July 25, 2016

Not often do we stop to appreciate the pressures of the working press, but two conventions back to back must be leaving the political media totally exhausted. The Republican convention was a cascade of bizarre happenings and the Democrats’ promise to get off to a smooth and unified start didn’t make it to the opening gavel.

The deposed Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn’t feeling the love when she spoke to her home state Florida delegation earlier today. Instead, many delegates booed her unmercifully. According to the Washington Post, disgruntled delegates plan further disruptions to degrade the establishment’s dreams. Rigged, indeed. When one of the major parties greases the wheels for a favored candidate, the losing contender’s followers have every right to feel aggrieved. At least the Clinton campaign smoothly managed the exit of Wasserman Schultz, but the full repercussions may not yet have been felt. A Clinton presidency may move to restore the primacy of snail mail.

Wasserman Schultz should never have been fired for cheating Sanders though. Instead she should have been fired for carrying water for the payday loan industry that preys on the poor with loans carrying interest up to 300 percent.

Then, as the Boston Globe's Matt Viser tweeted, Sanders got booed for endorsing Clinton at his own rally. The Democrats are off to a Trumpian start, and Wasserman Schultz hasn't even brought down the gavel to open the convention yet..

Still, the nation will be more easily distracted by speeches from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama than they were by the collection of B-listers and Trump issue at the Republican convention.  There were several moments that went by unappreciated amidst larger oddities.

The talk radio host Laura Ingraham gave a speech that would have played better had she not been given a relatively minor time. Ingraham hit major themes of white resentment, of those who work hard and are patriotic and respect this nation. She contrasted these virtues with the takers in life, those who live off this country and don’t respect our traditions. She mocked the press. It was red meat for the faithful, forcefully and skillfully delivered. The crowd responded with passionate demonstrations. Of course the Trump campaign followed her with some casino investor Trump did business with, decked out in those light adjusting glasses. I was sure that Henry Hill and Tommy DeVito would join him onstage, but no such luck. He calmed the crowd down though.

Newt did what Newt does, proclaim the other side liars and corrupt. Peter Thiel came on to testify as the Silicon Valley libertarian and wound up praising government. “When I moved to Cleveland, defense research was laying the foundations for the Internet.” Where does he think the research funding came from? Our once high-tech government has fallen into such disrepair that our “nuclear bases still use floppy disks.” Gee, I wonder if it might take some money to fix that, and where we might find it?

Then there was the platform, praising coal as a clean energy source in language borrowed (with permission, not the Melania type of borrowing) from an industry group. According to Education Week, the platform committee rejected a call for public pre-K education, in the words of one committee member, because pre-K "inserts the state in the family relationship in the very early stages of a child's life." Or if you’re cynical, more likely because pre-K would cost money and that means taxes.

Enough Cleveland. We’re on to Philadelphia.

Republican Convention, Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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