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Trump to America: “Dear Leader” Will Save You

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

trumprncYou are victims and I am your voice.

That is what a red-faced Donald Trump told the American people as he accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, shouting for 74 minutes to millions of viewers beyond the Cleveland convention hall who, by a margin of 70-30%, believe the country is on the wrong track.

“I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice,” he thundered. “I am your voice.”

To listeners partial to historical comparisons, you could almost imagine him yelling in German, “Ich bin Ihre Stimme.”

Casting himself as a nationalist, authoritarian America-first strongman who would fight for people aggrieved and discomforted by trade deals, immigration and crime, Trump avoided some of his more outrageous assertions – no “Crooked Hillary,” “Mexico will pay for the wall” or ban on all Muslims from immigrating – while also opposing some of the tenets of recent Republican orthodoxy.

In opposing free trade, foreign wars and by seeming to attack big business, Trump sought to reshuffle the political landscape, hoping to attract angry, working-class voters in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida, where he would have to win in order to capture the White House.

At one point, Trump portrayed himself as someone who in his own business had mastered the art of manipulating politicians and using legal loopholes and the campaign finance system to get what he wanted, saying that he is uniquely qualified to end the economic and political corruption.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me,” he said, pointing towards himself with self-approval. “Which is why I alone can fix it.”

trumpballoonsThat same old song: Trump’s uber-mission was to argue, after three previous days of a very rocky convention, that he represents change and that Hillary Clinton represents the status quo, and he put it right out there:

“My message is: things have to change, and they have to change quickly,” he said. “As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with the respect that we deserve.”

As a practical matter, the record-long acceptance address was a remix of Trump’s greatest hits — build the wall, start a trade war with China and destroy ISIS “quickly” (the ways and means of doing so, beyond his own boundless ego, remain mysterious). Because he read the entire hour-and-fifteen minutes stemwinder on a teleprompter, with very few textual departures, it lacked the energy, ad libs and full Bull Goose Loony of the stadium mass rallies where he was been haranguing huge mobs crowds for the past year.

To some extent the speech channeled Richard Nixon’s 1968 acceptance speech, in focusing on “restoring” law, order and American strength. “In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate,” he said, at a time when crime rates are at their lowest in decades. Trump also whiffed on the positive part of Nixon’s address, which was substantial.

Trump also delivered enough purist nationalism to appeal to the most rabid, um, right-wingers. “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders! Air Trade! Couldn’t have said it better,” tweeted Ku Klux Klansman David Duke.

He insisted NATO allies would have to pay their fair share of their defense – a rejection of decades of American foreign policy under both Democrats and Republicans – but did not go as far as he did in an earlier interview with the New York Times in which he said:

“If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal… I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

Trump also gave short shrift to other familiar hobby horses of recent Republican  campaigns: he gave a special shout out to “evangelicals” (without mentioning abortion rights or gay rights), “school choice” and “ending Obamacare,” but mentioned all three issues only in passing very near the end of his speech.

ivanka(Don’t) Lock Her Up: Towards Hillary Clinton, he was slightly more respectful than usual – he referred to her as “my opponent,” not “crooked Hillary.” Whether because delegations were so instructed or not, the one time the “lock her up” chant got going, Trump, no doubt mindful of trying not to be too nasty to a mass audience, threw cold water on it: “Let’s defeat her in November.”

While he avoided the usual nasty monikers, he still was brutal in his description of his opponent.

“After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before,” he said. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

“But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy,” he continued. “The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to produce a change in outcomes.

In passing,  the giant persimmon hairball sounded sympathetic notes for the “LGBTQ community ,” at least in terms of sympathizing with the mass murder victims in Orlando, a rare refrain at a Republican convention. After delegates applauded his promise to protect non-heterosexuals, he seemed to ad lib a second line on the subject: “As a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said – thank you.”

Trump also referenced government-sponsored infrastructure projects, concern about college loan debt – and high rates of minority unemployment, nodding to several liberal themes that his daughter, Ivanka, underlined in her introduction of him, including equal pay for equal work for women – “he is color blind and gender neutral.” She even mentioned bipartisanship, saying her father would “work with both sides of the aisle.” Where’s Jeb Bush when you need him?

With 70% of women telling pollsters they disapprove of Trump, it was left to Ivanka to speak to a cohort of voters her father has so fully alienated. Which she did, with grace and clarity.

If anyone connected outside of the hall during the entire four-day GOP flubfest, it was Ivanka.

Via the New York Times, here is the transcript of Trump’s speech.

Day 3: RNC Erupts in Total Trumpster Fire

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

cruzrncLike a Texas-sized skunk at Donald Trump’s garden party, Senator Ted Cruz spewed his feral stench on the New York narcissist’s convention — by withholding his endorsement of the Republican nominee during 23 minutes of juicy prime time given him by the Trump campaign.

It was the third straight night of the Trump National Convention in which the Donald’s improvised campaign skillfully stepped on its own story, following a bitter floor fight on Monday and the endlessly dragged on soap opera involving Meliania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama.

“The convention is a mess!” as an animated Chuck Todd put it on MSNBC moments after the Cruz debacle.

The Lebron James convention hall erupted in boos and jeers, with the New York delegation chanting “Endorse Trump,” as Cruz was wrapping up his remarks without endorsing the party’s chosen candidate.

As Donald Trump Jr. sat glaring in the family’s suite above the convention hall, the tangerine colored hairball himself suddenly appeared from high up in the arena and strolled down to the VIP box.

Having at least partly stolen back the spotlight, The Donald sat with his family, flashing a sarcastic thumbs up at the man he had labeled “Lying Ted.” Instead of sounding an endorsement, Cruz urged delegates – and the millions viewing at home – to “vote your  conscience.”

“We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody. And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

trumpthumbupCruz channels Dianne: It was an historic spectacle, great political theater and, let’s face it, pretty compelling reality TV.

The episode overshadowed a strong maiden speech by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, and strong addresses by Trump spawn Eric and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Cruz despises Trump for insulting his wife’s looks, implicating his father in JFK’s assassination, questioning his citizenship and hanging the fatal sobriquet “Lyin’ Ted” around his neck during the primaries; for all that and more, Cruz a few months ago ripped Trump as a “pathological liar” who is “utterly amoral” and “terrified by strong women,” and so there surely was a tiny element of personal hatred that motivated his action.

But Cruz being Cruz, his political agenda was much more important.

Clearly betting on a disastrous Trump defeat in November – fervently praying for it might be more accurate – Cruz is calculating that by standing up for “conservative principles” – unlike the quisling former Trump rivals Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker – he will emerge as the most righteous Republican front-runner in 2020, strongly positioned to help the party put itself back together.

If that long game scenario plays out, Cruz’s move will be credited as one of the great political chess moves in memory that involves sacrificing the approval of party activists inside a convention hall in favor of playing to a far larger audience outside. Hello Difi.

spy-vs-spySpy vs Spy: The strangest aspect of the affair, however, was that the Team Trump apparently signed off on the advance copy of Cruz’s speech – which did not include endorsement language – and let him go on anyhow, stepping all over the news of Pence’s speech, which would be just the latest example of political malfeasance by Trump’s butt boys and flunkies strategists at the convention.

In other words, Mr. I’ll Get Great Deals From The Chinese failed at the easiest Art of the Deal in politics – negotiating so that you don’t let anyone on your platform who doesn’t agree in advance to endorse you.

Former Republican National Chair Michael Steele, however, was among those in Cleveland who proposed that it was actually Trump who played Cruz.

Under this theory, because the Trumplings knew that Cruz wasn’t endorsing, they whipped the New York delegation, sitting right before the podium, to start booing at the end of the speech, which set off the cacophony throughout the hall.

At that point, Trump waltzes off, Cruz gets booed off the stage and his wife has to be escorted off the floor by security with delegates screaming “Goldman Sachs!” (her erstwhile employer) and other less polite things at her.

Trump’s tweet on the matter lent some weight to the argument:

“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!,”

trumpairkissAh, maybe not: Steele’s Machiavellian theory, which no doubt will be how the Trump campaign will try to spin things on Thursday, seems too clever by half, however.

It doesn’t make great sense that Trump would intentionally undermine his running mate’s acceptance speech, not to mention his own son’s address, given that he picked Pence for the one and only reason of making nice with party establishment types.

“It was an awful, selfish speech by someone who tonight, through the words he said on that stage, showed everybody why he has richly earned the reputation that he has on Capitol Hill,” Gov. Chris Christie told reporters. “He’s a total fraud,” Rep. Peter King of New York said of Cruz.

The Dems didn’t have trouble in knowing how to spin things. Moments after the episode, Clinton tweeted: “Vote your conscience. hillaryclinton.com/vote.”

In other news:

erictrumprncEric Trump, son of Donald and Ivana, thanked his father lavishly (who wouldn’t when he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth) and gave a pretty strong, compelling speech laying out the case that the Donald would restore “common sense” to Washington on trade, taxes, education, national security and jobs. “Vote for the one candidate who does not need this job,” he said – a powerful and effective argument against career politician Hillary Clinton.

newtrncNewt Gingrich gave a tight, muscular anti-Islamic terrorism speech, arguing that America is at war, that Trump understands this and that Clinton does not. He preceded his remarks by trying gamely to clean up the Cruz mess, endorsing Trump on Lyin’ Ted’s behalf. “To paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.”

Mike Pence did everything a vice presidential nominee had to do: he introduced himself, praised Trump and attacked Clinton. Nobody cared much.

P.S. Earlier in the evening Calbuzz learned exclusively that in the original text of his speech, before the Trump team changed it, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s refrain was “America Deserves Butter!”

It’s Official: Trump Is Nominated and Truth Is Dead

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

manafortThe second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland began with Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, notifying the American people that what they could plainly see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears simply was not so.

“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” Manafort said, striving to deny the undeniable – that Trump’s wife Melania the night before had clearly plagiarized part of a similar 2008 speech by the wife of Barack Obama.

“I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that,” he added. “To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”

In that are-you-going-to-believe-me-or-your-lying-eyes moment, Manafort (whose previous sleazy clients have included  “authoritarian leaders and scandal-plagued businessmen in Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines and more”) perfectly captured the twisted political values and deranged cultural zeitgeist that a few hours later led the Party of Lincoln formally to nominate Trump for president:  the triumph of lying, fraudulence and magical thinking over verifiable facts, reason and basic honesty.

It’s a distressing and despairing political trend that Calbuzz has tracked for six years, since we dubbed it the “death of truth.” 

Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president Tuesday night — and spend a moment pondering the meta-absurdity of those 10 words — and ushered in with him a dangerous new era of American politics:

Donald Trump is many things: an archetypal narcissist, a reckless provocateur, a vicious demagogue, a menacing bully and a ruthless thug. Most of all, he’s a pathological liar.

A few other glimpses of Day 2 of the Trump National Convention:

christienewBanana Boat: The caustic, corpulent and still un-indicted Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, emerged as the most incendiary speaker of the night, with his self-styled  “indictment” of Hillary Clinton for her roles in Libya, Nigeria, China, Syria, Iran, Russia, Cuba and in setting up her own in-home e-mail server.

After detailing political charges – since, of course, there were no criminal charges in any of  his examples – Christie got the audience to scream “GUILTY!” alternated with “LOCK HER UP!”

Our favorite Republican analyst Steve Schmidt gave the most accurate description of the delegates’ frenzied and frothing reaction to Christie: “It seems a little banana republican to me,” he said on MSNBC. “It’s something we’re not used to hearing in this country. We don’t lock up our political opponents.”

Of course, the mob on the convention floor already hates Clinton passionately – not unlike the way banana republican Manuel Noriega hated Panamanian democratic reformers. That, in fact, is the organizing principle of the convention thus far: Hillary Hatred, facilitated by a roster that sports the lowest percentage of black delegates – 0.7% — at a GOP convention in at least a century, with 18 blacks out of 2,472.

The irony of Christie – a former prosecutor – delivering an “indictment” of Clinton when his own top staffers have actually been indicted on criminal charges in his “Bridgegate” and related scandals, was no matter to the delegates.

It was pure, inside-the-hall rhetoric, designed to inflame the already-committed. Whether Christie did anything to persuade the 30% of undecided voters outside the hall that Clinton is more loathsome than Trump is doubtful. It was, instead, reminiscent of Patrick Buchanan’s 1992 “culture war” speech to the RNC in Houston – a screed that scared the bejesus out of viewers all across America.

donaldjrShocker: Junior praises Daddy. Donald Trump Jr. was more effective at speaking to viewers outside of the hall, with his stories about how the old man hung out with the workers on construction sites – as if the Donald ever knew a sheet-rocker by name – and instilled in his children respect for hard work and decency.

“For too long, our country has ignored its problems, punting them down the road for future generations to deal with,” Trump Jr. said. “In business, I was trained by my father to make the tough investments and decisions today to ensure a better future for tomorrow. We’ve actually started to believe that solving our great problems is an impossible task, and that’s why we need to elect a man who has a track record of accomplishing the impossible.”

There were no specifics about what Trump would actually do, except oppose everything Clinton stands for. But it was long on promises, to wit:

“For the first time, parents no longer think that their kids will be as well off as we were. We’ve lost the confidence in our leaders and the faith in our institutions,” the handsome young Trump said. “But remember one thing: we’re still Americans, we’re still one country, and we’re going to get it all back. We’re going to get it back better than ever before.”

And a chicken in every pot.

P.S. For those who want the inside story on Melania’s plagiarism, here’s the definitive-to-date New York Times’ account. Our best guess: Melania was the plagriarizer. She has no education to speak of and probably had no idea you can’t just borrow someone else’s writing or speeches, change a few words and call it your own. The campaign can’t throw her under the bus so no one will hear Donald say, “You’re fired!”

Day 1: Rudy’s Head Explodes, Melania Plagiarizes

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

melaniaspeechFirst came the Republican’s unity speaker: A woman who healed the wounds from a brutal convention floor flight by accusing Hillary Clinton of murdering her son.

Then the Donald Trump impersonator: Rudy Giuliani, three Red Bulls over the line, delivering a truly unhinged wild man masterpiece of fear mongering.

And finally the Slovenian eye candy: Mrs. Trump III, aka Melania, offering a luxurious laundry list of platitudes about her husband’s alleged humanity while reading a teleprompter more skillfully than he ever will.

Oops: plagiarized. From, um, Michelle Obama.

So it went on opening night of the Trump National Convention, as The Donald’s campaign towel boys produced a dystopian evening of fear and phobia in which speaker after speaker hurled right-wing red meat at the color-free faces on the floor of the Lebron James Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

It was a dark and stormy night: The unrelentingly somber and grim tone of the evening was broken only by the 15-minute homage to Trump’s purported “kindness, love and compassion” delivered in perfect broken English by his bride, clad in a cotton silk off-white Roksanda dress. You could look it up.’

Despite some scheduling screw-ups, the Trumpistas managed to get Melania into the heart of prime time, the 10-11 p.m. EDT hour that is the only segment of the convention being shown by the broadcast networks (it goes without saying that political junkies and other masochists can wallow in it endlessly on cable).

Otherwise the night would have been a complete disaster as the candidate’s lackeys mostly ignored the clear warning by Calbuzz that they need to be talking to independent-minded voters around the country, instead of focusing their energies on prompting rebel yells and building dog piles of the already converted inside the hall.

Except, even the one good move by campaign — using Melania to soften Trump’s misogyny, narcissism and mendacity — blew up into what GOP commentator Steve Schmidt called a “catastrophe” early Tuesday when it was revealed that parts of the speech she had claimed to have written (ha!) were lifted almost word for word from Ms. Obama’s 2008 convention address.

(Worse, according to some of our closest relatives, was the Trump campaign’s use of Queen’s “We are the Champions” — cue Freddy Mercury spinning in his grave — for Melania’s entrance and exit. Queen, btw, is just one of the groups that has told Trump to cease and desist using their works, others including the Rolling Stones, Adele, Neil Young, REM, Aerosmith and Twisted Sister.)

Here are three takeaways.

Pat-Smith-at-RNC-jpgThe exploited mother: Patricia Smith is the mother of the late Sean Smith, a computer tech who was one of the four Americans killed during the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA station in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

Haunted horror wracking her face, she brought raw grief to the podium, not simply to blame Hillary Clinton for the policy and security failures that led to the debacle that cost her son his life — but essentially to accuse Trump’s Democratic rival of murder and say that Clinton “deserves to be in stripes.”

“For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton,” Smith said. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”

Smith’s speech, which had some delegates in tears, was factually wrong and seems unlikely to convince anyone outside the convention hall to vote for Trump. As a brutal political matter, however, it did achieve one goal of his campaign: after a chaotic floor flight over convention rules that had some Stop Trump types calling his troops “brown shirts,” it immediately united delegates in a unanimous cloud of unadulterated hatred for Clinton.

rudyscreenshotRudy Kazooty: Perhaps some staff assistant or convention drone mistakenly printed out former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s speech in ALL CAPS, but whatever happened, Rudy delivered his stemwinder at a volume and speed that could only be approximated by trying to imagine hooking up with a jet engine.

Eyes bulging and arms waving wildly, Rudy somehow managed to keep his head rotating all the way around on his neck like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” as he delivered lines like this:

“The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe,” he screamed. “They fear for their children and they fear for themselves.” Um, except in California, we guess.

Repeatedly bellowing the words “ISLAMIC EXTREMIST TERRORISM!!!,” Giuliani offered a global political analysis that apes perfectly the narrative favored by ISIS, that the U.S. is involved in a clash-to-the-death-of-civilizations.

Although he presided as a mayor over a sanctuary city, Giuliani ripped Clinton for favoring “open borders” and all but accused her of wanting to import terrorists under the guise of accepting a few thousand carefully screened Syrian refugees.

In other words, he did a near perfect-pitch imitation of Trump.

melaniadonaldkissMelania my little Slovene flower: It’s a measure of how truly bad Trump’s Ivan the Terrible image is that the blathering heads of the MSM were falling all over each other to gush and grovel over Melania’s fourth-grade vocabulary level reading of every cheap sentiment Hallmark ever slapped on an Happy Anniversary Dear card.

The orangeade-visaged highrise builder and casino bilker, it seems, is “kind and fair,” with “a simple goodness of the heart” who she knows as “a man and as a father” and who will “never, ever let you down.”

Except.

As first noted by L.A. journalist Jarrett Hill, Melania’s lovey-dovey sentiments about Donald are extremely similar to those Michelle Obama expressed at a national nominating convention in 2008, towards the future president of the United States in 2008. Exactly similar, actually.

Melania—or more likely her speechwriters—appears to have lifted at least one crucial section of her speech from the one Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Some phrases—such as “that your word is your bond” and “your willingness to work hard for them”—were lifted nearly word-for-word or exactly so, with the rest of the section seemingly specifically tailored to avoid detection.

Not since Joe Biden lifted Bobby Kennedy’s famous words and passed them off as his own at the 1987 California Democratic Party convention — and was caught by a younger Calbuzzer —  have we witnessed rank plagiarism at a major political event.

Yet in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer several hours before delivering her little talk, Melania told him she had written the speech by herself.

Oops again!

What Trump Must Do At The Trump Convention

Monday, July 18th, 2016

trumpangry1Tonight, the Calbuzz National Affairs Desk will sink into the couch cushions to witness the Trump National Convention just like real Amuricans, gaping at our electric televisions while fortified with Bugles, Cheez-Its and donut holes.

Also: alcoholic beverages.

Our Global Political Reporting and False Equivalence Team previously demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt why Donald Trump won’t beat Hillary Clinton; however, we are nothing if not objective and open-minded and so, on behalf of Democratic bed-wetters and Republican fantasists everywhere, will suspend our disbelief and pretend to admit the possibility that The Donald could win.

As the convention offers the ferret-headed buffoon from Queens his best chance to show that he should be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, there is only one overarching question that matters about this week’s conclave in Cleveland: Will Trump and his podium posse aim their speeches and rhetoric at the 2,470 wing-nut delegates and 2,302 alternates inside the Quicken Loans Arena — or will they speak to the millions of independent-minded, if skeptical, voters outside the hall?

“Trump needs to ride the fine line between continuing to inflame those outraged by Washington and reining in his nutty rhetoric to attract independents and new people,” a waiting-to-be-convinced, veteran national Republican strategist told us. “When the lights are on and the mics are on, the bottom line is you don’t know what Donald’s going to say.”

Asked what Trump’s basic message should be, our GOP message man summed it up this way: “Washington sucks, and I’m not completely loony.”

buchananMainstreaming Monica: If Trump’s jingoistic rallies and neofascist speeches form the template for the convention, he and his chosen speakers will seek to whip up and inspire his rabid delegates against a backdrop of presentations focused on Benghazi, Bill Clinton’s infidelities and the imaginary Mexican invasion of the U.S. of A.

In that case, the convention will become a festival of bloodthirsty, bone-chilling right-wing rhetoric, aimed at those already primed to vote for Trump. To wit, an inside strategy, much along the lines of Pat Buchanan’s infamous culture wars speech to the RNC in Houston in 1992. “There is a religious war going on in this country,” Buchanan thundered. “It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.”

Outsiders looking in were horrified. Buchanan did no favors for President George H.W. Bush, who went on to lose to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton — the avatar of evil and degeneracy, in Buchanan’s view.

The alternative to the inside strategy: leave the heavy-lift right-wing pandering, media battering and vicious Clinton-bashing to others (hello NRA apparatchik Chris Cox, racist ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, knuckle-dragging Senator Ted Cruz and Dana White, homophobic president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship) while using his kids and Slovenian supermodel qua third spouse Melania to soften his persona as a narcissistic knucklehead — and offering in his own speech (speeches?) at least a vague hint that he once spent five minutes thinking about public policy, by way of letting persuadable voters believe he thinks the election actually is about them, not just him.

dianne1Exhibit A: A classic example, and the best application ever witnessed by these veteran convention watchers of a candidate using the spotlight of intense media focus to reach beyond the hall to a broad mass of obtainable voters, was Dianne Feinstein’s 1990 speech to the California Democratic Party convention, during her successful bid for the party’s nomination for governor.

While the liberal delegates at the convention favored Attorney Gen. John Van de Kamp according to a survey by the Los Angeles Times, Feinstein used her speech to the delegates as a stage for performance art, which yielded a terrific television ad highlighting her independence from party orthodoxy, as recounted in the seminal, if solitary, DiFi biography, plenty of free parking.

“Sadly, today in California only a few feel safe or believe they are protected by a halting and decrepit system of justice, she said, quickly adding: “Yes I support the death penalty – it is an issue that cannot be fudged or hedged.”

As soon as she uttered the words “death penalty,” delegates began a chorus of boos and jeers that cascaded throughout the convention center in Los Angeles. TV news coverage of the convention played up the spectacle of Feinstein being booed by her own party – which played right into her hands.

“Bless you, bless you,” media adviser Hank Morris said, standing at the press table as the Democrats railed at his candidate. “They booed, exactly as they were supposed to.” Soon Morris and [Bill] Carrick had produced a new thirty-second spot out of the episode, which had been duly recorded by a video crew hired for the occasion, and aired to demonstrate Feinstein’s toughness and independence.

As Carrick later explained, “In terms of the audience outside the convention, it was basically a defining moment because Dianne amplified the independence that is the strength of her candidacy.”

hillary-clinton-thumbs-upFull disclosure: We’ll be stunned to the point of rolling off the sofa to see Trump or anyone else speaking in Cleveland booed by delegates to the Republican Neanderthal Convention for an independent thought, beyond every mention of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or any other Democrat of note.

Rather, we expect a frenzied, nearly obscene chorus of fact-free attacks on the policies, character and accomplishments of Clinton et al, in hopes that, with constant repetition of untruths and slanders Trump and Co. will lower public assessments of the Democrats, while motivating fervent voters to lift the Donald onto a sedan chair and march him directly to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

As the late conservative icon William F. Buckley wrote of Trump in 2000: “When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America.”

Melania-Trump-best-modelling-shotsP.S. Speaking of Miss America, one of the more fascinating convention themes to watch will be how Trump and his alleged handlers attempt to undo the severe political damage his male pig world view and comments (not to mention his selection as a running mate the evangelical theist and ultrasound fanatic Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana) have inflicted upon women voters, three in four of whom view him unfavorably.

The key will be the rhetorical stylings of the aforementioned and previously silent Melania, along with the spawn of prior Trump marriages — Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric and (of course) Tiffany.

“In parading his family out there to actually speak, the goal is to leave people thinking, ‘he’s pretty nutty but if he’s raised those kids he must be okay,’” our Republican wise person told us.

“The women thing has to come from Melania — if she comes across as a gracious, delightful, insular, quiet, loving wife who just happens to be hotter than hell — and Ivanka – who has to be very well spoken, down to earth and delightful, despite being a little bit elitist.

“Then they might have women out there suddenly thinking, ‘That cool lady is married to that guy and that woman is his daughter, I’ll give him a second chance.’”