Monday, July 18, 2016

the rnc: the setup ...

"You said come just as you are --
Skin and bones, smell like a bar.
You sure you want me there this way?
OK -- I'm on my way.

I'll grab this bottle just in case?
I'm just too ashamed to pray.
Well I'm bringing this burden to you now --
Yeah, the prodigal son returns,

The only way I know how.

The only way I know how! ...

So may this bottle?  
Be the body!
And this bourbon?  
Be the blood!

If I pour it out, 
Will you take my offer --
If you give me the strength,
To never pick it up?

Then here I stand!

Just as I am ..."

-- "Just As I Am" by Brantley Gilbert.  Yeah folks -- I'm gonna need both God and booze, to get through this convention.  And not necessarily in that order ...

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This election feels strange for me.

For starters, for the first time since 2000, the Conventions dawn with my vote already locked up.  Usually I give both parties my attention for the week, listening to what the candidates have to offer, and then make my decision based on who I believe is not only the best choice to lead the country, but ideally the candidate that is the most centrist of the group.  This year?  There's nothing to sell me; my choice is already made.  #ImWithHer

Secondly, and I ask this as someone who actually believes (and has for a long time) that Secretary Clinton will prove to be a better President than her husband was ... but have two worse candidates ever topped the ticket than Secretary Clinton and "House of Wings"?  Love her or hate her, even I have to concede that Secretary Clinton is a horrible candidate.  She's not charismatic like her husband (or "House of Wings") is.  She isn't the warmest, most engaging person when the camera is on her.  And she's not any good at speaking on the fly, at adapting to the conditions around her once she begins speaking.  (Her husband on the other hand?  Literally winged the State of the Union one year from memory when the teleprompter crashed.)

So she has her flaws.  But at least she's not the "star" of this brilliant attack ad:


So, here's kind of the plan for the week ...

1. I doubt I will live blog tonight  I do plan to have a recap and my reactions, at a bare minimum, to Mrs. Trump's speech tomorrow.  I'll try to get it posted by lunch CT, so you have something to entertain you in the afternoon tomorrow.

2. Tuesday will have to be recapped, not live blogged, at this point.  I currently have plans for tomorrow that I don't think I can get out of.  And even if I could, it would just delay what I have to do by a week ... and I don't care how train-wrecky the RNC looks at this point * & **, because nothing's going to top next Tuesday at the DNC.  It's Bernie's night.  Jesus, I would not want to be within 500 miles of Philadelphia next Tuesday.  His brain dead supporters probably think Comcast Country is a real country that they can mooch off of.

3. I do plan to live blog on Wednesday and Thursday for a bit.  And I will be scrutinizing both Governor Pence and "House of Wings" offerings to the masses.  (Or basically, what I usually do for every night of the conventions on this site -- hit the highlights of each night, and recap the keynote speech.

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(*: the New York Times is reporting that Reince Priebus, the RNC Chairman, had to explain to Mr. Trump why Don King would not be allowed to speak this week.  (He stomped a man to death in Ohio years ago.)  I'm not sure what's more insane: that Don King is a Republican ... or that Don King was supposed to speak at a political convention.  I mean, are you serious?  How awesome would that have been?  I mean, usually it's the DNC that gives us the ridiculousness ***.  Don King on stage would have been the mic-drop moment of American political history.  Bar none.)

(**: for those who think this week is going to be a loony tunes carnival, I remind you, it wasn't even four years ago when Clint Eastwood spoke to a chair for twenty minutes.  Other than Don King miraculously being re-inserted into the speaking lineup, the Republicans aren't topping that beauty from Tampa last time around.)

(***: in 2000, Reverend Jackson urged us to "stay out the Bush!  Stay out the Bush!" ... mere days before it was revealed that he failed to adhere to his own advice, and had knocked a chick up who wasn't Mrs. Reverend Jackson.  In 2004, Vice President Biden was booed off the stage for quoting a verse from the Bible.  Also in 2004, the floor nearly rioted when the Boy Scouts performed the National Anthem.  And as if that wasn't great enough, 2004 also gave us Reverend Sharpton railing for twelve minutes about how President Bush had taken his "40 acre and mule" from him.  Uuh, Al?  I don't know how to tell you this ... but the government hasn't handed out "40 acre and mule" in 150 years.  And of course, anything with Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA ... as in Drunk - Massachusetts).  Who can forget in 2000, when poor "Sweet" Caroline had to literally help him off the podium in Los Angeles because he was not only too intoxicated to walk, he was too intoxicated to coherently talk.  Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis!  Then again, three of the five best political speeches I've ever heard were delivered at the DNC -- President Obama's keynote speech in 2004, Al Gore's acceptance speech in 2000, and President Clinton in Charlotte four years ago, so it's not all fun and games, I guess.)

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For the record, I plan to do the same thing for the DNC next week -- at least recap every day, and the major speeches: Secretary Clinton, her Vice Presidential choice (who I'm betting will be Senator Kaine), plus anything Presidents Clinton and Obama have to say.  And God bless, do I truly hope and pray that for the first time since 2004, the "Justice Brothers", Reverends Jackson and Sharpton, will be welcomed back onto the stage.  Damned Barry not wanting to get upstaged the last two conventions ...

And of course, keep in mind -- next week is likely the last national speech Joseph Robinette Biden will ever give.  One last time, for old times sake:

  
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Now, having gotten the necessities out of the way, here's my thoughts (in case you care) headed into the Conventions:

1. I think this race is going to be very, very close.  Both with the popular vote and the electoral.  If you go to Real Clear Politics, and simply take the "Lock and Lean" Clinton against the "Lock and Lean" Trump, it's already 209-164 HRC.  Or basically where President Obama was at this point four years ago.  But consider this: if "House of Wings" **** manages to win the three vital swing states he currently leads in -- Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- that puts him at 228.  I know they aren't in the lean category and are still officially toss-ups, but Mr. Trump is going to win Georgia and Arizona, another 27 electoral votes to put him at 255.  You know what that means? 

North Carolina would put him over the top. 

Virginia would all but get him there. 

Anyone who thinks this is going to be a cakewalk for Secretary Clinton, is nuts. 

(****: gun to my head, "Donald J. Trump's House of Wings" is one of the ten best SNL sketches ever.)

2. The person with the most pressure on them the next two weeks?  Easy -- Hillary. 

Look it, love or hate "House of Wings" (I feel neither ... but there's no way I'll vote for him), the man can speak.  Thursday night is going to be the most watched political speech in a generation, and The Donald will deliver.  It will be entertaining.  It will be engaging.  It will be utter bullsh*t and lies, but hey, so was hope and change, and 50 plus percent of the idiot electorate bought it up -- twice.  I've seen Hillary give a truly quality speech once in my life: the concession speech to end her 2008 campaign.  That's it.  She's not a natural entertainer or comedian.  Trump is.

And as if not being a natural salesman / politician isn't enough of a handicap ... who isn't going to overshadow her next week?  

And more to the point -- can she afford for Bill to be corralled?  Can she afford to not give a night to Bernie and his bat sh*t crazy supporters?  Can she afford to not turn over a night to the Senator Warren crowd?  For all the talk about how "House of Wings" has to unify a broken party?  So does the Madam Secretary.  And if anything, her task might be tougher, if only because at the end of the day, the far right will rally to "House of Wings" to avoid a Hillary administration.  Bernie's bat sh*t crazy supporters might be angry enough to stay home or switch.

Put it this way: she has nowhere to go but down.  He has nowhere to go but up.

3. Am I the only one frightened by the fact that "House of Wings" has literally spent $0.00 in the last six weeks on advertising ... and he's still within the margin for error?  By this point in 2012, President Obama's team had brilliantly painted Willard as an uncaring asshole who threw his dog on the roof of the car for a cross-country drive.  The ad I liked too, way up at the top, that's just brilliant.  And it's not even making a dent!

4. I thought the selection of Governor Pence was the only sane option "House of Wings" had.  Chris Christie would have been a disaster -- if you're trying to unify the party, you sure as hell do not put on the ticket a man whose embrace of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy enraged two thirds of the base.  Newt Gingrich would have been worse -- if you're trying to unify the party, sure as as all hell do not put on the ticket a man who left his wife for a staffer ... and announced he was leaving as she was fighting cancer.  Governor Pence is on the wrong side of history when it comes to true equality, but other than that, I don't have an issue with him.  And even on gay rights?  Let's be honest here folks: DOMA was signed into law by a Democrat, and it took President Obama decades to "evolve" on the issue.  It's not like Democrats "own" being on the right side of history here either.

And finally …


5. I'm getting godd*mned sick and tired of having to text my great friend Jasson every morning "be safe today dude", because yet another law enforcement officer was shot overnight.  I'm getting really godd*mned sick and tired of it.  Stop shooting cops, people.  They're our ONLY line of defense between civilization and anarchy.  (Unless you want martial law.  In the words of Bartleby in Herman Melville's classic: "I'd prefer not to".)

Stop.  Shooting.  Cops.

Period.

No matter what your grievances with law enforcement may be -- and trust me, I've spent a night or six dealing with them -- they're not waking up in the morning looking to kill you, Black Lives Matter.

Yet you wake up, seeking to kill them.

Just stop already.

If only for Jasson's sake ...

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