96 long, dark nights for America: A way too late convention round-up

by awindram

Ninety-six long, dark nights to go.

Trump’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “President Obama refuses to answer question about Iran terror funding.  I won’t dodge questions as your President.”

Clinton’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “We know a guy with a binder, @realDonaldTrump. (He might not take your calls, though) [Note: this tweet by the Clinton team is in retaliation to reports Trump can’t name any women, other than his daughter, who would serve in his cabinet].

Risible election news story of the day: Clint Eastwood defends Trump’s ‘racist’ remarks: ‘Just get over it’

This is obviously way too late to be making continued observations about two conventions seeing as they’ve been over some time, but as this is just a blog read by, at best, three people I am going to indulge myself. At the very least, it helps me get my own thoughts into some semblance of order typing out these thoughts. This being the first US election in which I can vote I admit I may have gone a bit overboard in the political content on this blog – forgive me, but it is likely to continue a little bit longer. Anyway, as an addendum to last night’s post here are some quick observations on the conventions.

The Melania plagiarism story: I seem to be one of the few people left fairly indifferent by it. I was neither roused to anger nor laughter by it. Let’s face it, these spousal speeches – by now their own particularly dull subgenre of political speech – are always rote and hackneyed full of the most vomit inducing tales of happy families. The concern about the plagiarism story isn’t so much the actual act of plagiarism, but what this suggests about the Trump campaign and its general lack of organization and unprofessionalism. The idea that they are no staffers vetting this sort of thing is astounding.

Bloody kids: Thankfully the Clintons only had the one child so during the Democratic Convention we only had to suffer through one speech from the offspring of a Presidential candidate. The GOP, however, could field a different Trump sprog every night. Some people love it. Indeed, some people claim that Trump clear isn’t such a clear and present threat to American democracy because the expensively educated fruits of his loin can read from an autocue. Personally I’m sick of the whole Trump clan and I am sick of this recent trend of the adult children of Presidential candidates also constantly addressing us from the pulpit. It’s weird and it’s dynastic. John Major when he was PM never felt the need to bring out his feckless son James to do a speech at the Tory party conference.

Mike Pence: So the conventions gave America its first close look at the two VP candidates. Pence, unlike his running mate, has the advantage of being able to disguise his craziness on account of his perfectly bland features. He, at least, looks a politician. He even looks like someone you might cast to be the President of the United States. Not in a movie, you understand. No, that would be Obama. Not even in a Lifetime TV movie – that would be Romney. But in a sitcom starring Charlie Sheen … well, Mike Pence just might be the guy you’d call. At some point this fall we’re all going to have sit through a VP debate between Pence and Kaine – it really promises to be dull.

Ted Cruz: If anyone is keeping track of my half-baked ideas about this election, one that I can never entirely shake off is that this election is actually the great American novel – it probably stems from taking the political pundits discussions about “narrative” to their logical conclusion. And if this election were a novel then Cruz is the character we thought had been killed off who makes a dramatic reappearance. Things are so fucked up at present that I even found myself kind of glad to see him. I also don’t see his speech and refusal to endorse Trump as the career ender that some have made it out to be. I think doing what he did was worth the risk. Surely, none of us think this dalliance with Trump is going to work out well? Cruz will be able to claim to the GOP base that he was the one who warned them about what would happen. Really, I don’t think this will damage him in 2019 if he chooses to run.

Dem Celebs: It’s hardly surprising that the Democrats pulled in a better quality of celebrity than the GOP did. Half of Hollywood turns up for the Democrats while all the GOP are left with is Scott Baio. Not that it is surprising that Baio is a Republican – he hasn’t been culturally relevant since the Reagan era.

Further proof of the untrustworthiness of Bill Clinton: From Chelsea we learned that Bill finds nothing more amusing than a movie marathon of Police Academy 1 through 6. Quite why he has no time for Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow is anyone’s guess, though perhaps it has something to do with the Russians hacking DNC emails, but seriously if I’d known in the 90s that the most powerful man in the world had this love for the the Police Academy franchise I would have been much more pro his impeachment.

Hillary’s Speech: My twitter feed was filled almost entirely with positivity for Hillary’s speech at the end of the convention. It was a female accepting the nomination of a major party. It was historic. I get it. Perhaps that is why I was so disappointed by it. Hillary is just not a great deliverer of political speeches. She was by her standards competent on the night and they were some good lines in there that will be replayed in the months to come, but the performance as a whole was awkward and stiff. She is just not very good at this rally stuff and it’s made more obvious when the other big hitters at the convention are naturals at it – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama. That noted, it is pretty bizarre that we have a system for President that places so much emphasis on how you come across delivering a speech to thousands of people in an auditorium. I mean, Kid Rock is pretty good at exciting thousands of people in a stadium, but I wouldn’t want to see him as President. It’ll be interesting, however, to see how this plays out in the fall, but I do find it worrying that the Democratic nomination is someone who comes across more naturally during a congressional hearing than their own acceptance speech.

Balloons: The DNC convention ended with possibly the biggest balloon display in American political history. There seemed 100 balloons for every person attending the convention. Hillary, of course, had to appear like she was having a grand time and sportingly bounce balloons with her hands as if she were at a seven-year-old’s birthday party. It seems like pretty strange optics to me, playing around with balloons when you’ve just taken a giant step to landing a job that will invariably see you ordering drone assassinations, that will at some point in your term see you making decisions that may well cost thousands of people their lives. God bless America.