Tuesday, August 18, 2020


I don't know how I feel about the Democrats' virtual convention -- the people I follow on Twitter seem to like it, though I'm concerned that it's coming off, for the most part, as a bland infomercial. But maybe, after nearly four years of Donald Trump, bland is good.

Michelle Obama was very good. The headline of Robin Givhan's Washington Post piece sums it up: "Michelle Obama’s Speech Was Like an Eloquent Neighbor Expressing Sorrow for What Our Country Has Become."
She sounded like a wounded citizen. She sounded like a woman in pain.

By the end of her speech, her voice was breathy and her eyes began to shine, and it seemed as though she might cry. That she might weep for the future of her country if its citizens couldn’t roust themselves from these unfathomable lows and claw their way up toward the light.
Givhan is also right about the rest of what I watched:
The speakers were not firebombing the audience with their rage. Their tone was more of exhaustion and exasperation.

From the Republicans who were supporting Biden to the former Trump voters who had changed their allegiance, it was as though the anger had burned off over the course of 3½ years and all that was left was steely determination.

Or, perhaps, it was just too difficult, too strange to stand in front of a camera yelling into the void instead of a convention hall packed with cheering citizens. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tone was more urgent than angry.

People weren’t mad. They’ve been mad for years. They’ve moved beyond mad. Their voices were quieter. They were even smiling. Now, they are at their wits’ end.
"Too difficult ... to stand in front of a camera yelling into the void"? It's not difficult. People build entire careers doing that on YouTube.

It certainly won't be difficult at the GOP convention next week, although, given Republicans' indifference to the dangers of the coronavirus, they may decide to put their speakers in front of audiences. There's a week to go before the Republican convention and we still don't know the names of the majority of the scheduled speakers, but the names that have trickled out make clear that it will be four days of rage and resentment.
Republican National Convention organizers are hoping that the allure of a St. Louis husband and wife photographed pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters will be enough to pull in viewers.

Republican Party officials said the armed couple, lawyers Patricia and Mark McCloskey, will participate in next week's convention and share their support of President Trump, The Washington Post reports. The McCloskeys were photographed in late June outside their home, wielding guns and pointing them at Black Lives Matter protesters who were marching by on their way to the mayor's house down the street.

Last month, both McCloskeys were charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. They claim they were defending their home from the protesters, with Mark McCloskey telling Fox News, "We're not going to apologize for doing what's right."
And Breitbart reports:
Covington Catholic high school student Nick Sandmann, who was viciously smeared by the establishment media and has won settlements from the Washington Post and CNN, will speak at the Republican National Convention....
I called that in February 2019.
I can easily see Sandmann, the smirking kid from Covington Catholic, having a speaking role at the Republican convention.
The Breitbart story names a few other speakers:
In addition, Andrew Pollack—whose daughter Meadow was killed in the Parkland shooting at Stoneham Douglas High School in February 2018—will speak at the Convention, a Trump campaign official confirmed to Breitbart News. Abby Johnson, a former clinic director at Planned Parenthood who is now a leading pro-life activist, will also speak at the Convention....

Sources familiar with the plans told Breitbart News that each of these cases—in particular, those of Sandmann, the McCloskeys, Pollack, and Johnson—illustrate the potentially disastrous consequences of Democrat governance.
Here's a Miami New Times story about Andrew Pollack:
Pollack began making political moves the day after his daughter's murder. "I put the news on, and I saw every fucking news station, even Fox, was focusing on gun control," Pollack says, "when we should be focusing on fixing the schools."

The following week, he appeared on Fox and slammed Chris Wallace for even mentioning an AR-15 ban. When Governor [Rick] Scott attended Meadow's funeral, Pollack agreed to help him pass legislation that would focus on immediate changes, such as adding armed guards, rather than laws the grieving father saw as unrealistic, namely gun control.

In the months since, Pollack has become the face of the conservative post-Parkland movement. He's an enthusiastic Trump voter ("If [Hillary Clinton] won, to me it meant society was finished," he says. "I just didn't like the political-correctness bullshit.") He nurses a deep resentment toward immigrants, particularly Muslims. ("They don't have the same ideology as we do. They can't be westernized.") And he is unsympathetic to concerns that increased security presence and stricter discipline programs could negatively affect students of color. ("The whole black caucus voted against the safety bill. I think like 90 percent or something... It's not about color.")

... Pollack's grandfather moved to the United States in 1933. It was here where he met his wife, a Polish seamstress. They married in their 30s and lived without citizenship for years. At one point, the couple was deported, then snuck back over the Canadian border.

"It's funny. Everybody is talking about illegals — my grandfather was illegal for a long time." Pollack says. "Of course, big difference from the immigrants we got today."


"I don't know. They get handouts. They don't work as hard. It's different," he says, with no basis in fact.
The RNC might not be all rage. Another speaker mentioned in the Breitbart story is South Dakota governor Kristi Noem -- the one who prepared for a meeting with President Trump by having a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore built that included Trump's face. So the speakers who aren't being chosen for their ability to inspire rage among the already persuaded are being chosen for their ability to flatter the president most enthusiastically.

In other words, it'll be precisely the Republican convention we should have expected.

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