WASHINGTON -- At this Democratic National Convention, I am going to be particularly interested in the crowds on the floor. Who cares about what Bill Clinton says? He does not mean it anyway. In the 1990s, he governed like a Republican after saying that "the age of Big Government is over." Incidentally, he governed pretty well. He would have made a good moderate Republican, so long as he had good conservative majorities in the House and the Senate to keep him -- you will excuse the word -- honest. Now, of course, he has committed another of his episodic tergiversations, writing a book in praise of behemoth government, as though the 1990s never happened.
The same can be said for Senator Jean-Francois Kerry. In 2004 he accepted his party's presidential nomination and continued his fiction that he was a war hero, ludicrously saluting the throng at the convention with "I'm John Kerry, and I am reporting for duty." As though the rest of the nation had forgotten that he came home from the Vietnam War, protesting it, and appeared before a taped congressional inquiry to incriminate his fellow servicemen with lies. Then he flew off to France to be used as a pawn by the Communist Vietnamese -- war hero indeed. Possibly Senator Harry Reid could be interesting if he would only tell us what he knows about that cow he has been rumored to canoodle with, and, to be sure, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is always good for a few laughs.
Yet the speakers at this red, white and blue podium are a pretty tiresome lot, certainly when compared with the younger generation of conservative Republicans at Tampa. Think of the wave facing the Democrats in the years to come: Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and Susanna Martinez, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, Bob McDonald and Rand Paul. Louisiana's Bobby Jindal did not even have to show up. By comparison, the Democrats have a cohort of has-beens, plus Caroline Kennedy. She is quite elegant, but she is not equal to taking on a whole generation of conservative Republicans.
Still, the Democrats milling about on the floor have interesting faces. There are the hard-faced union types, mostly men, and they are angry. There are the feminists, the race hustlers, and the other vested interests: environmentalists, consumerists, school teachers -- the kind of people that we at "The American Spectator" call practitioners of Masked Politics. They claim a special fervor for the environment, the consumer, for children, that sort of thing. Yet behind their Masks, they are standard issue Big Government meddlers.