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Thursday, July 21, 2016

GOP Convention: A Few Thoughts

I wasn't going to write about the party conventions since there is already so much coverage. That said, however, I am going to write a brief post about the GOP convention so far.

I think a lot of the speeches were, frankly, excellent. And mind you, I am not generally a fan of American political speeches. They are generally overwritten, overwrought, and overloud. Our politicians have lost the ability to give interesting speeches or to engage in non-scripted debate. There are a few exceptions: Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, and Allen West are names of living politicians that come to my mind first as those still possessed of the gift of the gab. There are others, of course, but in general it is a lost art. Oh, yes, there's one more, Ted Cruz--more on that to follow.

I thought that VP candidate, Indiana governor Mike Spence gave an excellent address: modest, self-deprecating, folksy, in a genuine way not in a Hillary way, witty, and well-delievered. He provided some sharp analysis of the current mess we are in and, I think, made a good case for voting Trump and not Hillary. This seemed a superb introduction for most of America to Pence. Mission accomplished.

Other speakers of note were Sheriff Clarke, Patricia Smith, the Trump boys, and Newt Gingrich who had the tough job of following Ted Cruz's speech. I thought that Chris Christie's speech was great, and would have made a good Diplomad post, but, in the end, I don't know if it didn't come off as a bit over the top and am not sure how it played with the undecided. But, it's the speech I would have delivered had I been invited to speak . . .

OK, Ted Cruz. I have long admired Ted Cruz and thought that he would eventually have a good shot at being president. He is extremely smart, well-read, articulate, a fierce debater, and a genuinely great orator. His July 20 address to the GOP convention was a very fine piece of writing and delivery. I have no doubt that he wrote it himself. He had some stirring passages about protecting freedom, and the cost that some pay to protect our freedoms. He had some excellent swipes at the power-mad Obama-Clinton school of thought. It, however, was an exercise in extreme narcissism and self promotion that will, I think, prove as fatal to him as the defective torpedo that the USS Tang fired on its fifth and last war patrol in the Pacific. I don't know what target exactly the Cruz missile sought to hit, but I think it circled back and got him.

At a minimum, it was, indeed, a classless act, as the RNC labelled it. In that address, of course, Cruz declined to endorse Trump for president. It seems that Trump had read the speech ahead of time, but decided to let Cruz deliver it. That is either an act of great generosity by Trump, giving the lie to those who see him as an authoritarian bully, or a decision to follow the dictate attributed to Napoleon, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

That is all for now.

Please note that none of this post was lifted from any speech by Michelle Obama.

45 comments:

  1. Could you do an article on Turkey?
    Sincerely,
    leaperman

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  2. Cruz would have been my #2 choice. In eight years Cruz would be in his mid-fifties and might have had a good shot at President. I think he flushed that down the toilet tonight. He put his pride before country. Eff him. He's another Benedict Arnold.

    I second the request for a Turkey article.

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    1. IF and it is a big IF Trump wins,(he only received 41% of Republican votes) he will take an Oath to the Constitution. I believe his 4 years will be a massive fail. Trump chose a scorched earth campaign. He is chasing Bernie voters, while shutting out conservatives.
      So, will you hold Trump to the Oath of office? When he does a 360 time and again, will you call him Lyin Donald?

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    2. I hope you won;t mind if I save this comment and quote it to you later.

      Delete
    3. Unknown, a "360" leaves you pointing in the same direction.

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  3. Cruz would have been my #2 choice. In eight years Cruz would be in his mid-fifties and might have had a good shot at President. I think he flushed that down the toilet tonight. He put his pride before country. Eff him. He's another Benedict Arnold.

    I second the request for a Turkey article.

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  4. If you take that kind of abuse from Trump and you turn around and endorse him, you get a Chris Christie. I think Cruz has more self-respect than that. He may have ruined his chances for higher office after this, he still has to look in the mirror every morning.

    And wouldn't it be more opportunistic to endorse Trump rather than risk ruining his chances later on?

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    1. He always had the option of staying home and not participating in the convention, but he chose to take advantage of the opportunity. That was his mistake. Most in the party disliked him to begin with. His ill-conceived move last night isn't going to open any doors for him in future elections. I'd say he's done like dinner.

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    2. Cruz was invited by Trump to speak. If he had refused, Trump's supporters would be angry at Cruz for that. And he earned the second-most votes so it's not true that "most of the party" dislikes him.

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    3. DRJ, There are a lot of things he could have said. The code words for the NeverTrumpers from Monday night were not the best choice. I think he hurt himself badly. For obvious reasons I will see you at Patterico after the election.

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    4. What words would satisfy you, other than an endorsement?

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  5. Dip, I, too, have greatly admired Cruz. But.

    I know I’m going to sound like an idiot, but that has never stopped me in the past.

    When did it become the norm for a person to pledge his word on something, and then be cheered by commenters when he breaks it? If you think you may want to break your pledge, don’t make it.

    I kept waiting for Cruz to say something like, “I gave my word that I would support the nominee of this Party, AND I KEEP MY WORD. I support Donald Trump.” He could have explained it in any way he chose. When he didn’t, I felt betrayed. (I hate the whole Post-Modern idea that words like “honor” and “oath” are meaningless, if you feel dissed or whatever.)

    And it makes me wonder about the oaths of office Cruz has taken, and will take.

    Sen. Cruz: By what criteria can an oath be ignored?

    Signed: Minta Marie Morze

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    1. Cruz called Trump a pathological liar.
      A principled conservative man does not support a liberal liar.
      Oh, and Trump has been in politics for over 25 years, giving hundreds of thousands to liberal democrats.

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    2. If the pledge matters so much to Trump supporters, then why aren't you mad at Trump? He was the first to reneg on the pledge. He did it in March:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-flip-flops-on-pledge-to-support-any-gop-nominee/

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    3. Can someone have honor who won't even defend his family? The attack on Heidi was bad enough, but the attack on his father went way beyond anything we typically see in American politics within the same party. It was despicable. I would have lost respect for Cruz and started to believe the self-serving claims had he endorsed Trump without a public apology for what was said (which wasn't going to happen, but would have earned Trump huge kudos as the bigger man).

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    4. While I will probably hold my nose and vote for Trump, I will not dismiss Cruz. As someone who has read both the Decalogue and Confucius in the original languages, I can see where Cruz is coming from re the baseless attack Trump made on his father (nod to Stargazer). Frankly, while I nod to Trump on his "getting" radical Islam, he still strikes me as a 3 on a scale of 1-10, with Shrillary Shroooooo coming in at perhaps negative twelve.

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    5. I would actually like to see Cruz on the Supreme Court and Shrillary Shrooooo in prison.

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    6. Trump threatened to not support the GOP nominee if the GOP didn't follow the will of the primary vote. The argument is clear that such a 'nominee' would be a dubious assignment without the support of the primary voters. Seems clear and reasonable to me.

      The GOP primary pretty overwhelmingly selected Trump, and Cruz backed out on his pledge. Shouldn't have made the pledge, and if he's going to back out on it, he should address it head on with a mea culpa.
      I can't watch two sentences of Cruz speaking without thinking he's lying to me. He could tell me that F=ma and I'd start sliding weights down inclines.

      - reader #1482

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    7. Cruz on the Supreme Court -- would this possibly help to remove that hair across his arse? If not, he might get most righties there voting the other way ...

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  6. And one more thing. If you are pledged to give a public vote as a “bound” delegate, and wish you weren’t, it makes sense to speak of having to “vote against your conscience”. (You still are honor-bound to do it, of course, and making up rules ex poste facto to free your vote is dishonorable.) But it is a meaningful concept, and we have heard a lot about “Voting your conscience” lately.

    But it makes no real sense for Cruz to say, “Vote your conscience,” about the November 8th election, because when you are in the voting booth marking a secret ballot, you ARE “voting your conscience”. Even if you hate the vote, and are holding your nose—it’s still your conscience that makes you do it. Of course I know WHY Cruz said it: he knew people wouldn’t analyze his statement other than to feel it was a great statement somehow, those words had meant something recently, and it was somehow a great anti-Trump declaration. But it was sophomoric. And sophistical.

    And unworthy of the great enterprise we have before us: electing the Republican candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.

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    Replies
    1. If voting your conscience is so confusing and upsetting, the problem isn't the advice. The problem is your conscience.

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  7. The above comment, Anonymous, July 21, 2016, at 5:35 AM is from me, Minta Marie Morze.

    I don't fit the other profiles.

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  8. "none of this post was lifted from any speech by Michelle Obama": the post is too cogent to have that origin.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1. with respect to oaths and pledges--we live in a modern world of contracts, where half the time (I exaggerate for emphasis) by lawyers is devoted to finding legally recognized excuses for not doing what was promised. Oaths, and "my word is my bond" and a "handshake" historically meant a full throated, no excuse sir, unqualified commitment. We probably have to have the complexity and nuance of contracts for mobilizing future multi billion dollar commitments, but we are the lesser for the loss of the simple, utterly unqualified oath or promise. And Cruz broke my heart and will never get it back.

    2. On Turkey--I second the other comments. I hear from other sources that the 3 to 5 million Syrian and Iraq refugees were a huge part of the demonstrations that broke the coup attempt. Turkey seems headed the way of an Islamic dictator, and that cannot be good. Meanwhile, I am terribly worried about the safety of our military people and assets deployed in Turkey.

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    1. We need to get the nukes out of Incirlik.

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  10. Time will tell whether Cruz is hurt by this but I have no doubt that he stood up for his principles and did what he thinks is the right thing to do. Principles matter, and they should especially matter to conservatives.

    On another topic, but still relating to politics, does this trouble you at all? http://www.redstate.com/neil_stevens/2016/07/21/thought-hillarys-reset-button-bad-wait-see-sell/

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  11. Really? Cruz was going to have a bright future but this speech torpedoed him? Conceivably, but:

    Do we really believe that everything we knew about politics became untrue this year? Because if not, that's obviously false; and if so, then that, like all political predictions, is radically unknowable.

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  12. To me Cruz is a defender of the Constitution (the best part of Conservative...whatever that is anymore). As a Cardinal Newman Catholic, for me, he kept his pledge. If exhorting voters to vote their conscience for the best candidate to defend our freedom and uphold the Constitution isn't an endorsement for Trump...then what are we talking about? I am voting for Trump because my vote represents a vote for the Constitution. By this I mean, that I hope the other 2 branches of government will rediscover their historical reason for existence per our Founders. I am assured this will not happen in an HRC presidency, as I would fully expect a continuation of the rogue government in violation of its own laws as we have experienced these 7 + years. Small chance w/Trump, no chance with Hillary. That's how it fleshes out for me. (Cruz remains a man I respect.)

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  13. "who has read both the Decalogue ... in the original language": since Moses was raised as an Egyptian, were they written in Egyptian, or in the diplomatic lingua franca of the time, Akkadian?

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    Replies
    1. It appears that Egyptian and Hebrew were mutually intelligible in Moses's day. When I hear words of Amharic, I recognize a lot of cognates with Hebrew. (A language in which I am NOT fluent.)Moses would have called it 'apiru, donkey herder. I suspect that that's why Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, a king of Israel does not forget his people's humble roots.

      BTW, DM, Dip has my e-mail. Write me some time.

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    2. Dearieme: The Decalogue was delivered on Sinai in Hebrew--halishon qodesh--not Egyptian, and the texts in which it appears are Hebrew. Besides, the Sinaitic inscriptions found in an ancient mine in the Sinai date to the 2d millennium B.C. anyway, showing that Hebrew/Canaanite (essentially the same language) was already a written language.

      BTW, the only reason why Akkadian and Hieroglyhic Egyptian texts survived was because the first was written on clay tablets, while the second was written either on stone, or on papyrus in a climate that has no water except for the Nile River. There was probably a load written in scads of other ancient languages that didn't survive because it was written on perishable materials in countries on which rain fell.

      The Chinese of Kong Zi is also a far cry from the Chinese of today, or even that of the Han Dynasty, from which the oldest extant Confucian texts come.

      As for Moses' upbringing, his mother was brought forth to serve as nurse to the infant Pharaoh's daughter found among the bulrushes, so I'm sure he got both languages. Read the book of Exodus. Heck. My younger son was born in Bangkok, spent his babyhood in Guangzhou, and actually uttered a few first words in Cantonese (thanks to the housekeeper--My wife and I use English, Mandarin, and Hakka). Had he come a year earlier in the middle of our Bangkok assignment, he could very well have spoken his first words in Lao/Thai Isaan, a language neither my wife nor eye speak (but first language to our help).

      Michael: Egyptian and Hebrew were already differentiated in the fifteenth century B.C., and the divergence between the Egyptian branch of the Afroasiatic family and Semitic (to which Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, Arabic, and Ethiopic belong) goes back probably to a time for which we have no extant writing at all. That's how different they are and were.

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  14. Well, I guess we won't have Cruz to kick around anymore...

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  15. I love Mr. Cruz. He would have been the best of all possible choices for president. Our country is the poorer for him not having won.

    That said, with his convention appearance he made it slightly more likely that Hillary will win.

    I am sad that that didn't mean enough to him to change his speech.

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  16. All I know is that Jared Corey Kushner is the luckiest sonofabitch in the entire world.

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  17. Great analogy 'Mad!
    It was clear that Cruz forgot to install his anti-circling device about 1/2 way through his run! Not surprizing that his torp came about and hit him in the ass! As for his lame claim to "conscience", perhaps he can serenade himself back into a deep Texas sleep with a "Si-Intistic" Duck Call- Quack Quack Quack!
    On Watch(SS)of the Silent Service~~~
    "Let's Roll"

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  18. Indiana Governor Mile Pence.

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  19. I cry "Turkey" and let slip the dogs of mad erdogan!
    Article on Turkey please! :)
    leaperman

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  20. I know that our host is a bigger fan of Trump than I, so I will be respectful on that topic. But I have to say that Trump is barely a Republican and is no more a constitutional conservative than he is a giraffe. I would have lost all respect for Cruz if he had endorsed Trump. On the other hand, given The Pact (necessary mainly because Trump would have gone third-party in a New York minute), to literally say to vote for someone else would have caused me to lose respect for Cruz as well. Cruz wiggled through this dilemma with his exhortation in that speech. Yes, indeed, Trump is more likely to support our Constitution than is Hillary, as any positive value, no matter how tiny, is immeasurably more than zero. Cruz has cleverly separated himself from Trump and given what I consider to be a high chance that the Trump train derails if not this fall than partway into his first term, Cruz might be one of the few to still have a political career in the aftermath. If not, he will just join a crowd. I suspect that a great many GOP political careers will be destroyed by what Trump does.

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  21. Might have also been pulling a Judas Goat thing and getting diverse folk to circling the wagons around Trump.

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  22. I agree, with the caveat that I don't think Cruz has "cleverly" separated himself from Trump. Cruz explained his support for the Constitution and freedom, and it's clear - even to Trump supporters -- that Trump doesn't support these conservative principles. Trump has even said the Republican Party isn't the conservative party.

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  23. I'll believe Ted is a Constitutionalist when he starts complaining about the missing Drug Prohibition Amendment.

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  24. Cruz is a conservative, if your idea of conservatism is free trade and open borders. The man handed out teddy bears and soccer balls to illegals for heaven's sake! I started out liking Cruz, but have found him to be a fraud. And someone that calls me a "low information voter" for supporting Trump will never get my vote. I am not at all surprised by his speech. He's ruined his political career and I hope he loses his Senate seat too. He doesn't seem that interested in it any way.

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    1. Yup. Trump is the genuine one. Not sure why Cruz would lump you in with the low information voters.

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