Following with my pattern of recapping each night of both conventions, I watched the RNC last night.
Like I did last night, I'm going to run through five notable moments from the evening (certainly not the only five, but the five that struck me most):
1. Mike Pence remains an excellent speaker, seemingly decent man and admirable Vice President.
Mike Pence gets lost in the shuffle some times. Like I've mentioned before, our President likes to Alpha the spotlight and he's not shy about that - this isn't necessarily a criticism, just an observation of how The Donald operates. There are times, however, when Mike Pence is given the opportunity to shine and he almost always delivers. Last night was one of those times.
Speaking at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the Vice President detailed some of the challenges and successes of the administration and what the next four years of a Trump-Pence administration would look like:
Including an issue that I think is going to start resonating with more and more Americans - school choice. It cannot be stated how pissed off some parents are around the country - when public schools were called upon to meet the moment and prove how essential they are to the lives of children, many (too many) capitulated to teachers' unions who refused to go back into the classroom. Here is Pence on school choice:
Pence went on to show sympathy for the millions of Americans effected in some way by COVID-19 and celebrated the people that have been working and putting their lives on the line to help keep America running during these awful times:
Then VP Pence went on the attack, and he I think he landed some significant blows:
1) on the economy:
2) on the violence happening all over the country:
and 3) on Joe Biden's support for redirecting funding for the police and his belief that America is systemically racist:
We need Mike Pence, Donald Trump needs Mike Pence. Pence is the Felix to Trump's Oscar (hopefully our Boomer readers appreciate that one), Pence is the good cop to Trump's bad cop routine, Pence is the salad you eat every now and again to make yourself feel like you don't ALWAYS EAT PIZZA. Yes - there is something very soothing and reassuring about Mike Pence, maybe it's because he has a haircut you can set your watch to, or it's the stern yet dulcet tone of his voice, but whatever the case may be - he presents himself as a principled, decent man in a country that is running low on principled, decent men.
I'll end this section with the best line of ANYONE from RNC night three:
It's not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or more Democrat. The choice in this election is whether America remains America. It's whether we will leave to our children and our grandchildren a country grounded in our highest ideals of freedom, free markets and the unalienable right to life and liberty -- or whether we will leave to our children and grandchildren a country that is fundamentally transformed into something else.
2. Dan Crenshaw is a badass and gave a speech on a battleship with its cannons pointed towards the camera.
I hope everyone knows Den Crenshaw by now, as he's one of the several members of the GOP that are undeniable rising stars. For the uninitiated, Dan Crenshaw was Navy Seal who was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with valor. Crenshaw served as a Navy Seal for 10 years, including 5 tours of duty, before he lost is right eye from IED attack in Afghanistan.
Crenshaw was elected to congress in 2018 to represent the 2nd Congressional District in Texas (Houston) and before he took office, Pete Davidson mocked Crenshaw on Saturday Night Live for looking like "a hitman in a porno movie" and that he lost his eye in "war or whatever". After the incident, Crenshaw displayed what many Republicans seemed to have lacked in years past - a sense of humor, appearing on SNL alongside Davidson:
I bring all of that up mainly because I want those of you who don't know Dan Cresnshaw, to learn more about Dan Crenshaw.
Last night Crenshaw, speaking from the deck of the Battleship TEXAS, gave a speech about American heroes - you know the ones who fight ACTUAL enemies of the state, not the ones who try and burn down federal buildings. I thought his speech was a powerful reminder of what makes America special - the fact that we fight for freedom and have paid a hefty price to try and keep our country and the world peaceful:
Perhaps the most powerful message he imparted was one not about combat, but about the things that bind us together or as he called it the "fabric":
The fact that he said all these amazing things while sitting on the deck of a battleship made it way more enjoyable (even if a bit contradictory). Keep an eye on Dan, he's going to be around awhile (that was not an eye pun, I swear - please do not hunt me down, Mr. Crenshaw).
3. A warrior nun spoke last night and this is the most Pro-Life RNC I've ever seen.
You read the above correctly, retired Army Colonel, Sister Deirdre Byrne spoke last night at the RNC. She spoke about her 29 years serving in the military, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and how she decided to join a religious order shortly thereafter. More specifically, she was there to talk about abortion and her moral and religious objections to abortion she said "[a] s a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception."
Sister Byrne went on to make clear that a Biden/Harris administration would be terrible for the pro-life movement:
This speech, coupled with a speech given by former Planned Parenthood director - turned pro-life advocate, Abby Johnson and I can say that this has been the most Pro-Life RNC in my lifetime. I'm not sure if "life begins at conception" is something that will appeal to moderate voters. I do, however, think that the GOP has and should draw a distinction between themselves and the Democrats who have taken the abortion debate to it's logical extreme, namely that several blue states Governors have enacted laws that allow for abortions up until the moment of birth. According to recent polls, even 66% of pro-choice adults are against third-trimester abortions - that number jumps up to 79% when accounting for all adults.
This new perceived culture of protecting abortions at all costs and "celebrating your abortion" is vile and well outside the mainstream of the American psyche. Good on the RNC for trying to highlight that.
4. Governor Kristi Noem condemned violence, broke Rachel Maddow's brain, and stole the hearts of men and women all over.
The Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, kicked off night three of the RNC by condemning violence around the country in stark contrast to the Democrats who didn't condemn the violence at all. . . Barack Obama having gone so far as to call them "peaceful protestors":
This lead to an AMAZING moment on the MSNBC broadcast, when Rachel Maddow fact checked Kristi Noem's speech LIVE on the air to disprove the idea that cities all over the country were being riddled by rioting and violence. In order to help "reality check" Noem's assertions, Maddow brought on. . . Jenny Durkan. . . the mayor of Seattle:
Hmm . . . maybe Jenny Durkan isn't the best person to refute this claim because, if you remember, Mayor Jenny allowed SIX CITY BLOCKS of Seattle to become the infamous CHAZ - an autonomous zone, free of police and government involvement. The same CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) that was run my a self-proclaimed "Warlord" named Raz Simone and resulted in the extortion of local businesses for "protection" and where one teenager wound up killed. Yes, this the same Jenny Durkan who called the CHAZ a "summer of love" :
Yep, that's how you know they fear Kristi Noem - they'll bring out a pathetic excuse of a mayor to try and "fact check" her, live on air.
More than her speech, Kristi Noem is quickly winning over the hearts and minds of Americans all over the country, like our very own Nero:
Warms your hear to see it.
5. I don't remember hearing Donald Trump speak last night.
I have to admit, I missed the opening of the RNC last night, so I might have missed a moment or two where Trump appeared and pardoned hamburglar or naturalized Wolverine as an American citizen for his bravery during the Sentinel Wars (actually, that might be cool).
The parts that I did see didn't include a lot of Trump. I did, however, notice this little tender moment between Mike Pence and Trump after the conclusion of Pence's speech:
So again, Trump didn't suck all of oxygen out of the room last night. He let others make the case for him.
Coming up tonight, Trump takes center stage from the White House.
HE MUST DELIVER. Trump has to try and maintain the positive tone of this convention - rather than lamenting the fake news, impeachment, and SpyGate - all of which are valid grievances, but not what America is focused on right now. Trump has to hammer his law and order messaging, which seems to be working as the Democrats have abdicated that lane to him entirely. Trump has to present himself as the only man who can lead our economy back to the heights of record unemployment - which, according to polls, most voters trust him on already.
More than anything Trump HAS to be Presidential. That doesn't mean he cannot be Donald Trump, but he has to be the best of Donald Trump - be funny, but don't get stuck in the mud and DON'T give Biden (and his media propaganda machine) any off the cuff remarks to use as a cudgel against him.
Trump has done this before, he can do this again.
See you tomorrow with the merciful conclusion to my convention recaps.