At the first night of their convention, the Democratic Party took aim at banks and insurance companies.
The mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, praised President Obama for having "the guts to take on the insurance companies and reform health care."
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, praised Mr. Obama for taking on "the big banks that brought our economy to its knees," and he spoke of the president's willingness to "take on the insurance companies that were ripping us off."
A former Republican voter from Colorado, Maria Ciano, faulted the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan because "they want to put insurance companies in charge of my health care."
The secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, said, "I've spent my career fighting the worst practices of insurance companies."
The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, promised that "never again will taxpayers foot the bill for Wall Street's excesses." (In the next breath, he defended the auto bailout, not explaining why it's okay for the taxpayers to foot the bill for General Motors' excesses but not for Wall Street's.) Mr. Emanuel didn't complain much about "Wall Street's excesses" back when he was earning $16.2 million for a two-and-a-half-year stint as managing director in the Chicago office of Wasserstein, Perella.
Michelle Obama spoke of her husband's concern for a "woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won't cover her care."
No one mentioned that the insurance companies mostly supported the ObamaCare law because it forces Americans to buy their product and because it uses tax dollars to pay for more people to have insurance. No one mentioned that President Obama's favorite capitalist, Warren Buffett, owns a big insurance company.
And while Democrats lambasted the insurance companies and the banks, they also insisted they weren't trying to divide Americans. "Tell the dividers no," said a Democratic congressman from Colorado, Jared Polis.
"For Barack Obama, there is no such thing as us and them," said Michelle Obama. Unless you are a bank or an insurance company, or work at one.
It's not as if the Democrats were particularly enthusiastic about any other sector of the private economy. Silicon Valley went almost entirely unmentioned. There was a lot of praise of the auto industry, which speaker after speaker credited Mr. Obama for having saved, without mentioning that he did so using taxpayer money and by forcing bondholders to take losses.
There were careful Democratic efforts to cultivate various constituency groups — women, veterans and military families, gays, Jews. Congressman Polis announced that he is gay and Jewish. The constituencies apparently not seen worthy of cultivation were bankers, insurance companies, their shareholders or employees, or really any businesspeople outside the auto industry.
Other highlights, or lowlights, depending on where you stand: President Carter appeared in a video to pronounce that Mr. Obama "has worked to avert economic calamity" and "has restored the reputation of the United States within the world community."
There was a lot, a lot, a lot of talk about Pell Grants and government-provided student loans and about President Obama's move to allow gays to serve openly in the military, and about his support for gay marriage. That, ending the Iraq War, and getting Osama Bin Laden seemed to be at the core of Mr. Obama's positive case for re-election.
The most slashing attacks on Mitt Romney came from the former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, who said, "If Mitt was Santa Claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves."
The keynote speaker, the mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, echoed some of the talk heard at the Republican National Convention. He spoke of his grandmother, an orphan who came to America from Mexico and worked as a maid, cook, and babysitter. Mayor Castro described America as a "land of opportunity."