Between the years of 1980 and 2012, government-funded Australian high schools competed in a national competition called The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge. A popular song would be selected, funds would be raised via lamington drives, the weird and arty kids would gather to make costumes, apply outlandish make-up, and choreograph a song and dance routine. Rehearsals would run for months on end. The results were laughably amateurish. A good rendition would involve cast members not falling from the stage. The synchronisation of dance steps was an entirely accidental occurrence. One of the troupe might have a decent singing voice.
Watching the Democratic National Convention conjured a strange feeling of deja vu. The event is beset with decidedly poor production qualities, slap-dash editing, and contrived skits and speeches that fall hopelessly flat on their face. The event has a distinctly high school Eisteddfod feel.
The elements are all present, although there are no stages to fall from, the gathering is being conducted virtually due to the global pandemic. Gone is the standard Hollywood razzle-dazzle of years past. The 2020 version looks like it was assembled by 15-year-olds with money raised from a local bake-off. We can only hope that Democrats were not counting on a bounce in polling based on the embarrassingly lame entertainment on offer.
Any notion that Michelle Obama might one day have a future in politics was quickly dashed by her convention speech that was devoid of the oratory prowess that propelled her husband to the White House. Mrs. Obama is still somehow one of the favourites to be the next president, presumably in some kind of plan D option. Punters can rip those tickets up right now.
Bernie Sanders, the man denied twice by his party, gave a reasonable speech, mostly highlighting the differences between himself and the man who cheated him in 2020, Joe Biden. Sanders is just too honest for the political establishment, too immune to the money thrown around by big pharma and the Military Industrial Complex.
The big question hanging over the convention is – will Joe Biden emerge as the nominee, or will the party perform an ingenious candidate switch and put Kamala Harris atop the ticket. Stay tuned. Biden is an old and compromised man. His latest poll numbers appear to reflect the nation’s reluctance to elect a gaffe-prone 78-year-old who tells long and confusing stories about roaches, rusty razor blades, lifeguards, kids jumping on his lap, confronting bullies called Corn Pop with six foot lengths of chain, and his leg hairs standing on end.
Biden is presently Not Answering Questions, and with good reason. Betting markets currently have him about a 15% chance not to make it November, but expect those numbers to swing when Biden finally faces some heat. He is a doctor’s visit away from retiring gracefully.
G G Novack