The Democratic National Convention is an elaborate effort to sanitize a failed record that cannot be rehabilitated, even by the glib sophistry of former President Bill Clinton.
President Obama has often lamented that it is not that his performance has been inferior but that he has failed to fully explain the wonders of it all in terms we bitter clingers can grasp.
It's not that his policies are misguided or that they've yielded objectively horrendous results; it's that he just hasn't figured out a way to condescend far enough to our level to make us understand. The convention gives his team one last chance to put his theory to the test and change our misperceptions.
Charlotte, N.C., is a desperate Hail Mary to turn Obama's ears into a silk purse. Unfortunately for Democrats, it involves a series of contradictions.
On the one hand, it is an orchestrated charade to depict his disastrous record as a striking success, and on the other, it's a simultaneous admission that it is a failure -- a failure caused solely by dastardly Republicans. By day, it is an embarrassing freak show, with speaker after speaker exhibiting contempt for traditional American values, and by night, it is toastmasters cunningly presenting the Democratic Party as the guardian of those values they've spent the entire day trashing.
The daytime and early evening speakers are angry, loud caricatures eerily redolent of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream," hand-picked to feed the frenzy of the malcontented base. The prime-time roster features more polished figures -- Julian Castro, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton -- carefully selected to present a reasonable and winsome face to the American public. But as the Democrats don't have a deep enough bench to fill all the prime-time slots, they are forced to -- or happily choose to -- showcase the social extremism of figures such as Sandra Fluke.
The entire week has been a concentrated conspiracy to convince the American people that they must ignore their lying eyes. Things are not as they seem; they are not as we know them to be from our own observations, experience, intellect and reason.
Thus, Michelle Obama spends the better part of her remarks endeavoring to convince us that the cool, detached character to whom she is married is really a warmblooded, sensitive, caring human being who spends his evenings agonizing sympathetically over letters from hurting Americans. Clinton takes almost a full hour reconstructing the nonfiction novel of Obama's actual record into a fictionalized fantasy of nonpareil success. Castro emotionally embraces the very values with which his party is at war.