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National Commentary

ERIK WEMPLE: Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly vouches for slaves’ living conditions

PHILADELPHIA - On Monday night in a widely praised speech here at the Democratic National Convention, first lady Michelle Obama made a poignant observation about her life and race in America: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent, black young women - playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

MARK BUCHANAN: How Donald Trump could start a war with Russia

Donald Trump has expressed some radical thoughts about foreign policy — including that the U.S., as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, can choose whether or not to come to the aid of an ally under attack. To better understand how alarmingly wrong such thinking is, it’s worth reading a new novel by a former high-ranking NATO official.

Coup-proofing Turkey

The recent coup attempt in Turkey came as a complete surprise to most observers. But a decade ago, the only surprise would have been the fact that it didn’t succeed. After all, in the last 60 years Turkey has had four coups led by a military famously committed to secularism. When the Islamist Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was elected in 2002, another coup seemed all too likely.

Clinton’s college plan unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s proposal for making public higher education not just cheaper but free to most Americans sounds good on paper. A few years after the plan’s implementation, a family that earns as much as $125,000 annually would not have to pay tuition to send a child to a state-sponsored college or university. The beginning earning cutoff level would be $85,000 and increase annually to the top figure.

Trump’s acceptance speech

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was too long — 75 minutes — and too loud. Modulation is the key to good public speaking. One’s voice should rise and fall like the tide, which allows really important points to be made whether the volume is low or high. His adult children are better speakers.

Final grade for the Republican National Convention: ‘D’

It remains to be seen whether the Republican National Convention will generate a “bump” in polling and, if so, whether that has any long-term implications for Donald Trump’s campaign. Given how unliked both candidates are and how polarized the electorate is, it is very possible not much will change in the race. Nevertheless, judging by a whole array of factors, one cannot help but conclude this was the least successful convention since the Pat Buchanan-dominated 1992 shindig that became the staging ground for another round in the culture wars. Let’s assess the convention by a number of criteria.