Some interesting observations.
The hurricane that cut off the first night of the GOP convention in Tampa in 2012 also cut out some important television coverage. There’s still debate over whether than might have been a critical factor in Romney’s loss, though the results of that election, not nearly as close as some predicted it would be, indicate that it probably didn’t really hurt the candidate or the party. But figuratively, the hurricane that blew through downtown Cleveland on the first night of the RNC 2016 was much more devastating from a political perspective.
The last thing you want to see is a floor fight over the rules, but that was characteristic of the first images of the convention. Ultimately, the Colorado delegation walked out, and delegates from several other states, while not drawing attention to themselves, also left. An NBC reporter sent to get comments from a Virginia delegate found their section empty well before prime time. The lineup of speakers, while popular among some segments of Trump supporters, weren’t enough to draw viewer ratings anywhere near what was expected. And then there was Melania.
Since Monday, we’ve gone from “there wasn’t any plagiarism, the phrases are common” to “well, she didn’t really go with the original speech that the writers came up with,” to “OK, she did plagiarize because she likes Michelle Obama and liked what she had to say, but its no big deal, really, is it?”
It’s a big deal. Not just the plagiarism, but the attempted cover up. Then they call Hillary Clinton a liar. Really.
Then there was Pat Smith. Wasn’t it the Republican party which leveled scathing criticism against the Democrats for trying to gain political capital by riding on the grief of mothers of young, black men who were shot by police? And for using the grief of Eric Garner’s wife and family to try to gain political advantage? I have a lot of sympathy for Mrs. Smith, and her family, but her blaming Hillary Clinton for the death of her son was not only way out of line, it wasn’t based on any factual information produced by the Republican party’s own investigations of Benghazi. The accusation of the alleged “stand down” order has been proven false, as have the accusations that requests for increased security were “ignored.” And in fact, the terrorists who attacked the embassy did indeed plan for their attack to coincide with the disturbances and protests in Egypt, in order to cause a deliberate distraction. It wasn’t a good move, and from what I’m seeing in social media, and bloggers, it didn’t go over as planned.
If you’re going to focus on magnifying allegations related to criminal investigations (which didn’t turn out like most Republicans wanted) it is probably not a good idea to use the New Jersey governor who is presiding over the most corrupt administration in that state’s history–and that is saying a lot–to be the one to deliver the charges. With investigations of individuals he appointed going on for everything from corrupt bank and money deals, to cover ups of criminal activity, to Bridgegate, which is a big deal, it turned out to be the pot calling the kettle black. Christie sounded, and looked, like a New Jersey thug.
Of course, by the time Christie got to the podium, prime time had passed, and many delegates had already left the hall, some in disgust. Even as late as Tuesday night, there were efforts by Never Trump supporters, who seem to be a significantly large segment of the convention delegates, to overturn the rules and move for an open convention, including Colorado on Monday, and Alaska on Tuesday.
The apparent highlight of the convention up to that point was the speech by Donald Trump Jr. He’s a good speaker, and he had a lot of good things to say. Unfortunately, his speechwriter missed some quotes from a newspaper reporter, and failed to insert the citations. Not as big a deal as Melania, because it was just a reporter, so there wasn’t any potential admiration of “the enemy,” but plagiarism is plagiarism, and he should have known better, or his speech writer should have.
I haven’t heard any talk about issues. Maybe here and there, but this whole think is about attacking Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the best strategy that the Democrats, and particularly that the Clintons, have had in their favor over the years comes from the exaggerations and accusations made against them. As Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake said, it is “jumping the shark.” It’s going to come back and bite them.
Ironically, the convention is meeting in Ohio, selected because of its visible importance to the electoral vote, and the state’s governor, along with its senators and congressmen, are staying away and not being seen. What does that say? And as I think about that, I wonder, given the circumstances of this election, how it was that the party of Lincoln nominated the reality tee vee guy, and not the lincolnesque, well reasoned, experienced governor of Ohio, who, looking at things now, would be a relatively easy walk-in to the White House.