Thursday, July 21, 2016

ICYMI: Yesterday at the Republican National Circus

Yesterday, day three of an already bizarre convention snubbed by all but one of the living past nominees and other big GOP names, played out in a way most Hollywood producers would reject as too crazy a concept.

The runner-up, Ted Cruz, gave a speech in which everyone expected him to endorse the candidate, but he did not.  Instead he urged his fellow Republicans to vote their consciences.  Hillary Clinton liked that line.
Vote your conscience.
Trump entered the room just as Cruz was wrapping up his remarks, and Cruz was booed off stage in Showtime at the Apollo fashion. Newt Gingrich then came on and tried to twist Cruz's words or lack of them like a pretzel.

Both Newt and Trump's running mate Mike Pence engaged in the compulsory Hillary-bashing based on lies.

The backdrop to all of this:

-A day that began with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorsing the Democratic candidate on morning TV smack in the middle of the Republican quadrennial presidential nominating event and condemning their candidate in no uncertain terms.  Read the endorsement here >>>>
-The incoherent statement from a Trump advisor calling Hillary "the Jane Fonda of the Viet Nam" and calling for her execution for treason. This the morning after Chris Christie roused chants of "lock her up" from conventioneers.  The advisor is under Secret Service investigation.

-An evening that began with a live band serenading delegates with Sweet Caroline.
Never really thought that the decay in democracy would happen to the music of Neil Diamond.
-The detritus in the aftermath of Melania Trump's Tuesday night speech.  I haven't mentioned the purloined paragraphs here.  Until yesterday, there was a mist around how the passages came to appear on Mrs. Trump's teleprompter. Finally,  Meredith McIver, a Trump organization staff writer, owned up to writing the piece based on ideas Melania read to her from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech during a phone call.  Aside from the obvious: the accusations of plagiarism (it was - no attribution was included), the denial (at first it was not clear that she knew she was reading someone else's words), the equivocation (she said she wrote it herself with as little help as possible),  there is the small matter of Ms. McIver's employer. She offered to resign and the resignation was rejected, but resign from where?  Ms. McIver is not employed by the campaign and therein may lie an FEC violation.

Melania Trump Speech Appears To Be An Illegal Campaign Contribution

Ethics watchdogs suggest that’s another oops for the Trump campaign.

CLEVELAND ― The revelation that Donald Trump’s business staff writer Meredith McIver wrote the partly plagiarized speech given by Melania Trump on Monday night raises questions about whether his campaign is illegally commingling corporate and campaign resources.
McIver does not appear to have any official role in the presidential campaign. Her letter acknowledging her role in the speech debacle appeared on corporate letterhead from the Trump Organization. And she is not listed as being paid by the Trump campaign on any available reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Corporations are banned from donating directly or through in-kind services to political campaigns. McIver could have volunteered her services, but her offer to resign from the Trump Organization suggests that she was acting within her job responsibilities. (Donald Trump rejected that offer.)
Read more >>>>
Meanwhile, hardly a speaker takes the stage in Cleveland without bashing Hillary.  One of the memes is that laws do not apply to her the same way that they do to everyone else, the reverse of James Comey's statement before the House Oversight Committee.  Actually, that meme befits Trump and his campaign more accurately.
Who knows what to expect tonight? We've seen some crazy conventions. John Avlon, on the ground in Cleveland, files from a gloomy perspective.

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