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Democrats try their hand at throwing a Republican convention, with mixed results

We conservatives are suddenly the hottest ticket in town. Donald Trump spent last week appealing to our stout inclination towards law and order. Now Democrats are spouting our lines, too — they know an igneous rock looks like a conservative intellectual next to Trump, so why not Hillary Clinton? We’ve arrived at a masquerade ball where everyone is walking around holding up masks of William F. Buckley, and we have no idea what will transpire next. Will they ditch the act? Will they pull an Eyes Wide Shut and abruptly disrobe? In this manic election year, don’t rule it out.

The parties haven’t just swapped scripts, they’ve found a way to transport them through time, direct from the Republicans’ star-spangled convention of 2004. So congresswoman and Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth declared Donald Trump unfit to be commander-in-chief. John Allen, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, barked that “America will lead and strengthen NATO and the Atlantic alliance!” The audience got down and gave him 20. And when Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen Muslim soldier, trashed Trump’s religious discrimination and offered to lend the mogul his copy of the Constitution, I experienced something known as “the feels.”

Occasionally the scenery fell down, most glaringly when execrable Sanders fans heckled a Medal of Honor winner who was endorsing Clinton. But the scaffolding was quickly placed upright and Brigadoon appeared again. So did, of all people, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, who gave us all an excuse to go back and rewatch our favorite scenes from Airplane. (My take on both conventions: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”)

RELATED: Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother at the DNC and expressed her love with this sincere speech

Chelsea Clinton tried to humanize her mom as procurer of Elmos and reader of “Goodnight Moon.” And then emerged the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party, as the camera flashed to the first Hillary delegate I’ve seen in tears since the convention began, a contrast to the hordes of Bernie cultists who bawled their eyes out and extended their glasses for punch on night one. Clinton reached the podium and choked through the early quips and greetings. This is her most admirable foible: she seems to genuinely hate the bullshit of retail politics, stilting her way through insincere lines like a buzz saw has inconveniently become lodged in her throat. It’s when she gets to the meaty stuff that she sounds more natural.

She continued her party’s courtship with Republicans. Trump had “taken the Republican Party a long way, from Morning in America to Midnight in America… Americans don’t say I alone can fix it,” she said. “We say, we’ll fix it together!” It was a blend of Republican rhetoric on national greatness that was cemented in the bedrock of collectivism, a case for achieving conservative ends by progressive means that treat government as just another civic institution. That meant the one type of Republican who necessarily wasn’t stroked last night was those of us who desire a smaller state. Then again, we rarely are.

Coquettishness towards disgruntled right-wingers aside, this was still a progressive speech. Clinton promised the heftiest investment in jobs since World War II, free college tuition, forgiveness of existing student debt, all to be funded by that microscopic drop in the bucket, the “super rich paying their fair share of taxes.” Elizabeth Warren then appeared in a magical flying Winnebago and began dropping cash wads heisted from Goldman Sachs on the delegates. And of course, there was the standard-issue hypocrisy. “We need to appoint Supreme Court justices to get money out of politics!” said 2016’s biggest beneficiary of wealthy donors.

RELATED: Democrats say judge Hillary Clinton on her record—so let’s do that

Still, Clinton knows she has a certain segment of the Republican Party over a barrel. Just as Donald Trump’s appeal cuts across party lines to those who are disenchanted with the political class, so, too, does Clinton tempt on a bipartisan basis. For some, the undergirding urgency of this election is that a psychotic sociopath not be allowed to pocket the nuclear codes, regardless of what letter appears in parenthesis after his name. This priority has such force that its flung away all other ideologies and priorities, including the impulse to not be fleeced again by the Clintons. Grand larceny or self-immolation: choose your own adventure.

Until that decision is made, we’re left with this reality: the Democratic convention was a masterpiece of stagecraft that’s skunked the GOP. To pull it off, Democrats only had to offer up two sacrifices: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and any pretense of liberty.

This post is from RareRare. Click here to read the full text

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