At seventy-six minutes it was too long by at least a third and basically consisted of a meandering laundry list of promises to fix perceived ills in the country. As expected, he hit law and order, and terrorism hard. The most moving part of the speech when was when he talked about his meetings with parents who have had kids murdered by illegal aliens. I had my bride, who is an informed voter but does not follow politics with the microscopic analysis that I do, watch it, since she is neither pro-Trump nor anti-Trump. Throughout the speech she made comments: “how are you going to do that?”, “specifics!”, “well he just gave some specifics”, etc. At the end she thought it was a success and that Trump came across as honest. With a voter who doesn’t follow politics closely, and who has been fed a diet by the media that Trump is some sort of combination of Satan and the anti-Christ, Trump probably did do himself some good. Heaven knows it wasn’t great oratory, but it was workmanlike and delivered with a fair amount of intensity. Compared to most of Trump’s efforts, it was a good speech.
My personal reaction was rather meh. I have a great love of grand political oratory, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, William Jennings Bryan, and Trump will never be in that category or come even close. However, I, and other political junkies, were not his target audience, and I think Trump last night did what he had to do to make himself appear an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton.
For myself, I kept waiting for the Republican response speech after Trump’s speech. What Trump is selling has little connection to conservatism or Republicanism since Reagan. At best Trump might be compared with an old style liberal Republican in the Richard Nixon mode, although his isolationism and America First populism seems straight out of the thirties of the last century. I think he will defeat Clinton and then after he becomes President we will find out where he really stands, although I will be shocked if he has any interest in reducing the size and power of government, or doing anything that a conservative president would attempt to do.
Judged strictly by oratory, the wrong Trump may be running. I was curious as to whether Ivanka Trump would live up to her hype. She did: Continue reading
I will be doing a write up on the speech tomorrow. I would like commenters and contributors to react to the speech in the comboxes as it is delivered tonight.
My favorite speech last night was by Newt Gingrich. I have never seen Gingrich give a bad speech and he was at the top of his game last night. Note how he deftly attempted at the beginning of his speech to turn the non-endorsement of Cruz into an implicit endorsement of Trump by Cruz. He then went on to make a devastating speech against Hillary Clinton. The smartest man in American politics, it is a tragedy for the nation that his inability to not engage in tawdry infidelities earlier in his life cut short his political career after he had masterminded the Republican winning of the House for the first time in almost a half century. If Trump wins in the fall, and I abide by my prediction that he will, I hope that Gingrich is his chief of staff.
Mike Pence never has been known as an orator, but he rose to the occasion last night and gave the best speech of his career. He will give the Trump campaign some much needed stability and dignity, and, surprisingly, some good humor. Trump made a good choice.
However, the best Vice Presidential acceptance speech I have ever heard, indeed the best speech I have ever heard at any political convention made by anyone not named Ronald Reagan, was that of Sarah Palin in 2008:
Only Trump knows why he decided to give a prime time slot to Ted Cruz when he knew, based upon an advance copy of his speech, that Cruz would not endorse him. It might well be a final sign of contempt for a defeated adversary who Trump believes is now harmless. “Let him say what he wants”, Trump might have thought, “what do I care?”
As for Cruz after the personal attacks that Trump had made against his wife and father, he could not endorse Trump. He plans to run in 2020. He knows that there are two possible outcomes in the fall. If Trump loses he will not be associated with what most Republicans will then regard as a mad episode in the history of their party. If Trump wins, Cruz likely assumes that his Presidency would be a train wreck of epic proportion and that if Trump runs again he will be vulnerable in the 2020 primaries. Continue reading
I don’t think much of New Jersey governor Chris Christie but he was on target last night. Returning to his federal prosecutor past he led the Convention delegates in a roaring tour of a few of the greatest mistakes and crimes of Hillary Clinton.
The internet is all afire with the claim that Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican Convention yesterday lifted a section from Michelle Obama’s Convention speech in 2008. Likely the plagiarism did occur and Trump should fire his wife’s speechwriter. However, it is also likely that Michele Obama’s speech writer plagiarized that section of her speech from a 1992 book, Business Success in South Africa. Per the Zero Hedge blog:
However, in a curious development, the IOTWReport website finds some curious analogues between Michelle’s own 2008 speech, and a book written in 1992 by African author Rob Marsh titled, “Business success in South Africa.” Spot the similarities. Continue reading
So the Trump Convention begins. I predict record audiences if no other prediction is safe. I will be surprised if it is dull. Trump is an unworthy messenger of a powerful wave of discontent among the American people, a discontent that the elites in our country have done their best to ignore. At this Convention we will get clues as to how well or poorly Trump will be riding this wave for the rest of the campaign.
The usual open thread rules apply. Be concise, be charitable and, above all be amusing.
Trump has decided to pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his Veep:
Gov. Mike Pence is dropping his re-election bid in Indiana to become Donald Trump’s running mate.
IndyStar has confirmed that Trump plans to announce Pence as his selection for vice president, ending a weeks-long vice presidential casting call during which Trump vetted a handful of high-profile Republicans.
Trump’s national campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said “a decision has not been made.” A formal announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday in Manhattan.
The long-awaited decision upends the political landscape in Indiana and at least partially remakes the Trump campaign in Pence’s image.
In Pence, Trump has added a social conservative who GOP strategists say will reassure rank-and-file Republicans that Trump can be trusted to pursue their interests. Veteran political observers say Pence, a former U.S. House member and chairman of the House Republican Conference, will provide a disciplined counter to Trump’s improvisational campaign style. Pence also brings fundraising power and credibility on a wide range of policy issues that are important to conservatives.
Pence is set to officially become the vice presidential nominee during the Republican National Convention, which starts July 18 in Cleveland. He could become the first vice president from Indiana since Dan Quayle took office in 1989 under George H.W. Bush. Continue reading
I had to rub my eyes three times, and I still couldn’t quite believe I was reading this in the New York Times:
Hillary Clinton has emerged from the F.B.I. investigation into her email practices as secretary of state a wounded candidate with a large and growing majority of voters saying she cannot be trusted, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination at the convention in Philadelphia this month, she will confront an electorate in which 67 percent of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy. That number is up five percentage points from a CBS News poll conducted last month, before the F.B.I. released its findings.
Mrs. Clinton’s six-percentage-point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, in a CBS News poll last month has evaporated. The two candidates are now tied in a general election matchup, the new poll indicates, with each receiving the support of 40 percent of voters.
Mr. Trump is also distrusted by a large number of voters — 62 percent — but that number has stayed constant despite increased scrutiny on his business record and falsehoods in his public statements and Twitter messages.
But Mrs. Clinton’s shifting and inaccurate explanations of her email practices at the State Department appear to have resonated more deeply with the electorate. Continue reading
Most commentators are assuming that the decision of the FBI not to recommend prosecution of Clinton is good news for her and bad news for Trump. I don’t think the political calculus is so simple. Looking at this purely from the standpoint of Donald Trump, this might have been the best possible result for him.
If the FBI had announced today a recommendation to prosecute Clinton, the Democrat convention might well have decided to nominate Sanders instead. Sanders does better than Clinton in polls against Trump. This is the year of the outsider, and the socialist Sanders has successfully portrayed himself as an outsider. If Clinton did prevail at the convention, it is by no means a given that her indictment would be political death. Satan could be running for President on the Democrat ticket and he would probably get 45% of the vote. News of the indictment would quickly become old hat, especially as the extensive and confusing legal maneuvering that goes on in a high profile federal prosecution. Clinton would not come to trial until after the election and I would not wager that an indictment would prove a decisive issue in November. Continue reading
Last week I suggested that Joni Ernst, Senator and hog castrator from Iowa, would make a good Veep for Trump, and yesterday he met with her:
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee spent Sunday with Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a former congressman with years of political experience.
“Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and family yesterday,” Trump said Monday morning. “Very impressed, great people!”
Later Trump revealed he’d be spending some time Monday — July 4 — with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a rising party star. Continue reading
Speculation about Veep choices is no doubt much ado about nothing. In my lifetime the only Veep choice that made a dime’s worth of difference was LBJ in 1960. Without him I doubt that the electoral votes of Texas would have been successfully stolen for the Democrats. However, even in that case the votes of Texas were superfluous due to Mayor Daley the Elder’s post-midnight ballot box stuffing which gave Illinois to Kennedy by 8000 “votes”.
Having said that, rumors are rampant that Trump is considering Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Newt Gingrich.
If Trump is looking for a man who is almost as cordially distrusted by Republicans as he is, Chris Christie is his man. After his nomination of Romney speech in 2012 that barely mentioned Romney and his literal embrace of Obama near the end of that campaign, he would have a difficult time getting a majority of Republicans to vote for him if he were running against bubonic plague. Cordially despised in New Jersey, the only reason I can think of for Trump to choose him is the dog-like devotion to Trump he has displayed since he became the first major Republican politician to endorse him. That, and perhaps his record as a crime busting US Attorney. If Trump has him play attack dog, the usual role of a Veep, his assumption of a prosecutorial stance might be of marginal assistance in highlighting some of Clinton’s crimes. If he does become the Veep nominee, Christie will do what he perceives is good for Christie, so Trump should beware.
As for Newt Gingrich, he is a true idea man in politics. One hundred ideas a day, ten of which are even sane. His colorful personal history would help in Trump’s effort to nail the adulterer’s block of votes.
If these two men are manifestly unsatisfactory, and they are, what does that say? Probably that Trump can get no one better and that Trump assumes it probably doesn’t make any difference anyway.
Who would I suggest? Kasich of Ohio would be an interesting choice. As governor of Ohio he might be able to bring that state to Trump, a must win for him. If Trump hadn’t picked a meaningless fight with her, I would suggest Susan Martinez, Governor of New Mexico. The Senator, and hog castrator, from Iowa, Joni Ernst, would be a good choice, with her military service, her colorfulness and her ability to probably deliver Iowa. Continue reading
My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has some predictions about what is to come in the presidential election campaign this summer. As I do, he understands that the normal political rules simply do not apply this year:
Before summer is over, we may see things now scarcely imagined that will make Brexit seem anticlimactic.
Trump’s Attack Mode
I think the following is an accurate statement: No major public figure has ever before attacked the Clintons in the manner that Donald Trump did last week. The details and tone of his charges can be endlessly analyzed, but their central theme resonates: The Clinton couple, broke when they left the White House in 2001, leveraged Hillary Clinton’s planned political trajectories to amass a personal fortune of between $100 and $200 million — all in the form of quid pro quo investments by wealthy individuals and foreign governments in the likely continuance of Clinton political power. Government is not the jungle of Manhattan real estate, and should have demanded at least a veneer of honesty.
The scandals of the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton’s various get-rich and jet-set escapades, and much of Hillary Clinton’s paranoia over the audit of her e-mail communications all revolve around a Clinton circle that can never be squared even by liberal pieties: The wealthy do not make politicians fabulously rich — unless they assume that they will receive something of much greater value in return.
The Clintons are unique — like no other first couple in recent American history. Not the Carters, not the Reagans, not the two Bush couples, not any first family emeritus has so unapologetically charged banks, foreign governments, corporations, and universities so much money for overtly so little, but on the expectation of clandestinely offering so much.
The Clinton ethical miasma is emblemized by the Laureate International Universities scandal — the highbrow version of Trump University, but a public not a private debacle. Between 2010 and 2015 “Chancellor” Bill Clinton was paid $16.5 million by the for-profit Laureate — but for what services he was to become one of the highest-paid university officials in history is not clear. Mirabile dictu, an educational affiliate of Laureate saw its support from the State Department more than triple from a pre-Clinton $15.1 million.
True, Hillary Clinton, who deleted over 30,000 of her private-server e-mails, can demand hard proof of such payola, but she still cannot rationalize why her husband was paid so much for so little demonstrable work, while she, after stepping down as the nation’s top diplomatic official, followed his reprehensible cue in her retirement.
Trump will continue to expand these charges, no doubt in his characteristic nihilist, take-no-prisoners fashion. Hillary is already replying in like kind, rather than in exalted “Have you no shame?” stature. But the rounds of fire between the two candidates are not quite symmetrical. Trump is brash, crude, and a brawler. Hillary is a carefully scripted and choreographed establishmentarian. Recently, speech coaches seem to have had some success in sedating her screech-owl, nails-on-the-chalkboard rants. She has seemed calmer, quieter, more deliberate.
But in response to Trump’s charges, Hillary is starting to resort to her naturally unpleasant side, both in form and in content. She should learn from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. When Trump unloaded on them in turn, each eventually stooped to reply in like kind — and seemed suddenly unpresidential. Trump, of course, never claimed to be or perhaps could be completely presidential. But his establishment targets became less presidential once he scraped often their veneers and they climbed down into his muck.
Donald Trump’s comments thus far on the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision on Monday striking down the key provisions in the Texas abortion law: Continue reading
The Trump campaign is launching a series of videos that will highlight lies by Hillary Clinton. They will have a rich field to choose from. Continue reading