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Assault on America, Day 601: RNC vs. DNC, Day 1: Republicans refute Dem fear and loathing

Andrew Pollack
RNC vs. DNC is the difference between optimism and deep, dark pessimism

You had to know going into the first night of programming at the 2020 Republican National Convention that it would present a study in contrasts from last week’s dreary Democrat meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Not only were there seismic differences between the quality of the two presidential tickets -- the seasoned President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence versus Democrat nominee and career swamp dweller Joe Biden and his chosen running mate, freshman California Senator Kamala Harris -- but there was a notable distinction in the outlooks of the speakers as well.

Most obvious from the opening minutes of the GOP event was its decided emphasis on optimism. The message wasn’t exactly phony echoes of former President Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” theme, but it also wasn’t the gloomy, meticulously edited sky-is-falling mental depression group therapy session that the Democrats put on last week.

Gone was the Democrats’ weeklong fixation on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus and the repeated recitation of death totals, recriminations and insulting finger pointing regarding Trump’s pandemic response. Missing too were desperate pleas and demagoguery surrounding bailing out the U.S. Postal Service together with hideous and unfounded accusations of voter suppression resulting from Republicans’ insistence on fraud-resistant Election Day in-person balloting (or through legitimate absentee mail-in votes).

What was most different of all -- these people all liked Donald Trump and were very complimentary of the job he’s done throughout his first three and a half years in office. Most speakers offered glass-half-full estimations of the recovering economy and praised the administration’s efforts to provide governors and local officials with the means to battle the health pandemic.

The Republican line-up was outwardly bullish on the notion of a bright future if the Trump/Pence team is reelected in November. It wasn’t akin to Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” but viewers should’ve gotten the impression that conditions in the country aren’t nearly as bad as those described by the Democrats last week. Republicans highlighted the good things the country has always represented: opportunity, patriotism and world leadership. We should be proud, not apologetic, for our history, warts and all.

Republican speakers also placed importance on God-given constitutional freedoms such as the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms and the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of worship and speech. Instead of “systemic racism”, there was discussion of systemic protections of rights and privileges of citizens. Which is more appealing?

And the “social unrest” occurring daily in Portland, Chicago, Seattle, New York City and now in Kenosha, Wisconsin -- was condemned rather than championed. The residents of these cities are prisoners in their own homes, not supporters of the Marxist cause.

If stealing the show is a crime, then Herschel Walker, Andrew Pollack, Mark and Patricia McCloskey and Natalie Harp are all guilty as charged

As would be expected at any political convention, there were fairly standard pitches from notable Republican politicians. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott closed out the program with a fifteen-minute speech that neatly summed up the reasons why Donald Trump was good for black voters like himself -- and for America. Scott spoke with self-deprecating humor, including the fact he once failed civics (before committing himself to academics). Scott didn’t paper over the need for police reform, but he didn’t pander to members of his own race for sympathy, either.

Scott is the epitome of a self-made man who clearly believes government can provide a hand-up rather than a hand-out to those who need opportunity and want to work rather than being taken care of. No wonder Democrats consider him dangerous. You can’t help but feel there are a lot of Tim Scott’s out there waiting for the right moment to switch parties.

But the highlight of the evening occurred roughly halfway through the speakers line-up with a series of citizen testimonials that captured the essence of what this election is all about. Football great Hershel Walker (who happens to be black) talked about having known Donald Trump for 37 years (the running back played his first three seasons in the USFL with the New Jersey Generals, which Trump owned). Walker dispelled the notion that Trump is a racist or a selfish inhuman narcissist, even telling a humorous story about how the longtime businessman rode the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World to be with his family…wearing a business suit.

Missouri home-defenders Mark and Patricia McCloskey relayed their recent experiences confronting Democrat rule. They were charged with felonies for brandishing firearms in their front yard to deter a mob from destroying their house. Their guns were confiscated, but none of the “protesters” were criminally charged with any crime. And the leader of the mob? She’s going to be in Congress next year.

Cancer survivor Natalie Harp spoke passionately about how President Trump’s “Right to Try” policy helped her receive treatments that hadn’t yet been approved by the government, and her life was saved because of it. Harp’s talk was a far cry from the Democrat drumbeat of accusations that Trump was singularly responsible for tens of thousands of deaths due to COVID-19.

But the entire program seemed to stop flat when Andrew Pollack spoke. Pollack’s daughter Meadow was killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting rampage. Andrew discussed how authorities ignored the ample warning signals from the “scumbag” who carried out the murders and how Joe Biden wanted to reinstate the Obama-era policy that allowed for it. Pollack also relayed a story about how Trump worked to fix the real problem, not make more excuses in blaming firearms for mass shootings. Very, very effective.

Presidential son Don Jr. and his love interest Kimberly Guilfoyle delivered rather loud orations defending President Trump’s accomplishments and attacking Joe Biden. Trump Jr. even called the Democrat nominee “Beijing Biden.” The aggressiveness of their presentations was… surprising. Passion is a good thing, but shouting, Kimberly? I guess it goes with the times.

As is characteristic for Trump, he made a couple personal appearances in the program, meeting with frontline medical personnel, law enforcement and first-responders and then a little later, with former hostages who his administration helped free from captivity overseas. In both bits, Trump displayed his characteristic sense of humor, a side of the president the media would rather ignore.

All in all, it was a very powerful program, not only for its contrast to the Democrats, but also because the show “felt” more like a political convention.

Both parties chase the ever-elusive “undecided” voter. Who is winning the race?

As I took-in the more digestible Republican program, a thought occurred to me. Most of those watching were likely already Trump supporters or a few Democrats who forced themselves (like I did last week) to sit through the program to tell the president’s backers -- when confronted -- that they watched the whole thing and concluded that Joe Biden and his gal-pal Kamala had better ideas for the country. Also that, you know, they aren’t racist, sexist, homophobic, they love immigrants in the “welcoming American tradition” and there’s no way a man like Trump could ever unite people.

A much smaller percentage of the viewing audience -- probably in the low single digits -- were persuadable people who actually absorbed the program because they wanted to be better informed in making a voting choice. Democrats seemed to ignore these “sensible center” folks last week and instead worked overtime to maximize turnout from liberal base partisans who might be wavering on whether or not to vote.

The onslaught at the Dem convention was relentless: “Trump is awful! Trump is going to take away your vote! Trump will deny your healthcare! The ALS guy in the wheelchair and with the mechanical voice said Trump doesn’t pay attention to sick people! Trump will serve his own interests and let people die! The country can’t tolerate another four years of this divisive lout! He won’t even say the words “Black Lives Matter.” Joe Biden is a compassionate man who cares about his neighbors! Kamala Harris is a wonderful prosecutor who took on the big banks, not breaking bread with the moneyed elites! Joe ‘n Kamala will save the planet! They care! They really do!”

I can’t imagine the “undecided” voters gave it much credence. I’m not sure they liked the Republicans’ message any better on Monday night, but at least it was a more positive orientation to latch onto. Some people may not like Trump’s personal style but they can’t deny that he’s more experienced with the economy and knows how to allocate resources. And he’s for a fair justice system and opposed to the anarchy in the streets. It’s one worldview vs. the other. What would the “undecided” voter do? Does this person even exist?

Don’t let the NeverTrump turncoats spoil the overall effort

One of the things I found particularly curious -- and compelling -- in the lead-up to this week’s convention was the number of respected commentators who practically begged the president to cut out the personal vendetta nonsense (that has become a Trumpian calling card, and effective in many ways) and cling tightly to an issue-based message that contrasts heavily with Grampa Joe Biden’s and the Democrats’ “it’s all about Trump the racist and restoring the ‘soul’ of America’ this year” mantra that disguises their sinister aims to completely transform the nation into a politically correct cancel culture socialist dystopia.

As probably would be expected, a number of wishy-washy establishment Republicans (once again) exposed themselves as ideological turncoats and endorsed Biden as though we didn’t already know their opinions and it’s supposed to hurt Trump’s reelection chances… or something like that.

The list includes recently “retired” senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a man so consumed with guilt that he single-handedly held up the final Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh two years ago because he wanted additional time for the FBI to double and triple and quadruple and quintuple and sextuple and septuple and octuple (what’s the “tuple” for nine?) check to determine whether Christine Blasey Ford’s impossible to verify account could contain an iota of truth when no one else on earth could corroborate her tale -- including her close friends and family.

But like every #NeverTrumper, Flake’s malleable conscience dominates good sense, which requires him to ignore the pleas of his longtime friends and buck the crowd in a blatant attempt to hold onto stardom and notoriety -- and adoration from the media. What’s he really after? Was Flake’s entire pre-Trump political career an illusion?

The question then becomes, if Biden and Kamala Harris actually win the election, what do these discontented souls do then? Do they lay aside their long-declared limited government beliefs to support the new regime? Philip Klein wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Among the various factions that have developed in the Trump era, one group is known as the ‘anti-anti-Trumpers.’ These folks may dislike Trump, but they tend to focus more of their attention on lampooning the excesses of Trump’s opponents. This group is viewed with particular scorn by Never Trumpers who see them as moral cowards for not being more forthright about the dangers of Trump.

“However, the anti-anti-Trumpers might be the most likely model for how Never Trumpers will conduct themselves in a Biden-Harris administration. That is, they’ll focus most of their attention on the recalcitrant Trumpists within the GOP and on mocking elements of the Right, who will no doubt fall deep into conspiracy and extremism in opposition to Biden. They will call out as hypocrites other conservatives who criticize Biden for things that were excused when Trump did them. And they are likely to pay less attention to the damage that they understand to be caused by Biden’s policies.”

It’s a fascinating concept, isn’t it? For this small group of immovable and unpersuadable self-labeled “conservatives,” what will they do once they get what they want (meaning, the defeat of Trump)? It doesn’t take a wild stretch of imagination to envision a newly sworn-in Grampa Joe Biden, fresh off his January 20 inaugural lunch at the capitol building with congressional leaders, heading straight for the White House, and, after a couple hour nap, signing a bunch of executive orders cancelling out Republican agenda items and reinstating old Obama-era policies. It would be 2009 all over again.

As advisors Biden will likely have settled on Susan Rice, John Brennan and James Comey to head up his foreign policy wing and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would enjoy a standing invitation to visit the White House any time she feels like it to work on environmental initiatives.

Then, without Trump’s veto pen to stall the onset of a liberal fantasy-world, Biden will host Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a newly installed Majority Leader “Chucky” Schumer for a little strategy chat session with Vice President Kamala Harris adding her two cents while serving tea and crumpets to the new president’s guests while wearing a French maid’s outfit. The cozy little group would pore over lists of potential nominees for various cabinet posts, all determined partisans who will wipe away any remaining vestiges of limited government thought in the governing class. The swamp is back!

“Don’t forget Beto, he’s gonna be your gun czar,” one of them will remind Joe. It’s all too taxing for the 78-year-old to handle as he scolds them for not having remembered to direct his chief of staff to limit meetings to fifteen minutes -- and never after a meal.

In this very likely scenario, will the #NeverTrump crowd experience its own bout of buyer’s remorse? The defiant remnants of the Trump coalition -- which includes roughly 90-95% of Republicans now -- would already be organizing a fierce counter-offensive against the new Biden people. Democrats would certainly feel the sting of their angst, but the spurned conservatives and populists of Trump-fame wouldn’t look kindly on the Jeff Flakes of the world, the ones who could’ve put personal animus aside to get on board with the greater effort to move policies forward.

If it could be said American voters don’t have long memories, the truism doesn’t apply to those ambitious pols in Washington. If it also could be said you can’t ever go home again (because the place has changed so much since you left), it’s certainly applicable to the #NeverTrumpers. Democrats and Trump’s so-called disloyal intra-party opposition will discover there’s a lot more fight in the “new” Trump-led GOP, especially if the new breed of conservative insurgents insist on doing away with the old leadership in a bloodless transfer of power.

The anti-Trumpers will have anticipated that the end of Trump’s America coincided with his peaceful, uncontested final ride in the presidential limo up to Biden’s inaugural festivities -- but they’d be dead wrong. They think it would be akin to a surgeon removing a cancerous growth, but the Republican Party will not settle for mere treatment.

If the Biden administration was as destructive as it promised to be (as Democrats previewed all last week), then there would be a lot of finger-pointing and purging. And smart money says it won’t be the Trump supporters who are drummed out of camp. Jeff Flake won’t have any friends on either side of the ideological fence regardless of the outcome, but he could probably still go to dinner at one of Mitt Romney’s houses. There’s only so far a traitor can run -- and so long he can hide.

Elections have consequences -- and so do actions done before them.

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