It was a night for Donald Trump, and everyone else who opposes Hillary Clinton. Our chief political analyst sat through the entirety. His idea.
The view from day two:
One of the most surprising aspects of the post-convention reporting was the TV audience numbers. Episode “who cares” in Season “whatever” of The Bachelorette garnered more viewers than the first two hours of the convention, and only after 10pm was it the most popular show on television. Indeed the whole night generated an audience of only $22.5 million – and this from a population of 320 million.
I’m just going to put this out there. You might disagree. The Melania speech-debacle may not have been an “accident”. Indeed, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews comes to the conclusion that it must have been intentional. Matthews suggests some form of “sabotage”, rather than looking at it from the perspective of potential benefit. Trump has consistently operated on the principle that “controversy equals audience”. He also employs the “controversy equals distraction” logic. I’ve written about that angle before.
Let’s see how tomorrow’s audience numbers fare; maybe there’s something to this “false flag” conspiracy theory I’m drumming.
The convention continues:
The convention opens with some tawdry procedural happenings. States are asked to announce their votes, ballots, delegates, some complain: “Is the gentleman requesting a poll of the delegation from Alaska?” Paul Ryan rattles off some legalese, “According to section 36-B of the Republican convention rule”. All those who tuned in to see Donald Trump’s sister recite the Ten Commandments, claiming them as original poetry, must be disappointed. This had better pick up soon.
The stage is left empty for 30 minutes while Republicans squabble over the fine print and how things are being added up. Math isn’t just math anymore. Math has been Trumped. Lots of head shaking, hands wringing, Trump signs waving madly.
Paul Ryan is overheard talking into a hot mic, “Yeah, I know. But everything is different this convention. I mean you don’t see any of the big players here, only Bob Dole, and that goes all the way back to 1966”. It gives little comfort to those that believe Trump has orchestrated a hostile takeover of the Republican Party to know that the reason rules are being broken in this bizarre election cycle, is simply because the cycle is bizarre. Sounds like question begging.
GOP Chairman Reince Priebus decides to calm the air. “This only effects four states, and according to a 16-F filing, bound by rule 74…” This is turning into a real cluster fudge.
Benghazi again? Hillary Night sucks. I was expecting fireworks, drama. All we’re getting is a rehash in black and white of something we got in technicolor last night.
Finally, Paul Ryan triumphantly announces that Trump has the required number of pledge delegates. Donald Trump is officially crowned Republican Nominee – quite the anticlimax. Two and a half hours into the evening and the crowd get their first opportunity to clap and crow “Trump, Trump, Trump”.
This is killing me…
Sharon Day: “Hillary Clinton lied about how and why the soldiers died in Benghazi”. Hang on! I thought we covered all this last night? Hillary bad, Trump good. Let’s get some meat on the bone, for God’s sake! It’s a terrible speech. Sharon sounds like she needs a strepsil. Badly.
Asa Hutchinson: “If you like the last eight years, then Hillary will give you double for your trouble”. Seriously, can you guys be a little more directional with your statements. If I take only that clip, and scrub your name, I can splice you into an ad for the Democrats. “Hillary’s judgment has produced poor results…four dead Americans in Benghazi”. Hang on a second…I’m starting to see a pattern here. Each evening is “themed”. Last night was Radical. Islamic. Terrorism night – tonight is Hillary is the anti-Christ night.
Leslie Rutledge: “Arkansans know who I am…raised on a cattle farm”. Brilliant, just brilliant. “Absolutely no good could have come from her merging her public service with her private interest, much less with her private server”. Ding, ding. You got two for the price of one there. Slam Hillary and an email-scandal pun. Cattle farmers are droll. Rutledge warns of the dangers of allowing Clinton to nominate liberal Supreme Court Justices. She’s right to mention the judges. It’s a big deal. The next POTUS will get between three and five nominations, altering the make-up of the bench for over a generation. The US will either get complete equality for women, LGBT and minorities under federal law – or – a return to prayer in school and an end to affirmative action. That’s not a statement for effect, it’s a fact.
This speaker reminds me of a corpse, with a personality to match. “No way Hillary. No way on earth”. But now imagine saying that as though you were teaching it to a five-year-old child. He’s getting talked over by the crowd. Give this guy a Pepsi or something. Next!
CNN’s Jake Tapper: “This is a Hillary disembowelment. They are disemboweling her…or at least trying to”. I have no idea why he chose that imagery…creepy but apt.
Also on The Big Smoke
- The white elephant: Day 1 of GOP convention, a cynical recap
- Melania Trump “borrows” Michelle Obama speech
- U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Endorsement of Donald Trump, seriously.
Andy West: “Someone said I was Batman. I said that’s Adam West, dummy. Some of these reporters need to get a life…” Yikes. Why didn’t your kids tell you to cut that joke (?) from your intro? Actually no, now I get it. No-one knows who you are – lol – I just Googled. Maybe you are Batman. A very unfunny dark knight. Next!
Ron Johnson: “She looked those family members right in the eye, and then she lied.” Seriously, Benghazi again? Hillary Night sucks. I was expecting fireworks, drama. All we’re getting is a rehash in black and white of something we got in technicolor last night. You’re never going to beat the heart-wrenching appeal of a grieving mother. That was effective. It drove the point: Hillary is a murdering, heartless, callous, and “heavy” sleeper apparently (she missed the 3am phone call).
Okay, now I’m bored. I’m gonna go play Pokémon…If the Melania plagiarism was a set-up to get more people to watch, it’s a wasted opportunity. I’ll get back to you when something good happens…
Trump pops up on the big screen. Has a spooky, Big Brother, 1984 feel…
Chris Christie swaggers on stage. He looks like the cat that got the cream. “Lets do something fun tonight!” Finally! That’s what I’m talking about. What you got for me, Christie-boy? “Let’s hold Hillary Clinton accountable.” Hmm…okay…how you gonna do that? The crowd starts chanting “Lock. Her. Up…Lock. Her. Up…Lock. Her. Up…” The Jersey Governor smiles smugly. “Alright, alright, we’re getting there”. Christie leans with one elbow on the podium. “I’m going to present the case now. And you, as a jury of her peers, say ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. Okay?” Oh, wow. This is going to be the best call and response ever! Chris reels off the classic hits of Clintonian shame. One by one they built up to crescendo, and then: “The emails?” The crowd erupts: “Guilty!”…“Benghazi?” The beckoning cry: “Guilty!!”…“Creating ISIS?” The Vesuvian proclamation: “Guilty!!!”…Oh, man. That was intense. About five minutes like that. The crowd is delirious with post-coital prosecutorial bliss. I need a cigarette.
Anderson Cooper: “Wow! That was a performance. He’s the pit-bull alright!”
Van Jones: “Oh, come on. Get real. I am yet to hear one serious policy. One legitimate plan for the future. It’s nothing but hateful attacks.”
Anderson Cooper needs to explain to Jones where he is: “But it’s perfect for this audience. There’s nothing that fires up the Republican base like attacks on Hillary”. Van shakes his head. He wishes he was somewhere else.
Tiffany Trump smiles coquettishly and talks about the report cards she still has under her pillow with her father’s loving marginalia: “Go get ‘em girl!”. That was pretty sad but people say Trump needs humanising, so why not get your 22-year-old daughter on stage to talk about the “good old days”? She, home alone with her mother – your ex-mistress. You, gallivanting around the world with the “real” family…Oh, to be young again!
Night two was nowhere near as good as opening night. The first three hours were horrible, the next two bearable. The last hour was solid, but I can’t see the evening’s speeches are going to change many minds.
Donald J Trump Jnr takes the stage. Perfect hair, perfect tan, perfect teeth – perfect speech. This was an ab.so.lute. cracker! He nailed it. Looks like a dynasty in the making. “We’ve produced the thickest network of patronage and influence of any country at any time in world history. It’s composed of a self-satisfied people at the top, our new aristocrats. We can’t live that way any longer…”
Well, I’m sold.
When billionaires promise to root out privilege, I know that’s going to happen. But what can we do to help him with this worthy mission? Give him the keys to the Whitehouse apparently…? Oh, okay. That makes sense. These guys have everything except for political power, so when we give them that, they’ll give it all up, right? Right?! The manufactured and preposterous slight-of-hand class-warfare aside, Trump Jnr showed that there is at least one serious, competent, diligent, conservative on the Trump train. If Trump listens to his son half as well as his son speaks, America will be just fine.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “That was the kind of speech you might have heard from a Senator or a Governor”. Cooper looks across as Van Jones, “Thoughts?”. Van throws his hands in the air. “It was pointless and missed the mark completely. The first five minutes were okay, but then, pure nonsense”. Jesus Christ, Van! You’re such stick in the mud. You don’t like anything. You’re biggest problem is that you keep wanting the Republicans to act like Democrats. Dude, here’s a news flash: they’re Republicans. Get over it.
Dr Ben Carson stands behind the podium and, in his typically slurred “brain surgeons get the best drugs” manner, delivers an odd address that is part Alex Jones, part Revelations. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the guy, who thinks Egyptian pyramids are really grain silos for aliens, is prepared to suggest Hillary Clinton might be in league with Lucifer.
Van Jones looks like he bit into a lemon. He shrugs his shoulders and looks like he might laugh, if he wasn’t about to cry. Poor Van, CNN should just let you do the Democratic convention and skip the GOP.
So…night two was nowhere near as good as opening night. The first three hours were horrible, the next two bearable. The last hour was solid, but I can’t see that the evening’s speeches are going to change many minds. Christie and Trump Jnr stole the show. Here are those two speeches:
My guess is that night three is “Trade and the Economy Night”.
Now, about those audience figures…did the plagiarism bring home the bacon?
I’ll check in the morning.