We are done with the Republicans in Cleveland and are almost set to get inundated by the Democrats in Philadelphia. Before we move on, some news from the campaign: Hillary Clinton has tapped Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Politically, it looks good because Virginia is very much a “swing” state. But the Bernie Sanders supporters can’t be happy that Clinton picked such a big moderate.
In other news Donald Trump, in an obvious play for Bernie supporters, has slammed the Democratic National Committee upon revelations of their underhanded tactics against Bernie and in favor of Hillary.
Still with Trump, he held one of his usual press conferences on Friday in which he declared the Republican convention a success. And despite what the mainstream media will have you believe, this convention in Cleveland really was successful in a lot of ways. Violence didn’t erupt in the streets to any great extent, and the party seemed remarkably united inside the hall — thanks mainly to Ted Cruz, whose negative attitude towards the nominee simply served to galvanize and unite everyone in the GOP rank-and-file behind Trump.
Trump really nailed home a lot of the issues in his acceptance speech, which ran a very long 75 minutes. It had a law and order, anti-terrorism type of theme to it, and whether you agree with Trump or not, he came across as a guy who’s serious and means business. He was not his usual buffoon self. And the speech by his daughter Ivanka cast Donald in the most positive light. His address got a very positive response from most people watching.
Of course, the usual media folks were panning the speech afterwards by saying it painted a very dark picture of America. There were criticisms that Trump painted a negative portrayal of an America nobody would recognize. President Barack Obama said something on those lines the other day, saying Trump’s doom and gloom doesn’t match reality.
If this is going to be the Democrats’ party line in this campaign, that Trump is too gloomy, they are going to be in serious trouble.
Voters know what’s going on in America. They see the layoffs going on, they see the plant closings! They see these shootings going on, they see the protests, and they see the terrorism on American soil and abroad. Just this week there was yet another tragedy, this time at a mall in Munich, Germany, where nine people were shot and killed in a mass shooting.
So when Donald Trump is going up there on the stump saying the world is going to hell, people nod their heads and say “yeah”. I’m convinced that every time something terrible like this happens, it’s more votes for Trump.
Democrats need to get their heads out of the sand and realize these are exactly the issues everyone is concerned about right now. Hurling accusations at Trump of promoting doom and gloom will not fly with the electorate — not in this election.
So here we go, the final night of the GOP convention, and Donald Trump will be giving his acceptance speech tonight on what sounds like a “law and order” theme. Thank God, I was getting tired of listening to all this Hillary-bashing. Right now, the RNC chair Reince Priebus is up there bashing Clinton. It’s basically the same stuff we’ve heard all week.
Hopefully, Trump will be more reserved in the Hillary-bashing and will look “presidential” tonight, for a change. His daughter Ivanka speaks tonight, too.
As for Ted Cruz, he explained today there was no way he was going to endorse someone who had insulted his wife and insulted his father like Trump had. So you can basically blame last night’s Cruz speech debacle on Trump, too, because he went too far during the campaign in bashing Cruz. What goes around, comes around.
As for my further thoughts on Trump’s nomination, here is my newspaper column which ran this week, in which I try to make sense of his rise to the top of the Republican Party. The key word is “try”. Obviously, I don’t think I’ll ever make any sense of him.
I guess the other big news on this day was of Roger Ailes resigning from Fox News, so if Fox News anchors look a little distracted in today’s coverage, that is why.
That is all the news for now, time to watch the rest of the convention.
Based on what you would hear from most of these networks and reporters, you would think this convention is a total disaster. They were still on about the Melania Trump speech plagiarism and today, a speechwriter finally confessed to being responsible for this debacle.
Also, there is this behind-the-scenes snarling by the Trump people because Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t show up at the convention in his own state.
Other than that, this convention has gone pretty smoothly. There’s been far less violence in the streets than I expected.
And for all the talk about “establishment” figures not showing up, it sure seems like a lot of big Republican names are there speaking — Rudy Giuliani, Joni Ernst, Newt Gingrich etc. And you look at the lineup for tonight, and it’s not an insignificant group of people. So really, all this talk about big names not showing up is a little overblown.
As for the speeches in general, it continues to be a big Hillary Clinton bash-fest every night. Last night the most memorable speech was from Gov. Chris Christie who rattled off a long list of Hillary messes on the international stage, Benghazi included, and asked the audience repeatedly if she was “guilty or not guilty”? Of course, the delegates were bloodthirsty as usual with their cries of “lock her up!”
As well, there was a speech by Dana White praising Trump, which makes you think Trump must not be such a bad guy after all. Hey, if Trump likes the UFC, he must be a good guy. ( Republicans didn’t used to be in the UFC’s corner; I recall that former nominee John McCain was one of the people who really went after the UFC back in the day.)
Anyway, today I’m finding these proceedings in Cleveland are getting to be boring. We are getting one speech after another praising Donald Trump and bashing Hillary, and it really has gotten to the point where this is sounding like a big campaign infomercial. Next week’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia promises to be even more of the same, in reverse.
Tonight’s lineup includes a speech from Ted Cruz, and earlier today CNN’s Dana Bash was breaking the big news that there was no mention of an endorsement of Trump in his speech. So that is what the reporters have been reduced to — reporting big breaking news on whether the party is unified. Also, Gov. Mike Pence speaks tonight as well to accept the VP nod.
That is what is happening at the convention. Now, here is the rest of the news of the day:
I guess the other big political news of the day was that Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has been banned for life on Twitter for getting into a vicious Twitter fight with Leslie Jones of Ghostbusters. People are really up in arms about this on social media, claiming free speech is being attacked.
Which reminds me… Box office news from the weekend: The Secret Life of Pets edged out Ghostbusters, $50.5 million to $46 million.
In other entertainment news producer Garry Marshall of Happy Days fame has died.
And the field is set for the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event, to be held in November.
That is it for now.
Update: and in big breaking news, the GOP convention is a gong show again. Ted Cruz was booed off the stage after he failed to endorse Trump in his speech. He actually told the delegates to “vote your conscience“. Wow.
Sen. Jeff Sessions has just put Donald Trump’s name into nomination, and now the roll call is about to begin. CNN is reporting there could be issues on the floor with some of these holdout pro-Ted Cruz states causing problems and forcing individual polling of the states. Anyway, it’s starting.
Update: it’s done, Trump is officially the GOP nominee, but with several opposition votes cast for Ted Cruz and other people. Most opposition votes against any GOP nominee since 1976.
This is no way to start a convention, with a needless controversy like this.
But last night Melania Trump sure seemed to repeat pretty much the exact same thing as what Michelle Obama said at her husband’s convention in 2008 — stuff about working hard for what you want in life, and your word is your bond, and you treat people with respect, and so on. Almost word for word the same.
This controversy made for a pretty unintentionally exciting day at the GOP convention, and also ruined what seemed like a good night for the Republicans, with one speaker after another going up and trashing Hillary Clinton.
But nobody cares about that now. This speechwriting debacle is more of the same amateur-hour incompetence from the Trump campaign that we have come to expect.
Apparently, no one is going to be fired over this. I’m guessing this is due to a shortage of people willing to work for Trump, but never mind. As for Melania, what now? Is she going to resign as Trump’s wife?
I think that’s the other thing you have to keep in mind about all this — she’s a spouse, people, she’s not running for office. Moreover, it’s obvious she’s not that into politics — she’s a supermodel, folks. Still, this is really the fault of the speechwriter here, this is just plain laziness. As Donald Trump would say, “you’re fired!”
Anyway, that was night number one, and it can only get better from here, eh?
Well the first day of the GOP convention has been a wild one already — basically the afternoon session was way more exciting than this evening is going to be. What basically happened today was that #NeverTrump forces blew off a lot of steam on the floor.
These delegates tried to throw out the rules that would have bound the delegates to Donald Trump. They attempted to get a roll call vote on adopting the report of the rules committee, and nine states had apparently been rounded up to force a roll call vote.
But what ended up happening was that the chair held a voice vote, declared the “ayes” have it, and then walked off the stage, ignoring all these “nay” people who were shouting from the floor!
So they had to go back and do the voice vote again, and the same thing happened. Eventually the chair ruled not enough states had met the threshold for a roll call vote. It turned out the Trump folks managed to convince delegates in three of the states to rescind their support for it.
So that was it — the Trump forces totally prevailed.
Checking out the coverage, though, you would have thought this convention was in chaos. These cable TV reporters reacted like they had never seen this sort of thing before. They were calling it “unprecedented”, but in fact it is “precedented”: it’s simply been a while since we’ve seen this sort of thing happen. Not for at least 30 years or so.
The fact is there is still a vocal minority of Republicans who will not support Trump and that was evident today. All this was was their last gasp. The end.
Now that all the excitement is out of the GOP’s system, the theme for this evening’s TV coverage is “Make America Safe Again”, highlighted by the speech from the “Republican nominee for First Lady”, Melania Trump.
Hi, we are still a couple of hours to the opening gavel. CNN has a rundown here of the agenda of items for this week. I guess the big event of today is Melania Trump speaking.
Also, I found this list of television coverage and if you aren’t thrilled with the number of hours NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX are devoting, don’t worry — gavel-to-gavel will be available on the cable news channels and online.
From this point on, and for the next two weeks, The John Cairns Blog will be updating as much as possible with live US political convention coverage, starting with the Republicans in Cleveland with their National Convention, followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia the following week. I’m also planning be active on Twitter, as much as possible. I guess I’m going to be “sort of active” on Facebook, but that will just be the usual re-posts of my blog links for the Facebook audience.
It ought to be interesting, both inside and outside the QuickenLoans Arena. If you believe the media, though, this is sure to be a terrible convention, with lots of party infighting and plenty of big party names not showing up because Donald Trump is the nominee.
Also, I notice people are already blasting the party platform and saying how right wing it is. Anyway, we’ll see what the convention will be like. Trump’s speech, surely, is not to be missed.
I’m going to try and muster some enthusiasm for covering this convention, but honestly, I think I am burned out on political coverage. Sort of like… Luke Russert. (See previous post.)
Seriously, I’ve had my fill of political coverage in my own job for months. Besides, I am supposed to be on vacation. Now that I finally have my freedom back, I want to be free to enjoy the fun things in life again (summer, travel, watching sports events, etc.), instead of focusing on all this political nonsense as I have been doing. So expect my latest coverage to be a little more haphazard for that reason as well.
On to the latest news. Today was meant to be the big announcement by Trump that Indiana governor Mike Pence would be his running mate. However the terror situation over in France, with so many people killed in Nice, has cast an obvious pall over all things today.
So that official live announcement will now go tomorrow at 11 am in New York, but Trump has already spilled the beans on Twitter. This is probably the biggest political news we are going to get out of the Republicans — next week promises to be all about putting on a show.
That is all for the moment.
Well, sorry for skipping out of the big convention coverage last night. Instead of liveblogging as usual, I instead drove out of town and missed most of the TV and online coverage of the convention. However, I was never out of the loop, as I did tune in to the live coverage on satellite radio on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.
Now, I have to rant and rave about the coverage. I gotta say it, MSNBCs coverage was just terrible. They didn’t even try to be fair and balanced — they just piled on the Republicans like there was no tomorrow. It was Rachel Maddow going nuts, and Chris Matthews going nuts, and all these other talking heads just ripping the GOP. They were particularly bashing Paul Ryan at one point and ultra-fact-checking him, and saying he lied to Americans during his speech the other night. They all sounded like Democrat operatives.
You didn’t get any sort of real convention coverage from these nitwits or any attempt to convey what was actually happening. It was all about Rachel Maddow and her opinions.
At least CNN broke away from their talking heads to tell you what was going on at the podium, and Fox News was their usual selves with big conservative Sean Hannity (oddly enough, during THE FOX REPORT the main story they covered was the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, with all the flooding down there). But MSNBC was really awful.
Also apparently really awful, according to the GOP bashers, was that old codger Clint Eastwood. The speech was described as really odd and rambling, and a lot of people thought it took the party off message. But again, I didn’t see what was so terrible about it, it was just Eastwood being off the cuff. It was entertaining enough. But again, I’m not a political pro.
Mitt Romney’s speech was about what I expected and maybe it made a difference, I don’t know. Honestly, though, the way things are going I am as pessimistic as ever about the GOP chances. Last year I thought McCain had a hope, but I am just not feeling it this year from the public.
The Democrats go ahead in Charlotte next week. I plan to be back for that.
This post will serve as a brief rehash of last night’s proceedings and a bit of a preview of tonight’s festivities. Tonight VP nominee Paul Ryan is meant to speak. Already, Sen. Rand Paul has spoken, and so has Sen. John McCain. They also showed a video featuring the two George Bushes.
Last night had an interesting bunch of speeches capped by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who I jokingly refer to as Gov. Fred Flintstone.
He went out there and did the fist-pump thing to try and get the crowd excited, and yet the punditocracy didn’t seem to give the speech rave reviews. They went so far as to say Christie laid an egg and was a flop, and I don’t know why — the speech didn’t seem to be that bad to me. Maybe it came off better on TV than in the hall, I don’t know.
One of the post-game shows — I think it may have been the ABC webcast – mentioned that Christie is really more of a press conference kind of guy, someone good at off-the-cuff remarks. Then again, there was the hilarious time when he held that press conference where he called a reporter “stupid” and an “idiot”, and I don’t know if you’d want him doing that at a national convention either. Anyway, I still don’t see why it was that bad a speech.
In other news, I guess the other news of the day is that one of the political reporters was fired today for comments he said this week at the convention. Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalian was fired after going on the ABC News/Yahoo! live feed and joking about how Hurricane Isaac was hitting New Orleans that very moment, implying that Mitt Romney didn’t care at all. “They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning,” he said!
I actually heard him say that on the webcast last night and thought it was an over the top offensive comment, but then I forgot about it. I didn’t think he would be removed as bureau chief over it. Apologize, perhaps, but not be fired over it. Anyway, it shows you how easy it is to put your foot in it, as Yahoo! News fired him today. (UPDATE: Come to think of it, I thought the worst that could happen to him would be a suspension.)
I think that will have to be all until a little later. I’m going to go back to watching the live streams from Tampa. (Makes me miss politics, watching all this fun convention stuff.)
UPDATE: Gwen Ifill of PBS comes to Chalian’s defence, doesn’t agree with the firing, stands with him and calls him “God’s Gift to Journalism”.
As usual I thought I would do my usual act every four years of linking you to the live convention streams going on out there. Yes, despite the fact that there is NO CONVENTION ACTIVITIES to cover tonight, people are actually live-streaming and yakking on the air about the Republicans and their convention in Tampa.
PBS NEWSHOUR’s coverage is HERE.
POLITICO has a live stream going on HERE.
CBS NEWS is HERE. I notice they don’t seem to have a livestream today, unlike these other jokers who insist on showing pundits talk about nothing.
The GOP’s favorite network Fox News is HERE.
CNN is here.
Finally, for you written word folks, National Journal’s coverage is here.
That is all for now, since, well, nothing is happening tonight due to Isaac. Incidentally, right now Isaac’s heading down the same route that Katrina went seven years ago this week. Follow CNN’s account here.
The word on Tropical Storm Isaac is that it hit land today and soaked south Florida. I spent a portion of the noon-hour watching the coverage from Miami TV stations on the Web.
Now the concern is shifted to the upper Gulf Coast, with the cone of concern shifting to as far west as Mississippi and even New Orleans. The worry is this storm will be hurricane strength by the time it hits by mid-week. OH NO, NOT AGAIN! It was around this same time seven years ago that Katrina made such a mess. Now it looks like that region is going to have to prepare for another hurricane, again. I plan to keep an eye on the situation and tune in to the Mississippi and Louisiana TV stations for their coverage.
In other news, the weather situation has indeed forced the postponement of the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but it looks like the convention will go on as scheduled on Tuesday. From a personal standpoint, that’s GOOD because I was going to be covering a city meeting Monday night anyway. So there was no way I was going to watch anyway, so it is all just as well. Stay tuned here at the blog for plenty of convention coverage over the next two weeks.
Finally, I should note here the passing on the weekend of Neil Armstrong, first man on the Moon.
I am not going to talk about all the other considerable problems facing the Republican Party following the considerable foot-in-mouth-disease events of the past few days, but making matters worse is the news that Tropical Storm Isaac, threatening to become a Category 1 hurricane, could be on track for Tampa Bay and hit right as the Republican National Convention opens on Monday.
Yikes! Anyway, it gives me one more weather event to follow over the next few days. No doubt, the Florida TV stations will be going nuts covering this on the Internet, showing scenes of people evacuating or buying generators, so I should be able to tune in to a lot of good live streams in the coming days.
As for the GOP convention, who knows what is going to happen. Chances are this storm still may miss Tampa, but if it hits, all bets are off.
No doubt, contingency plans would still be ready if the convention is cancelled. The Republican delegates would likely convene by conference call or something to nominate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, and then Romney would give his acceptance speech Thursday night at some hastily-organized event somewhere else before a big crowd of people. In fact, if this storm messed up the political events in Tampa, this convention will do something that American political conventions haven’t done for a while: produce some actual news.