Point of View Columns

Lock Her Up and Bring Out the Firing Squad – The 2016 Republican National Committee Convention in Real Time

July 21, 2016 – 8:14 P.M. – EST

One week after Bastille Day, the 2016 RNC Convention will be remembered for being the first time that a major American political party seriously called for the imprisonment of the presumptive candidate of the other party. And, not to be out done, a mouth breathing New Hampshire Neanderthal named Al Baldasaro called for Hillary Clinton to also be brought before a firing squad.

As the grand finale of the convention approaches – no doubt as Donald Trump is still seeking to master the intricacies of a teleprompter- a bit of reflection of nights 2 and 3 might be in order.

On Night 2, future federal defendant, Chris Christie, led the primal chant of “Lock Her Up” as he recited his “indictment” of Hillary Clinton. The irony of Christie’s senior aides about to go on trial for blocking the George Washington Bridge was lost on the assembled Republicans. And, by the way, the recent conviction of Christie’s appointee as chairman of the New York New Jersey Port Authority was conveniently swept out of sight and under the rug.

The most interesting part about the “Lock Her Up” chant is that it sounded primal and was on just this side of what a lynch mob must sound like. One can imagine that if Hillary Clinton had easily imagine that if she somehow appeared in the Quicken Loans Arena she would have suffered great bodily damage.

What should be noted, however, is that on the night that the convention was supposed to focus on the economy and jobs, the takeaway for the evening was locking up Hillary Clinton. Unless the new Trump jobs are related to penal institutions, it is hard to see how any new thoughts were presented to the American people regarding how life would be better with The Donald as president.

Night Two mercifully ended an entire day of the Trump campaign denying that Melania Trump lifted even a single word from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech. They denied by asking the world to disbelieve their lying eyes and ears. But by the end of the day they had lied themselves into exhaustion and a nonentity from the Trump speechwriting pool was chosen for sacrifice (but she was not fired).

The only other item of note was that two more of the Trump children spoke glowingly of their father. While their presentations may have served to humanize the Human Sound Machine Called Trump, it cannot be a surprise that his children came on national television to say that they admire and love their wealthy father.

Night 3 was supposed to introduce Mike Pence, Indiana governor and Tea Party stalking horse, as the Vice Presidential nominee. And once again the evening was hijacked. First it was hijacked by Ted Cruz and then it was kidnapped by Donald Trump.

To be fair, the real culprit on Wednesday was Ted Cruz. Cruz was the last loser in a line of losers knocked off by Trump like a series of poorly made kewpie dolls. Cruz was still smoldering over being called a “liar” over and over, he certainly didn’t forget Trump threatening to “spill the beans” on his beloved wife Heidi and he will never forgive Trump for accusing his cherished father of being an accomplice in the assassination of President John Kennedy.

So it really should not have been a surprise that Cruz ended his speech without endorsing Trump, advising Republicans to “vote their conscience”. But the assembled Trump partisan howled and bayed at the full moon and seemed to threaten Cruz’ wife with physical harm, to the extent that she had to be escorted out of the arena with guards protecting her.

As that opportunity to demonstrate party unity withered and died, Mike Pence presented himself to the national audience without mentioning his willingness to shut down the federal government in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood. He also conveniently neglected to mention his classic wish that Roe v. Wade be overturned and relegated to “the trash heap of history”, which is also where the right of women to choose would also reside in the world of Trump and Pence.

Not surprisingly, Pence received workmanlike applause at which time The Donald appeared. Clearly he is unable to allow anyone to reside in the spotlight for too long – and so he came on stage and tried to kiss Pence. Pence gave him the “iron shoulder” and Trump’s attempt at osculation turned into an air kiss.

Night 4 has already been hijacked by the announcement that Roger Ailes, the founder and CEO of Fox News resigned effective immediately. What the implosion of the Republican house T.V. channel means remains to be seen. But nobody in Trump Land is cheering.

12:09 A.M. – And finally, finally, Ivanka Trump had her star turn and she was clearly ready for her close up. She introduced her father who then delivered a 75 minute and 15 minute doom and gloom speech with the very clear message that only Donald Trump could save America. He is running for president but perhaps he has something more special in mind.

Indeed, when he speaks of “liberating” the American people from crime Trump sounded like a strong man wannabe. Perhaps he was able find one of Juan Peron’s speechwriters, but however the speech came together, Trump clearly wants to frighten the American people into believing that he is the only person in this country who can save this country………….and we are supposed to wait until he takes the oath of office to find out what the details of his master plan look like.

8:41 A.M. – The balloon and confetti have been swept out of Quicken Loans Arena. The entire Trump Royal Family has now flown out of Cleveland, perhaps doing one last flyover to wow his adoring adherents.

Donald Trump envisions himself as America’s Strong Man. Ivanka Trump tells us that her father will take care of us. The question now is whether Americans want a leader or a strongman/father figure as president.

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