in that party, which has been hijacked by extremists. One can only wish her well.    

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About Conrad Black

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

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