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.
This is the party of Barack Obama, the party that consciously and defiantly omitted God (and Jerusalem as Israel's capital) from its platform. It is the party that has cynically elevated the banning of protection of the innocent unborn to the highest moral act.
With due respect to Mayor Castro, his party is not the one that values rugged individualism, personal responsibility and equal opportunity for all. With ample deference to President Clinton for his virtuosity in manipulating damning data into a mythical yarn of national triumph, President Obama's record, in all categories, has been deplorable -- from economic policy to the debt to foreign policy to working with Republicans.
Democrat after Democrat complains about the free market while pretending he reveres it. "It's not the system we don't like; it's that it's rigged." Well, the only rigging we see is President Obama's unconstitutional favors for his friends and pet projects, including his favoring his union buddies and cheating secured creditors in the Chrysler restructuring, disproportionately retaining General Motors and Chrysler dealerships for women and minorities, illegally subordinating taxpayers to loans of private investors in Solyndra, killing a voter intimidation case against his New Black Panther Party allies, funneling money to his corporate executive buddies, and much more.
The Democrats' effort to make political hay from bad-mouthing the economy they've presided over for the past four years is nothing short of surreal. Their denunciation of cronyism when they are its primary practitioners is bizarre. Their portrayal of the worst economy since Jimmy Carter as a robust, job-creating marvel is delusional. Their vilification of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as hellbent on destroying entitlement programs -- for which they have presented credible, workable plans to save and strengthen and for which Obama would surely destroy by obstructing Republican plans and offering none of his own -- is patently offensive.
We are witnessing the Twilight Zone, not the TV series, not the feature-length movie but an entire week of jaw-dropping unreality.
Don't get too worked up over this, though, because, in the end, the American people are too savvy to buy into the illusions. No number of words could change what they know they're experiencing -- the assault on our values, the smothering of the private sector, the destruction of our economy and our impending national bankruptcy.