Point of View Columns

No Tennis Balls – But Bring Your Gun – The 2016 Republican National Committee Convention in Real Time

July 18, 2016 – 6:00 a.m. – EST
As the July sun begins to sear the Northeast once more, the RNC Convention is about to begin in Cleveland. The outcome is already known, we will soon witness the improbable coronation of Donald J. Trump as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, also known as the Teapublican Party in some circles.
The Republican Party has not always been this way. After all this is the same party that nominated Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan as president. One might not embrace all aspects of the legacy of these men – but one can say that all of these men became president in a context that made sense and fit the concept of what a president should be.

When he announced his campaign for president in June of 2015, many people saw this as another self-promotion ploy by the orange-haired egotist, right up there with his “Apprentice” television show, his factually doomed “birther” campaign against President Obama and his fraudulent scam known as Trump University. Even to this day, there are Trump insiders who claim that Trump’s goal was only to make a good showing so that he could burnish his pseudo fame and glory before he moved on to make some more money somewhere else.

But something happened along the way. Trump gave a voice to the disaffected poorly educated, economically devastated and truly angry white men in this country. With that base he was able to devastate a truly unimpressive array of primary opponents – remember Bobby Jindal?, Chris Christie?, Scott Walker?, Carly Fiorina?

No matter how vile or profane or preposterous or insulting or outrageous or fact-free his pronouncements, Trump was able to steam roll presumptive favorites like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and all of a sudden he was in mano a mano battles with Ted Cruz and John Kasich. It was hardly a fair fight.

Since Trump amassed enough primary votes to claim the presidential nomination, the Republican hierarchy has searched for some way to “Stop Trump”, and they simply could not. And now the RNC is about to reap the harvest of hate which grew out of the seeds of hate that have been sown by the mindless and race-based opposition to the presidency of Barack Obama. The RNC blew the dog-whistle loud and long enough. And now the hate dogs have come running to Cleveland.

Donald Trump has brought steaming, stinking, heaping truckloads of misogyny, racism, nastiness and just plain bad taste to the national political discourse. He has turned the presidential campaign into some kind of MMA steel cage match. And now he is king of the steel cage and, by the way, in a few days he will be the Republican presidential nominee.

There is a certain apocalyptic aroma to this convention. The killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile in St. Paul by police guns were all too sad scenarios in modern America. And then five police officers were murdered in Dallas and all of the people in this country were looking into the abyss that hate and injustice and unrequited wrongs can create.

But as the funerals of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile and the five Dallas police officers were beginning 84 men, women and children were murdered in Nice in yet another insane terrorist attack. And as the body count grew in France a coup began in Turkey and over 200 people were killed. And as the bodies were counted in Ankara and Istanbul three police officers were assassinated in Baton Rouge. No one wants to imagine what could be next.
The apocalyptic aroma is unmistakable and we have Donald Trump to thank for adding to the stench.

There is a schedule of speakers for the Monday convention agenda, including the Mayor of Hate, Rudy Giuliani and Melania Trump, the implausible Bride of Trump along with other Trump children. The reason for Giuliani on the agenda is necessary to keep the volume up on the dog whistle message that has been the thinly disguised theme of the Trump campaign. Mrs. Trump and four of the five Trump children will be there, presumably to prove to the world that Donald Trump is a human being.

July 18, 2016 – 7:52 PM EST – you can’t make this stuff up!
Before the convention begins the appearance of the Trump/Pence ticket on “Sixty Minutes” makes it clear that Mike Pence is not even the caboose on the Trump Train. Trump also makes an interesting distinction – Mike Pence voted for the Iraq War in 2013 which he forgives as a mistake. When pressed, Trump says that Hillary Clinton is not entitled to make a mistake.

And, as the convention begins, it is interesting to note that the two living Republican ex-presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, are not in attendance. Also missing are Mitt Romney, John McCain (the last two Republican candidates for president), former candidates Marco Rubio and John Kasich and Sarah Palin who is known as never having met a microphone or camera that she didn’t love.

These are facts from the convention that are presented without elaboration (well, not much)
• Before the convention begins the Iowa and Colorado delegations walk out – presumably expressing some protest regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump.
• The angriest recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance ever kicks off the convention.
• A blind, crippled girl is brought out to sing the National Anthem. The irony of Donald Trump mocking differently abled individuals is conveniently forgotten.
• News commentators are speculating on how Melania Trump will be able to “humanize” Donald Trump. Although it is useful to point out that historians confirm that Attila the Hun was a loving husband and a caring father.
• A “Duck Dynasty” star is kicking off the convention. This can get more bizarre as the evening goes on………….you will remember that the “Duck Dynasty” cast is proud to be “rednecks” and the “N” word is just a part of every day speech……………….time to buckle the seatbelts.
• Two-time failed presidential candidate and former Texas governor appears, still rocking the glasses that were meant to portray faux intelligence….working about the same now as then.
• And now the mother of a Benghazi victim……nothing like turning the death of an American into a political football……continuing the “Hate Hillary” monologue….truth and facts be damned.
• Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke claimed the role of the black attack dog, savaging Black Lives Matter and President Obama in a blistering speech. Presumably Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson and Herman Cain were not available.
• Senator Tom Cotton, who led an unconstitutional effort that resulted in an unconstitutional letter from 47 senators to the Ayatollah of Iran lectured as to how Donald Trump would be better.
• In an unexpected moment, N.J. Governor Chris Christie, while discussing how he was overlooked as the Trump vice presidential nominee reminded the nation that he chaired the Trump Transition Committee thereby giving America one more reason to vote against Donald Trump.
• Rudy Giuliani, the America’s Mayor of Hate, was put on the list of speakers, presumably to make sure that Donald Trump’s dog whistle kept blowing loud and clear…..and that he did. Indeed it was amazing to see his uninterrupted primal scream last for five whole minutes.
• After being borne onstage on the clouds of his own ego, anti-immigrant Donald Trump introduces his immigrant wife who proceeds to exceed all expectations by not lapsing into Slovenian in the middle of her speech. She does make the slightest error by shamelessly quoting Michelle Obama (she of the hated Obamas) on several occasions. The Trump camp tells us not to believe our lying ears – there was no plagiarism.

July 19, 2016 – 4:05 P.M. EST – Just can’t take it anymore…
• As we prepare for the second night of the Republican Conventionalooza, Melania Trump doesn’t have to worry about her nocturnal plagiarizing from the night before. It turns out that the convention program states that she received a degree from the University of Slovenia. Only one problem – she didn’t.
• The list of prominent Republicans not attending is growing faster than Pinocchio’s nose – Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, George Will, Nikki Haley………….and the list goes on.
• Meanwhile, Don King was disinvited as a convention speaker, although he was previously invited by Donald Trump. Presumably the RNC was queasy over having a speaker who had gone to prison for stomping a man to death. Don King has promptly announced at a press conference that RNC Chair Rance Priebus doesn’t like black people.
• …..and this is only Day 2.

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