Thursday, July 21, 2016

Response to The Cruz Missile

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Cruz Missile)

As much as I agree with Josh Marshal’s wonderful description of Ted Cruz as an "odious weasel”, I have to give Cruz props for what he did last night.

The very little thing that should have tipped off everybody about Trump from the very beginning that showed he is not only not at all qualified to be president, but also that he would be America's first asshole president, is something that would have immediately disqualified any other candidate from the get-go — that is, the way he showed pretty much no respect to any of his opponents; first to McCain for being a P.O.W., then “Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Crooked Hillary”, and so on.

True, last night, Ted was only reprising his feckless "Green-Eggs-and-Ham" filibuster, which apparently accomplished nothing but get everyone pissed off at him (which we can expect him to never let us forget throughout the next four years), and yes, he was only defending his family, what you’d expect any real man to do, but doing so brought us back to that moment before candidate Trump hurled his first insult or coined his first nasty nickname. In effect, Ted took us all backward in an imaginary time machine and nipped Donald in the bud.

But won’t that hurt the duly-nominated Republican candidate’s chances for victory? Cruz's answer just might be, who cares? A better question, he might ask, is, what would a Trump defeat in 2016 do to a possible Cruz victory in 2020?

In any event, Cruz brought back the fun and drama that used to be important features of political conventions!

On the other hand, a pox on the whole damn bunch of them.

Having said that, I need to also say this: Bernie Sanders better not be thinking of trying that same trick next week!

Still, this week’s GOP show is a hard act for Democrats to beat. Hopefully it will be a repeat of 2012, in which the alternate reality conjured up by the GOP's surreal anti-Obamafest (remember Clint Eastwood’s weird chat with that chair?) was dissapated the following week by Bill “Explainer-in-Chief” Clinton. Let’s cross our fingers.

But back to last night. Here’s Josh Marshall’s take on Cruz's sucker-punch:
The first thing to say about this is that there is simply no way Trump’s and Priebus’s convention managers okayed that speech. No way. The fact that they allowed him on stage to give that speech will go down as one of the greatest organizational pratfalls in convention history. Whether Cruz got them to agree not to review the speech or whether he substituted another speech, I don’t know. But something very wrong went down there.
Except that cable news reporters noted receiving an advanced text of the speech and noticed the absence of an endorsement, and that, since the speech had to be loaded into the TelePrompTer ahead of time, it’s reasonable to assume the Trump convention people would have noticed the same thing -- giving Trump himself a chance to either call it off, or better yet, to upstage Cruz at the end of the speech, which is what he did.

Which is to say, I would guess the whole thing was as much a part of the Trump Traveling Circus as was wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin smashing folding chairs over the head of the "evil Mr. (Vince) McMahon". What may have escaped respected political journalists this past year is that Donald Trump has effectively demoted them all to entertainment reporters.

The big problem, of course, is that, while Mike Pence’s speech was unexpectedly well received last night, the only people who know that are the people who watched it live. Anyone else, especially those who relied on this morning's news programs for their GOP convention summary, likely only heard about the big Cruz non-endorsement kerfuffle.

The mood on the floor? To hear the descriptions of those at the convention, it may not come over on TV but it sounds more like the rehearsal dinner of an arranged marriage, with the two families eyeing each other suspiciously.  Longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy (and Jeb Bush SuperPAC show-runner) has been spending the week in Cleveland, and said this:
“Talking to operatives here, the mood is something between grim resignation and the Donner party”.
What stands out about this so-called “Trump Convention” is how much everybody is trying to gingerly not talk about Trump. Those failed-candidates who did show up, even those that have endorsed him, seem to prefer expending their pent-up nervous energy saying ever-more outrageous and borderline-slanderous things about Hillary than even nice things about the nominee. In fact, while there’s really nothing truthful they feel comfortable saying about either candidate, they seem to find it easier repeating the more well-worn lies about Hillary (after all, who there will contradict them?) than having to fake the sincerity necessary in convincingly praising Donald.

In fact, if it weren’t for Donald’s own buttinsky, hey-look-at-me stunts — such as his official Wednesday arrival in Cleveland on his Trumpjet (Wait!! What? Hadn’t he already been there for two days???) and then flying on his Trumptycopter what may have been about 800 yards, then getting off to officially kiss his family hello — we might be forgiven for forgetting this is supposed to be all about him. 

Hey, Donald, you still believe all press is good press? Think again! 

Yes, you may have everybody talking about your action-packed, albeit-dysfunctional convention the next day at the water cooler in the same way that they now discuss “The Bachelorette”, but whether or not that will help you on election day depends on how all this plays with the people who wouldn’t be caught dead watching phony-reality TV shows, since I’m pretty sure the people who would are already voting for you.

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