The GOP Convention Day One: Convention Blues
A lot of my friends and readers are not watching the Republican law and order convention in Cleveland this week. They’ve already made up their minds about how they are going to vote. Not watching our two major parties picking a candidate is a sacred institution, next to watching “Casablanca” on independent Ch.5 or 11 back in the days when our three major commercial networks ran non-stop daily all day and night convention coverage. The patriot that I am, I found myself drawn to the Republican festivities, which began Monday, like a mosquito drawn to the blue lights that will zap them before they can taste another drop of the blood of larger species. While I wasn’t wearing headphones to get a direct feed from the Quicken Loans Arena floor during dinner at a restaurant with friends who were boycotting the event and my usual round of literary cocktail parties later in the week, I did hear and later see enough to keep this journal, which I proudly pass on to my grandchildren, pearls for posterity about the start of a presidential campaign which will live in history, like a great vintage wine, a Chateau Lafleur 1950 or a magnum of Gallo January 2016.
First of all, Trump was nominated.
The second thing I got out of the first two days is the family loves the Republican nominee. He is the father of the year. Despite three divorces, testament to Republican family values, there is nothing but domestic bliss, no sibling rivalries, although some of the kids seemed to be missing from the stage, probably out hunting to show their support for the second amendment. I tend to lose track of who’s who in the Trump household mélange.
The highlight of the opening day ceremonies was the creative writing award going to wife number two or three, the immigrant from Slovenia. As I was to gather, apparently there were oddities in Melania‘s moving paean to her husband. Googlers found word for word similarities to the Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention remarks.
There they go again, I kept hearing the immortal words of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 debates, bringing up the past. Before Reagan, political discourse was enunciated by Gov. Al Smith who used to say on the “raddio,” as he called the medium of the future in the 1920s, “Let’s look at the record.” The originality freaks in the media, it seemed, were offended by the apparent irregularities.
Scholars and respected authors call it “research” or “homage.” Others call it plagiarism. Look, shit happens.
In defense of the apparent cock-up, it could be argued all political wives say the same things about their husbands. If the media was being fair, they would go back and compare Michelle's speech retroactively to Dolly Madison or Abigail Adams who may have had duplications in praising their respective dearly beloveds.
In my opinion, it was still a remarkable piece of work for a recent émigré who had studied writing by reading the Style section of the New York Times, and other political journals like Vogue.
Anyway, wasn’t it enough that her speech had started a run on her convention outfit at the stores, helping the economy.
The saddest thing about Melaniagate is that it stole the spotlight from the most incredible convention speech since William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold speech of 1896.
I’m not talking about Jeff Session delivering an anti-trade and anti-immigrant tirade that could have been Goebbels’ warm up speech for der Fuehrer.
I’m not talking about Scott Baio. In his most important role since playing Chachi in “Happy Days,” Baio asked is Donald Trump a Messiah? “No, he’s just a man, a man who wants to give back to his country, America.” Fonzi in his black leather jacket could have won more votes.
Nor was it the noted political theorist and underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr., who without strutting his buns and abs went out on the limb to tell us he believes in Jesus Chris. As columnist Alfred P. Doblin summarized his speech in 25 words or less: “because he (not Jesus, my italics) was able to immigrate legally from Rome, there is no reason that Syrians fleeing for their lives can’t wait their turn.”
Nor was it the “Duck Dynasty superstar, whose name I’ve forgotten.
I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani.
With all due respect, America’s Mayor sounded like a lunatic.
Wildly gesticulating, pointing fingers, and throwing his hands around like a road company Mussolini, the former New York City mayor told us, basically, to watch out, the sky is falling.
He dared to speak the words Obama is said to fear: “Radical Islamic Terror.” “You know who you are,” he explained. “And we’re coming to get you.”
I could hear the swords rattle in Rudy’s closet. One of the four horses of the Apocalypse was neighing and eating crab grass in the backyard as he strapped on his holster and six-shooters.
“There is no other election,” he screamed. “Without Trump, it’s all over.”
I may have gotten some of this wrong. He was so scary I was hiding behind the couch without my pad and pencil, as his call to arms speech grew more and more insane
If I had the time, I would go back in the archives and compare Rudy’s rant to Il Duce telling the Populi from his balcony why it was necessary to invade Abyssinia to make Ethiopia part of Greater Metropolitan Italy.
Giuliani didn’t neglect to re-inform us he had been a great mayor. In his time in office, as I recall, he had managed to wipe out disorganized crime in the streets by getting rid of the car windshield wipers.
Giuliani is no LaGuardia. No one will ever name an airport after him. But by comparing Trump to Ronald Reagan, he had jumped the shark.
I don’t know how to tell you this, Rudy, but Trump is no Ronald Reagan. He isn’t even Warren Harding, the last businessman to sit in the Oval Office.
I will tell you more of what you’ve been missing after I take a nap and recover from Giuliani’s barnburner.
July 20, 2016