By Doug Porter
The news over the next four days will obsessively focus on the quadrennial Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
News Flash: Donald Trump will be the nominee. Fear of the ‘other’ will be the main message, abetted by a compliant media overly concerned about equivalence. The basic premises upon which GOP Truths are built upon will be largely unchallenged.
News Flash #2: There is a Democratic convention next week. Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. Lots of Very Serious folks will make promises about inclusiveness and progress. The underlying reasons for the necessity of those promises will be ignored, abetted by a compliant media overly concerned about equivalence.
Today I’ll focus on the Republicans.
Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble…
In case you missed the news, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ended up being Trump’s choice for Vice President. Trump wavered about the decision, urged on him by his adult children, calling aides late into the evening looking for a way to back out of the deal.
After postponing the press conference where his pick was to be made public–supposedly in deference to the tragedy in Nice, France–Trump made the announcement on twitter Friday morning.
A day later came the official announcement. Ezra Klien reacted at Vox.com:
I do not know how to explain what I just watched.
It should be easy. Donald Trump introduced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. There it is. One sentence. Eleven words. But that doesn’t explain what happened any better than “I spent a few hours letting lysergic acid diethylamide mimic serotonin in my brain” explains an acid trip. What just happened was weird, and it was important.
Back in May, EJ Dionne wrote that the hardest thing about covering Donald Trump would be “staying shocked.” Watching him, day after day, week after week, month after month, the temptation would be to normalize his behavior, “to move Trump into the political mainstream.”
But today helped. Donald Trump’s introduction of Mike Pence was shocking. Forget the political mainstream. What happened today sat outside the mainstream for normal human behavior.
…When You’re Perfect in Every Way
On the eve of a major party convention, it’s not surprising for some controversial stories to get published or aired. What is unusual is that the controversy in one of these stories come from the mouth of the candidate, and not in the form of a gaffe.
Donald Trump likely considers his (VP candidate Mike Pence was in the room) interview with CBS 60 Minutes to be a public relations success.
— Girls Really Rule. (@girlsreallyrule) July 17, 2016
Gawker posted a video compilation of the most cringeworthy moments.
Over the course of 20 minutes, the mood shifted from painfully tense to unbearably, painfully tense as Trump repeatedly interrupted both interviewer Lesley Stahl and new best friend Pence, who spent the majority of the time chuckling off to the side while everyone talked about him like he wasn’t right there.
At one point, Trump gave Pence permission to speak before talking right over him. At another, Trump interjected, “I’m much more humble than you would understand.”
Regretting the Deal
Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for The Art of Deal, is interviewed for the upcoming issue of the New Yorker. And he’s feeling kinda bad about helping to create the myth of The Donald as a success story.
Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering “Art of the Deal,” his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”
Shit into Shinola…
…Or, for those of you who’ve never had shiny shoes, turning excrement into shoe polish. The GOP Convention program is broken into four themes:
Monday: Be Very Afraid.
Headlining speakers: Melania Trump; Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; US Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Jason Beardsley, advisor for Concerned Veterans of America; US Rep. Ryan Zinke, Montana. Donald Trump at 7pm
Topics: Be Afraid of Black people, The Mexicans Are Coming to Rape and Plunder, Benghazi!, Benghazi!, Benghazi! and Bill Clinton Did the Nasty With an Intern
Tuesday: Trickle Down Really Does Work
Headlining speakers: Tiffany Trump; Kerry Woolard, general manager of Trump Winery; Donald Trump Jr.; Dr. Ben Carson; US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia; Kimberlin Brown, soap opera actress. Donald Trump at 7pm
Topics: The Greatest Billionaire Blue Collar Dude Ever, Not Getting Paid for Your Work Is Okay, Sending the US Navy to China Will Get Your Job Back, Getting Rid of the Federal Minimum Wage Will Help You Pay Your Bills.
Wednesday: Excuses Are For Losers
Headlining speakers: Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Donald Trump at 7pm
Thursday: Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Headlining speakers: Peter Thiel, Paypal founder; Tom Barrack, founder and executive chair of Colony Capital; Ivanka Trump; Donald Trump.
Topics: Trust Me
There are, of course, other speakers, but I’ve just listed the ones the Trump campaign has chosen to “headline.” (Really!)
On This Day: 1883 – The Brotherhood of Telegraphers begins an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the Western Union Telegraph Co. 1936 – The first Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled out of General Body Company’s factory in Chicago, IL. 1974 – The U.S. Justice Department ordered John Lennon out of the country by September 10. The Immigration and Naturalization Service denied him an extension of his non-immigrant visa because of his guilty plea in England to a 1968 marijuana possession charge.
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