Some of the Democrats in the media and without seem to be all heart. They’re worried that the Republicans are ruining their convention in Cleveland. They say so at every opportunity.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC, afflicted with tingling-leg disease — he apparently caught it watching Barack Obama spin his magic from the stump — was particularly upset from listening to a mother’s tale of pain and woe over losing her son Sean at Benghazi.
Patricia Smith, the heartbroken mother, stunned the audience in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Monday night with her indictment of Hillary Clinton for her reckless endangerment of diplomats in her charge as secretary of State.
“For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has brought upon America,” she said, with tears streaming down her face, “I blame Hillary Clinton. I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
This was in fact tough stuff, the most dramatic moment so far in the week’s proceedings. Poor Chris was left beside himself with wrath and woe, all but blistering his microphone with high dudgeon. He excoriated Mrs. Smith for voicing “this accusation that somehow Hillary Clinton had anything to do with the deaths of [Ambassador] Chris Stevens and the three other victims.
“I don’t understand why the Republicans would choose to put this on primetime television when they have such wonderful stories of American heroism to speak to the American people. I think it was wrong. I don’t care what ‘that woman’ up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own.”
Other media spectators rebuked the Republicans, too, but rarely has such a media personality shown such brutal indifference to the suffering of others. Other correspondents were particularly infuriated by Gov. Chris Christie’s devastating mock indictment of Hillary Clinton for her manifest failings as secretary of State. They have exonerated Mrs. Clinton and profess not to understand why everybody doesn’t join them in cheering the exoneration.
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asked Gov. Christie whether such an “imperfect messenger” as he should be indicting others, presumably a clumsy effort to bring what she called “bridge events” into the conversation.
“You incited this crowd to get on their feet, to talk about her, to say ‘guilty’ over and over again,” she said. “Do you think that is unifying the party in a way that’s good for the country?”
The governor, the iconic Jersey guy, looked at her with a trace of a sly grin. “Yes, yes, I do,” he said. “And I think you do, too.”
The week in Cleveland has been difficult for those who can’t get their heads around the facts of the nation’s changed politics. The old order is passing away, and the power of condescension is fading. It’s hard for the faithful servants of the old order to deal with grief when it’s their own.