Thursday, July 21, 2016

Republican reality TV: Now a 'nuclear dumpster fire'

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 7:16 AM

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The Republican National Convention continues to be a triumph in the assessment of GOP nominee Donald Trump, who declared after his wife's plagiarism episode that all press is good press. One commentator said it had now morphed into a "nuclear dumpster fire."

Plenty of press yesterday, that's for sure:

* TED CRUZ: He pointedly refused to endorse Trump.. Trump partisans whipped a chorus of boos. Cruz's wife, a Goldman Sachs executive, needed to be escorted from the hall. The master dealmaker couldn't win any concessions from Cruz in giving him extended prime-time exposure.

* STAYING BOUGHT: When Mike Huckabee gets bought, he stays bought. Give him that. He ripped Cruz. Hard to quarrel, though, with his assessment of Cruz as a "self-absorbed" politician concerned with his own future, not the party.

* NEWT'S NUCLEAR MELTDOWN: Cruz's convention-defining moment was truly marginal stuff compared to some other comments. Such as Newt Gingrich, who suggested failure to elect Donald Trump would bring an ISIS nuclear attack on the U.S. Really.

* OUR WORD IS DIRT: The candidate himself rocked serious people around the world with the declaration that we might not honor our NATO agreement should Russia move against some other countries, such as Baltic States. One serious commentator saw it all as a setting for Trump to ask Putin to make an appearance at the RNC. Who knows? The convention isn't over yet.

* WHAT PASSES FOR MODERATION: I quibbled with a point John Brummett made on Twitter last night. He linked one of Sen. Tom Cotton's many media interviews as he runs for president in 2020, one on CNN, and said the convention was making Cotton look like a 
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 moderate. I quibbled because a tape of the interview showed that, despite a misleading headline, Cotton did not explicitly condemn the Republican delegate, a legislator from New Hampshire, who'd said Hillary Clinton should be shot. Cotton said he couldn't "agree" with the rhetoric, but  jumped from that modest criticism to denunciation of Hillary Clinton, a "yes, but...." response if there ever was one. And he avoided yet again giving a singular endorsement to Donald Trump (his formulation favors saying a Trump-Pence ticket, in concert with a Republican congress, will be good for the country).  Cotton declined to say Ted Cruz should endorse Trump in his speech and dodged a question about his demonstrated lack of enthusiasm for Trump. But on reflection, Brummett was right. Bad and disingenuous as Cotton was and is, he appears sane in the broader context. I hope somebody will ask Cotton at Political Animals next week if he can speak this sentence, "I endorse Donald Trump for president and urge all Arkansans to vote for him." No ifs, ands or buts.

* WHEN YOU LOSE THE NEW YORK POST: Murdoch's paper is even forced to acknowledge some of the optics aren't so hot, such as this webpage item today on speaker Laura Ingraham.

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* THE WHITE PARTY: Conversation continues about how much white supremacists are enjoying the convention because they see it as living proof that the Republican Party is becoming the White Party. Paul Ryan didn't help things much with his beaming selfie with the white bread Republican intern crop. That prompted a congressional Democratic selfie that looked a bit more like the United States, not the Republican convention. You probably know Paul Ryan, but if you don't, you guess which party is which.

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