Our choices: A screamer or a bore

Published 8:39 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

After two weeks of political conventions, it’s finally safe to turn on the television again. I watched the Republican and Democratic conventions at length and analyzed this November’s choices: A yeller or a bore.

Donald Trump gave a full-throated speech at the GOP convention demonstrating a problem with volume control. Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention even put her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to sleep. She delivered a string of platitudes that provoked yawns in the convention hall … and at my house.

Here’s how I analyzed the two conventions:

• Democrats easily won the entertainment war. Celebrity stars and singers ruled the Democratic convention, capped by Katy Perry. Hollywood has been firmly in the Democratic camp in recent decades, and A-listers are eager to perform. Similarly, liberal singers loudly object when Republicans play their songs at the GOP convention. It happened again this year. Republicans are left with country music singers and have-beens on stage.

• Republicans scored an overwhelming victory in the First Mate battle. Melanie Trump promises to be the most beautiful and glamorous First Lady in history. Her dress on the night of her speech was dazzling. Maybe she did lift a line from Michelle Obama’s earlier speech, but her designer dress overwhelmed any plagiarism problems. On the Democratic side, aging Bill Clinton could become the First Dude, and President Hillary will have to worry about him once again groping the interns in the White House.

• Republicans also won the daughter speeches. Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother. Ivanka Trump introduced her father. Of the two speeches, Ivanka Trump’s was clearly superior.

I also liked former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Massachusetts Gov. Chris Christie’s speeches. Had Christie been as articulate when he was campaigning, he may have been accepting the nomination on Friday night instead of Trump.

• Vice president speeches: A draw. Both were unremarkable. Trump’s vice presidential running mate is Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Hillary Clinton chose Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. Both are single scoops of vanilla. We don’t have to worry about either upstaging the head of the ticket. Hillary Clinton should have picked current vice president Joe Biden. “Old Joe” gave a pretty good speech at the convention. He’s never embarrassed his President.

And then there was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse the Republican nominee.  He was widely criticized for refusing to fall in line with the party and backing Donald Trump as all good soldiers are expected to do when the race is finally settled. I don’t blame him. Trump did call Cruz’s wife ugly and pondered aloud whether Cruz’s father was a confederate of Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Those two insults are too big to swallow. Cruz did congratulate Trump, but he fell short of asking his supporters to vote for the Republican nominee. Who can blame him? More amazing is that Trump allowed him to speak and gamble with what his chief opponent might say.

• Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the other hand had no trouble swallowing his pride and his dignity by endorsing Hillary Clinton even after leaks revealed that the Democratic National Committee railroaded his campaign by secretly favoring Clinton. He looked like he had lost his manhood at the convention as he sat through speech after speech as his fearless supporters continued their futile campaign on the floor of the convention. Their leader had long since cashed in.

• The Russians are coming? This may be fanciful, but the Russians are being blamed for hacking the DNC’s emails and providing them to Wikileaks to spill just before the convention. The leaks were terribly embarrassing and revived memories of Watergate. Trump called on the Russians to find and provide “extremely careless” Hillary Clinton’s 31,000 missing emails that she deleted as Secretary of State since she’s unable to find them.

This campaign has successfully made President Richard Nixon seem like a choir boy. He erased 15 minutes of tape.

These are both flawed candidates.

Now the campaign begins in earnest.

Trump is ahead in some polls. He has a bad habit of contracting foot-in-mouth disease, so no lead is ever safe. Hillary may face new embarrassments if more leaks continue to drip, drip, drip out as the campaign races to November.

This race is as much about entertainment as serious politics.

– Dwight Sparks