by Mack Williams
22 July 2016
If you had been commissioned to write the script for the Republican convention in order to make them look as bad as possible, it’s doubtful you could have done any better than they did left to their own devices. For the benefit of those who couldn’t bear to watch that fantasy show, here’s why:
I. Day One
In a Quicken Loans Arena devoid of both the “winners” promised as speakers by Donald Trump and the excitement of last month when the Cleveland Cavaliers became winners, the biggest story of day one was Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic convention speech. Plagiarism is serious – and if you think it isn’t, try doing what she did in your college course and see what happens – but what is even more striking and, frankly, insulting is the fact that after all of the birther and racist things Donald Trump has said about President Obama, his wife goes and takes Michelle Obama’s words.
II. Day Two
Day two’s biggest story – even in the midst of Trump accepting the nomination and the chanting of “lock her up” – was the fallout over Melania’s plagiarism, and the excuses, lies and finger-pointing by the Trump camp, even going so far as to try to blame Hillary Clinton. Two days down, zero positive impact.
III. Day Three
1. Melania told the Today show’s Matt Lauer she wrote it
2. A statement is put out attributing it to a team of writers
3. Chris Christie said it wasn’t plagiarism because it was only 7% of the speech
4. Paul Manafort said it’s Hillary’s fault because she lashes out whenever she’s threatened by a woman
5. Donald Trump tweets that the publicity is good news
…a Trump Organization writer, Meredith McIver, falls on her sword and accepts the blame. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence accepts the vice-presidential nomination and does not excite the crowd.
Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to put away his sword and doesn’t endorse Trump in his prime time speech…and, quite honestly, I can’t say I blame him. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Ted Cruz – running for president of the country whose government he wanted to shut down – but I give him his props on this one. If I had been running in the Republican primary and Trump mocked my wife’s appearance, implicated my father in the assassination of President Kennedy, and called me “Lyin’ Ted,” I wouldn’t swallow my pride to endorse him, either, and would take pride in the boos I was serenaded with while leaving the stage. Three days down, little impact.
IV. Day Four
The time for Donald Trump to speak has come, and because of the lackluster first three days, he has more pressure on him to produce that he might have wanted. Then he says he is going to tell the truth at this convention. I seriously wondered how he would do on that score, but I wouldn’t have to wait long to find out, as the “lock her out”
chants reverberated around the arena. One hardly needed the volume up, since he shouted his entire speech with a delivery reminiscent of Howard Beale, the increasingly unstable character from the movie “Network.”
V. “Fighting For The Little Man”
“My biggest concern is for our struggling citizens.” Does that include the contractors he refused to pay in full, forcing some out of business? Or the students of Trump University that were fleeced out of upwards of $30,000?
“Not going to let companies move jobs overseas.” Does that include his businesses, whose products are largely produced overseas?
“I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because, I tell you what, the support they’ve given me, and I’m not sure I totally deserve it…” Maybe not after his mocking of the disabled.
VI. Build That Wall
How would he both lower taxes and build his tremendously expensive wall on the Mexican border? Totally unbelievable that he would even utter the word “taxes,” after refusing to release his tax returns.
All told, it’s doubtful Trump will get the post-convention bounce he needs, and the Clinton vice-presidential pick and Democratic convention are coming this weekend and next week. I would expect Clinton’s percentage to rise significantly.
VII. What’s Up With That?
Not so sure it’s the best look when the NBA pulls the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in support of the LGBTQ community, but the WNBA (same umbrella organization) fines teams and players wearing shirts in support of #BLM and the slain police.