This will be a rare political Rob’s Rants. After two weeks of conventions, I couldn’t resist. I don’t claim any political expertise. I’m just some guy who watches the shows. But, hey, that’s good enough for the Republican nominee, here are my thoughts:
- I didn’t hate Donald Trump’s speech. I agree with some of his basic concepts—put America first, strengthen the borders, and create better policing. I kept thinking, “How?” “How?” “How?” But I think either candidate will have to deal with a Congress where the other party simply refuses to work with them. (That needs to stop—now.) I wondered about some of his facts, and I wasn’t surprised to read that he was often off-base. I also felt like the real Donald kept slipping out when he would stop and strut for a couple steps, or clap, or join the “USA” chant. His self-aggrandizement is never far away. And, as much as I don’t want to be that guy, I didn’t like the fact that in an hour-plus speech he didn’t mention issues of people with disabilities even once. As Trump might say, “Not good.” It’s not a make-or-break thing for me—we need more than a speech mention, anyway—but Trump has major work to do after mocking a reporter with a disability. Quite frankly, I thought that should have been the end of his campaign (along with several other moments). Bottom line, there was never a chance I’d vote for him, and he didn’t change that.
- The “fun” really started the before the Republican National Convention. Dom Lemon’s disgraceful interview of Sheriff David Clarke, who was a scheduled to speak at the convention, showed how difficult it is to get unfiltered news today. Discussing the most recent shootings of police officers—and it’s sad I have to use the words most recent—Clarke suggested that the Black Lives Matter movement was a root cause. Lemon cut him off repeatedly, even going to commercial at one point to mute Clarke, stating that he was off topic. No, he wasn’t off topic. Whether Lemon agreed with Clarke or not that the rhetoric from BLM is helping create an anti-police sentiment, an interviewer has no business cutting someone off because they disagree with their opinions. Lemon even doubled-down the next night, suggesting Clarke’s speech at the RNC wasn’t well received, a statement refuted by an analyst on his own network minutes later. I was also surprised to see no coverage of Clarke’s speech in the Philadelphia Inquirer the morning after. Fox “News” pushes the Republican agenda, and critics say MSNBC does the same for Democrats. It’s sad and dangerous for the country if CNN and other news organizations are getting into the business of picking sides.
- I wanted to like Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence. A lot. I didn’t. I had to google his name as I wrote after watching plenty of the RNC. He acted like he had just been invited to the cool kids’ table and didn’t want to mess it up, so he just kept saying how awesome they are. It’s just one speech, but it did nothing to excite me about him.
- I was disappointed by the news that Governor John Kasich turned down the role of Vice President on the Republican ticket. I get it. He doesn’t like Trump and doesn’t want to be a hypocrite. And he probably doesn’t want the association with Trump to hurt his political future. If reports are true, Kasich was basically offered the presidency while Trump acts like an idiot . . . I mean, figurehead. This is naïvely idealistic of me, but take the job, Guv! Be the guy who actually puts serving your country first, instead of your ego, as president.
- A few months ago, people were talking about contested conventions. Yet, the one note of unscripted party spin from Ted Cruz, who did all the usual party speak except to endorse Trump, was treated like treason. I realize conventions are nothing more than infomercials for the parties. But people on the floor booing Cruz for not going along with the program, is a perfect microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the way we elect leaders of this country.
- Why was Rudy Giuliani yelling at us? I’m just curious. Did someone screw up his room service? No one else seemed to know either, since he had to resort to raising his voice on the last word of each sentence when people were supposed to clap. There was that awkward moment each time when it seemed like everyone in the audience looked at each other with the question in their eyes, “Now? Clap? We clap now, right?”
- After the Trump speech, the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” played as the balloons fell at the RNC. Maybe he’s more in touch than he lets on.
Read Part II: Democrats