In Ted’s Fantasy World

Some mornings, Kish starts the day by reading news stories, and sometimes watching video clips of newsworthy events on her iPhone.  Today was one of those days.

ted_cruz_rnc_cleveland_ap_imgUnfortunately, the clip she chose to watch this morning was footage of Ted Cruz closing his speech to the Republican convention last night to a deafening chorus of boos.  Even more unfortunately, I was able to hear Cruz’s whining voice — which in my view is the human equivalent of a dentist’s drill — over the uproar.  I had hoped that, with the ending series of debates finally behind us, I would never have to endure Cruz’s irritating and overly studied vocal gyrations again.  Alas, it was not to be.

I don’t like Donald Trump, but I like the smug and smarmy Cruz even less.  If I’d been at the Republican convention — fat chance of that! — I’d have booed him, too.

Apparently Ted Cruz thinks his performance, and failure to endorse Trump, positions him to be the presumptive GOP nominee in 2020.  I think Ted Cruz is living in a fantasy world.  The only reason anyone other than Bible-thumpers backed Cruz was because he was running against Donald Trump.  Once Trump is gone — and by 2020, he’ll either be President or yesterday’s old, old news — Cruz’s base will dwindle to back to the religious righters who don’t mind his scripted speech patterns because it reminds them of the cadences they hear every Sunday morning from the pulpit.  By 2020, the world and the United States will be moving in a different direction, and everything that gave Cruz a shot this year will be totally changed.

I seriously hope I never hear Cruz’s holier than thou voice again.  It makes my teeth ache.

Cleveland’s Got Some Work To Do

IMG_0785I was in Cleveland today for meetings, and the downtown area has some work to do to get ready for the Republican Convention this summer.  I was right next to Public Square, which is undergoing a major renovation, and was able to get a high-altitude photo of the ongoing work.  It’s still got a ways to go, and traffic downtown was a mess, with lots of street lanes closed and snarls everywhere.

But look on the bright side — maybe the pro-Trump, anti-Trump, and anybody-but-Trump protesters will get frustrated by the crappy traffic flow and give up before they cause too much mischief.

The Rs Head To Cleveland

The Republican National Committee has announced that Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican Convention.  Cleveland edged out Dallas for the convention-hosting nod.

IMG_5406I’m happy for Cleveland.  It is one of the great American cities, and it deserves a break.  The money that will flow to town will help fill the city’s coffers, but it’s more than that.  Clevelanders are proud people, and I know that they will do their best to put on a good show for the Republicans who will be coming to town to nominate a presidential candidate — and the media, and the other hangers-on, who will be present for the show.  There’s lots to see and do in Cleveland, and having the national media camped out for a week or so will help to educate people about that fact.

I also think picking Cleveland is a smart choice for Republicans.  It’s not because Ohio will likely be a “battleground state,” again, and the choice of Cleveland will help to tip the balance.  No one I know will make their decision on who to support based on where the political parties hold their conventions.  However, Cleveland will help to focus the media on the economy, and jobs — which is where the focus should be.  It’s a gritty city, and perhaps it will help the presidential candidates, whoever they are, focus on gritty reality.  It’s just up the road, too, from the Utica Shale part of Ohio, and perhaps we’ll see a story or two about how fossil fuels can help revitalize a region’s economy.

I’m happy for Cleveland and for my friends who live there.

The Conventions Cometh

The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are just around the corner.  The Republican convention comes first, beginning on August 27.  The Democratic convention then starts on September 3.

The conventions don’t have the same importance they had decades ago, when it was not uncommon for dark horse candidates to emerge after deadlocked conventions entered the wee hours.  As recently as 40 years ago unruly delegates at the Democratic convention delayed the acceptance speech by the party’s presidential candidate, George McGovern, until well after prime time TV viewers had gone to bed.  Now, of course, conventions are heavily scripted affairs, with little drama and a heavy emphasis on messaging.

This evolution has caused some to argue that conventions are useless and should be jettisoned.  I disagree.  There is a liturgical element to conventions that will always have a place in American politics.  The welcoming address, the platform debates, the nomination speeches, the keynote address, the acceptance speeches — all are steeped in tradition, and all can tell you something about where the parties are heading and what they want to project.  Who have the parties selected to speak, and what are they saying?  With the careful planning that goes into modern political conventions, you can be confident that party approves of every carefully tailored word being spoken from the podium.

The parties are just starting to announce who will be speaking at the conventions.  We know that the Democratic nominees, President Obama and Vice President Biden, will speak at their convention, and GOP nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will address the Republican gathering.  We also know the keynote speakers — and here there is an interesting contrast.  The Democratic keynoter will be dashing Julian Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who is a Harvard graduate and has been described as the “Latino Obama.”  His Republican counterpart is bluff New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who successfully dealt with his state’s budget problems and promises to tell some “very direct truths” during his address.  Can anyone doubt that these two keynote addresses are likely to sound very different themes?

I’m no political junkie, but I think conventions are fascinating.  When the gavels go down on August 27 and September 3, I’ll be watching.