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Democalypse 2016 - The Contenders, the Horse Race - the cynicism and the money

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
The Melania Trump plagiarism bit is hilarious. The Trump campaign should just admit that one of the speechwriters must have done it and that the individual has been fired. That would have ended the story because, really, who cares what Melania Trump's speechwriter did? But the Trump campaign continues to deny that any plagiarism occurred, which is really impossible to believe given the nature of the similarities.

This was the top story on The Today Show this morning, with even the Republican commentators saying they wished the Trump campaign would just admit the wrongdoing so the story would die faster. Instead, since the campaign denies it, they are forcing media to continue playing the story, including the side-by-side comparisons, on repeat for the rest of the day.

Chris Christie was a guest on The Today Show and when asked about the Melania speech, he tried to defend her by pointing out that "93% of her speech was completely different."

Hilarious!

In other news, THE LATE SHOW with Stephen Colbert - which is airing live every day of the convention - was hilarious last night, with guest appearances by John Stewart and Colbert's "Colbert Report" character.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Well to Special K's point - plagiarism abounds.

I wonder if we shouldn't cut them all some slack - the Melania bit is hilarious and bush league but really, how many ways can you bake "freedom" "America" "great" "strong"and "values" into a sentence anyway??

We're running out of permutations aren't we??
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
^ I'm not really offended by her speech. Of course she didn't write it herself and who cares what Melania Trump has to say, anyway? I think the larger damage is being done by the Trump campaign refusing to admit something that seems so obvious. It's not just key words being used in similar sentences. It's entire passages of the speeches being virtually identical. And since there's more than one identical passage in her speech, it's pretty much mathematically impossible to reasonably deny the plagiarism.

Smart Republicans know this and cringe when they hear their leader continue to deny everything.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
What Republican Foreign Policy Reform Requires
By DANIEL LARISON • July 19, 2016, 9:22 AM • Link

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam propose a “cure for Trumpism” for the GOP. The foreign policy section makes some sense, but doesn’t get us very far:

To voters who watched their children bleed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or who have bled themselves, the party hasn’t provided much reassurance that it has learned lessons from those conflicts. With the exception of Rand Paul and the partial exception of Ted Cruz, the consensus critique of President Obama from not-Trump Republicans often seemed to be that he should have kept more troops in Iraq and kept more troops in Afghanistan and sent more troops to Libya and intervened in Syria and sent more arms to Ukraine and expanded NATO’s presence in the Baltics and been more willing to bomb Iran and …​

Some of these policy prescriptions are reasonable, but taken together they look like a road map for more quagmires, more Afghanistans and Iraqs. This is the landscape in which Trump’s “America First” language resonated. And the ease with which Trump crushed Jeb Bush, in particular, suggests that it will continue to resonate until Republican leaders become more selective in their hawkishness, more comfortable with five simple words: Invading Iraq was a mistake.

It would be a good start if all future presidential candidates could acknowledge the disastrous and costly folly of the Iraq war, but it would only be a start. Admitting that the Iraq war was a grievous, horrible error is necessary but not sufficient to reform Republican foreign policy. The trouble with the rest of the 2016 field wasn’t just that many of the candidates were Iraq war dead-enders, but that they were so obsessed with the idea of American “leadership” that almost all of them thought that the U.S. needed to be involved in multiple conflicts in different parts of the world in one way or another. Almost none of the declared 2016 candidates opposed the Libyan war at the time, and very few concluded that the problem with intervening in Libya was the intervention itself. The standard hawkish line on Libya for years has been that the U.S. should have committed itself to another open-ended exercise in stabilizing a country we helped to destabilize. Most Republican politicians are so wedded to a belief in the efficacy of using hard power that they refuse to admit that there are many problems that the U.S. can’t and shouldn’t try to solve with it.

Until Republican politicians and their advisers start to understand that reflexive support for “action” (and some kind of military action at that) is normally the wrong response, we can’t expect much to change. Most Republican foreign policy professionals seem to hold the same shoddy assumptions that led them to endorse all of the interventions of the last 15 years without exception, and nothing that has happened during that time has caused most of them to reexamine those assumptions. Until they stop fetishizing American “leadership” and invoking “American exceptionalism” as an excuse to meddle in every new crisis, Republicans will end up in the same cul-de-sac of self-defeating belligerence. Unless Republicans adopt a much less expansive definition of “vital interests,” they will routinely end up on the wrong side of most major foreign policy debates.

Finally, unless most Republican politicians and their advisers overcome their aversion to diplomatic engagement they will end up supporting costlier, less effective, and more destructive policies for lack of practical alternatives. The virtually unanimous opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran is a good example of the sort of thing that a reformed Republican Party wouldn’t do. Opposition to the deal reflects so many of the flaws in current Republican foreign policy views: automatic opposition to any diplomatic compromise that might actually work, grossly exaggerating the potential threat from another state, conflating U.S. interests with those of unreliable client states, continually moving goalposts to judge a negotiated deal by unreasonable standards, insisting on maximalist concessions from the other side while refusing to agree to minimal concessions from ours, and making spurious and unfounded allegations of “appeasement” at every turn to score points against political adversaries at home. Obviously these are habits cultivated over decades and are not going to be fixed quickly or easily, but if the next Republican administration (whenever that may be) doesn’t want to conduct foreign policy as disastrously as the last one did they are habits that need to be broken.
 
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^ I'm not really offended by her speech. Of course she didn't write it herself and who cares what Melania Trump has to say, anyway? I think the larger damage is being done by the Trump campaign refusing to admit something that seems so obvious. It's not just key words being used in similar sentences. It's entire passages of the speeches being virtually identical. And since there's more than one identical passage in her speech, it's pretty much mathematically impossible to reasonably deny the plagiarism.

Smart Republicans know this and cringe when they hear their leader continue to deny everything.
There's a bit more to it than that - they've been constantly trashing the Obama family for years, and then all of a sudden they're copying sections of speeches 8 years ago for their own gain. Kind of undermines the integrity that they're trumpeting on about when it comes to values, honor and all the other terms that get thrown around to make it sound really pretty.

While the base won't give a flying fuck about plagiarism, it's the independent voters that are at risk and they're the key to winning any election. It comes off as extremely sloppy messaging.
 
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Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
The Campaign fucked up by doubling down instead of handling it like KMW said.

It speaks to the bush league level Trump's team is operating on, how they're doing things on the cheap, and splintered everyone is within the GOP.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Reality TV in Cleveland
Jonathan Freedland | NYR Daily, July 19 | Link

From the moment he rode that downward escalator and announced he was running for president, Donald Trump’s willingness to defy the accepted rules of political practice has made his campaign compulsive viewing. Presidential candidates are not supposed to mock the disabled, insult whole ethnic groups, or disparage a Vietnam war hero. But Trump did all of those things and watched the votes pile up. Indeed, his multiple victories in the primaries suggested that his success came not in spite of his departures from political orthodoxy, but because of them. To those who had lost all faith in the system his defiance signaled that he was entirely outside it—indeed, that he was ready to smash the system into tiny pieces.

But at the Republican convention in Cleveland, Trump has taken this defiance to a new level. Not content with demonstrating that he is unbound by the strictures of “political correctness,” he has seemed determined to show that he is unbound by the standards of basic political competence.

The errors have come in such quick succession it’s been hard to keep up. Opening the first day, Paul Manafort, who is Trump’s campaign chairman—and recall that Trump has no campaign manager, the post left vacant after the departure of Carey Lewandowski—decided to declare war on his host state, and its popular governor, John Kasich. Manafort said Kasich’s failure to endorse Trump and appear at the convention was “embarrassing his state.” (A few hours earlier, at 3:43 am, the eccentric but longtime Trump backer, Roger Stone, tweeted that “@JohnKasich is a jerk-off stoner who will never be president.”)

That had the predictable effect of closing ranks in the Ohio Republican party, the keepers of the keys to an electoral machine that you might think Team Trump would regard as rather important in November. No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, yet the Trump campaign went out of its way to alienate those whose help will be essential.

A few hours later and there was a ripple of excitement as a fight broke out on the convention floor over the rules. Such scenes are not what any convention planner wants for a party’s four-day TV showcase—let alone on its tone-setting opening day. Though the skirmish ended in victory for Manafort as he crushed a last, procedural attempt by the Never Trump camp to derail the soon-to-be nominee, what people saw was chaos rather than brutal efficiency, not least because the Trump campaign—with a notoriously thin press operation—communicated little to reporters, leaving their opponents to fill the void.

Come evening, things only got worse. With a theme easily parodied as “Make America Scared Again,” a procession of speakers—including Pat Smith, whose son Sean was one of the Americans killed in Benghazi in 2012—spoke of the terrible losses and bereavements they had endured. This was crudely exploitative, but could have been very effective on TV. Except that, as Smith spoke—from the convention floor you could hear her repeating the slogan chanted by delegates: “Hillary for Prison!”—she had a rival for the attention of potential Republican voters. Over on Fox News, giving an interview, was Trump himself, looking ahead to the speech of his wife, Melania. The Trump campaign had just trodden all over its own story.

Scheduling, a central part of the campaigner’s art, was a disaster. Conventions are all about the primetime hour between 10pm and 11pm, when the networks tune in. What viewers would have heard Monday night at that hour, besides Melania Trump, was Scott Baio, child star of a 1970s sitcom, who had earlier tweeted a message that attached the c-word to Hillary Clinton, and Antonio Sabàto, an underwear model who believes Barack Obama is a Muslim. In April, Trump spoke of his determination to “put some showbiz into [the] convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep.” Initial TV ratings, which were tepid, suggested viewers had not exactly thrilled to the first episode of Cleveland’s Trump show.

Forced to wait until the end of the program, outside the golden hour, was Joni Ernst, the Iowa senator and veteran who may well have appealed to the much sought-after “security moms,” women concerned about safety but who are currently wary of Trump. Instead, Ernst was forced to address an emptying hall after Melania Trump’s star turn, the energy steadily draining from her performance as she saw the audience dwindle. Trump aides left reporters with the clear impression that Ernst had been denied an earlier slot as punishment for the choice Iowa made during the primaries, preferring Ted Cruz to Trump. If that is true, then the Trump campaign punished itself.

There were other minor mess-ups, of course. Trump entered Las Vegas-style in a cloud of dry ice to the sound of Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” even though the band’s guitarist, Brian May, said the campaign never sought or obtained permission. That of course prompted much social media chatter at what kind of welcome the convention would have given Queen’s singer, the late Freddie Mercury—who was a gay man of Persian heritage. Earlier Twitter became similarly excited by the appearance of Chris Christie on the convention floor, who chose to divert attention from his own injured pride at not being selected as Trump’s running mate by attempting to flirt, creepily, with TV reporter Dana Bash.

But these slips were as nothing compared to the plagiarism of key passages in Melania Trump’s speech from the equivalent address delivered by Michelle Obama in 2008. Comically, the stolen words spoke of the importance of integrity, truthfulness, and hard work. What has appalled Republican operatives even more—what offends their sense of professionalism—is the failure to clear up the mess. There was only one option: to admit the offence and have someone take immediate responsibility, with a swift sacking or resignation. Instead, Manafort and others sought to deny what was obvious, to tough it out—thereby allowing the story to dominate the news cycle into the convention’s second day. (Chris Christie, on the Today show, said her speech was “93 percent” original.)

Trump may ride this storm like every other. Perhaps he will persuade people that a shambolic convention proves what an unconventional, and therefore appealing, candidate he is. But Trump’s candidacy rests on his experience as a business leader, on the notion that he is the CEO ready to run America, Inc. What he has demonstrated so far in Cleveland is not deviation from an ideological norm, but simple ineptitude. And for a would-be chief executive to the nation, that’s not a good look.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Trump and the Failure of the GOP
Posted on July 20, 2016, 9:23 AM Daniel Larison, link

Trump officially secured the Republican nomination last night:

Mr. Trump tallied 1,725 delegates, easily surpassing the 1,237 delegate threshold needed to clinch the nomination. The delegate tally from his home state of New York, announced by Mr. Trump’s son Donald Jr., put him over the top.​

Like Rod Dreher, I see Trump’s success as proof that “the people who run [the GOP] and the institutions surrounding it failed.” They not only failed in their immediate task of preventing the nomination of a candidate that party leaders loathed, but failed repeatedly over at least the last fifteen years to govern well or even to represent the interests and concerns of most Republican voters.

Had the Bush administration not presided over multiple disasters, most of them of their own making, there would have been no opening or occasion for the repudiation of the party’s leaders that we have seen this year. Had the party served the interests of most of its voters instead of catering to the preferences of their donors and corporations, there would have been much less support for someone like Trump. Party leaders spent decades conning Republican voters with promises they knew they wouldn’t or couldn’t fulfill, and then were shocked when most of those voters turned against them. Trump is millions of Republican voters’ judgment against a party that failed them, and the fact that Trump is thoroughly unqualified for the office he seeks makes that judgment all the more damning.
 
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