Tag Archives: DNC

Why the squabble over GOP support?

I hear that some Democrats are miffed because their virtual presidential nominating committee includes testimonials for Joe Biden from, get ready for it, Republicans.

My answer: Get used to it.

The presumed Democratic presidential nominee is known as a bipartisan kind of guy. He worked across the aisle during his 36 years as a U.S. senator from Delaware. As vice president, he did the same thing, working with Republican legislators on critical fiscal matters.

That the Democratic presidential nominee would welcome the endorsement of Republicans is no surprise. One of his best friends in the Senate was the late John McCain, the Republican Vietnam War hero. McCain was no fan of Donald Trump. The late senator’s wife, Cindy, is going to line up behind her friend Joe Biden’s candidacy.

So has former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former EPA administrator and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Democrats who are grumbling about the infusion of Republicans standing up for the Democratic nominee need to get over themselves.

Their party is on the verge of nominating someone who knows the value of compromise and who uses that concept to further the cause of good government legislation.

The nation needs more of the bipartisan spirit that Joe Biden seeks to bring to the office of president of the United States.

Time of My Life, Part 50: Virtual meeting triggers memory

I intend to watch most of the Democratic and Republican presidential nominating conventions … such as they are.

They are “virtual” affairs, with no delegates, no applause, no balloon drops. The nominees — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and Donald Trump and Mike Pence — will deliver their acceptance speeches with no fans to cheer them on.

But these events that occur every four years do remind me of the two political conventions I was able to attend while working for a daily newspaper. The Beaumont Enterprise, in the Golden Triangle region of Texas, sent me to New Orleans in 1988 and to Houston in 1992 to cover and comment on two Republican national conventions.

I have to say that rarely have I had so much fun doing my job.

The COVID crisis has put a damper on the spectacle of these conventions. I hope the parties are able to resume them in 2024 and beyond. Why? Because they are so uniquely American in their atmosphere.

I have long been amazed at how grown men and women who gather in a convention hall to do some of the most serious business imaginable in a representative democracy can don goofy hats, adorn their clothing with buttons, drape bunting around their necks and carry on like school children. But they do all of that while nominating candidates to become president of the U.S. of A.

I was privileged to watch two of these events up close, first in the Superdome and then in the Astrodome.

In 1988, President Reagan strode to the podium to deliver a ringing endorsement of Vice President Bush, who was the party’s presidential nominee that year. After speaking to the adoring crowd, he and Nancy Reagan stood to accept the applause, then walked back toward the rear of the stage. I was sitting in the press gallery behind the podium and, so help me, the president and I made eye contact as he walked off the stage.

I got to meet the likes of Chris Matthews and the late Cokie Roberts. In 1988 in New Orleans I made the acquaintance of a young business executive named George W. Bush as we rode the elevator together up several floors. He asked me for my name and where I worked. I told him. He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of you.” Do I believe he was sincere? I’ll just take him at his word. Besides, it did make for interesting convention chatter with my colleagues.

The virtual conventions will deprive journalists of the kind of excitement I had the pleasure of enjoying.

I will await the day when the pandemic recedes and we can return to some semblance of normal life. Political conventions just aren’t the same without all the hustle, bustle and real-time tussle.

The moment swept me away

I find myself at times trying to avoid getting caught up in moments when I see things occurring in real time.

It happened to me Monday night watching the opening of the Democratic National Committee’s virtual presidential nominating convention.

I have no need to stipulate that I want Joe Biden to become the next president. Oops! I just did!

Watching the assorted celebrities, politicians and oh yes, former first lady Michelle Obama make their case for why Biden is the right man at the right time to correct the wrong policies that Donald Trump has enacted almost swept me out of my chair.

The first night event was quite stirring, with testimonials from pandemic victims’ loved ones, from Republican politicians speaking on behalf of a Democratic politician. I also must give a shout out to the spine-tingling way the DNC presented the singing of the National Anthem.

I am left to wonder: How are the Republicans going to top this? How does Trump make anyone apart from the fervent base feel better about re-electing him as president? What is he going to say? How is he going to say it?

I am acutely aware that the Republican National Committee has its share of marketing geniuses and gurus. They’ll put on a show, too. Right now I am having difficulty imagining how they will top what the Democrats are prepared to deliver as the 2020 presidential campaign kicks into high gear.

Time for a vision

There won’t be cheering crowds. No balloon drops. No demonstrations of delegates wearing goofy hats and festooned with buttons of all sizes, colors and slogans.

No. The Democratic National Convention is going to be a “virtual” event with speakers talking to the nation from their own living rooms, or their dens, or their basements.

What has to happen at this event, in my humble view, is not unique to this uniquely delivered political event. What we need is to hear a vision for the future from presidential nominee Joe Biden, from vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris and from the assortment of speakers who will talk to us over the course of the next four days.

You see, that element has existed in political conventions going back through the history of our great and beloved republic.

I do not expect to hear a futuristic vision from Donald Trump, the Republican whose party convention occurs next week. Trump is trading on division and disunity, on distrust of others and on fear. I look for him to keep beating that drum all the way to the election.

What’s left for Democrats? They have to lay out a plan for how they intend to fix what Trump has damaged. Trump has wrecked our international alliances; he was impeached over his attempts to bribe a foreign leader for dirt on Joe Biden; he has sought to dismantle environmental protections; Trump has threatened to deport U.S. residents who came here as children because their parents sneaked into the country without proper documentation.

The Democrats’ strategy is as traditional as any part of this nominating process that hasn’t been altered by the coronavirus pandemic. They need to speak plainly and honestly to Americans who will tune in.

I will be one of them. I am awaiting a message of hope and revival and I damn sure don’t need a cheering crowd to persuade me to prefer their message over the fear-mongering that will come from Donald Trump.

Cease-fire? Really?

The Joe Biden-Kamala Harris presidential ticket has made a pledge it might have difficulty keeping.

They have declared a “partisan cease-fire” while Donald Trump is mourning the death of his brother, Robert. It’s a grand gesture, showing a brand of empathy and compassion we complain has been lacking in the current president.

But how are Joe Biden and Kamala Harris going to avoid taking shots at Trump while their political party stages its virtual convention in Milwaukee beginning on Monday?

Presidential nominating conventions by definition are the most partisan events imaginable. Speakers usually spend their podium time trashing the folks in the other party. You know?

Well, let’s just see how this plays out.

Donald Trump certainly is entitled to an appropriate amount of time to mourn his brother’s death. However, politics awaits.

‘I’ll look at it’

There you go. The president of the United States had a chance this week to shoot down in flames the latest lie about a politician who happens to be “of color,” that she somehow isn’t constitutionally qualified to run for public office.

Instead, Donald Trump said “I’ll look at it.” The “it” being reports that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is now set to be nominated as her party’s vice-presidential candidate, was born somewhere other than the United States.

This is a racist rant that needs to be plowed under. Why in the name of presidential statesmanship doesn’t Donald Trump do so? Well, I know why. It’s because he is no statesman. Trump is a racist chump who trades on innuendo and invective.

Moreover, Trump is a card-carrying member of the lunatic/wack job/fruitcake/racist wing of what used to be a great political party.

Trump, you’ll recall fomented a similar lie about President Obama. Then he surrendered, offering a tepid “He’s a citizen of the United States” response to a question about the birther lie.

For the record, Sen. Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican man and an Indian woman. They met in California. They got married and they produced a daughter. Little Kamala came into this world in Oakland. Calif., in 1964. There. She’s a U.S. citizen. She is fully qualified. End of argument, yes?

Hardly. It will continue for as long as Donald Trump gives such idiocy any sort of currency, which is what he did with his “I’ll look at it” non-answer.

I like the response given by Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who called the birther baloney a “racist, ignorant lie.”

It’s all of that … and I also would call it “hate speech.”

Biden feeling the heat

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Joe Biden is feeling the heat.

Who does he select as a vice-presidential running mate? When does he make that decision? It’s coming at him fast and furiously.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, one of the House members who prosecuted Donald Trump’s impeachment in the Senate, says Reps. Val Demings of Florida and Karen Bass of California would be excellent picks. I guess he wants one of those House colleagues to join the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on the party’s ticket. They are African-American, as is Jeffries.

Then there’s former Pennsylvania Gov. and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell, who says Biden must select someone right now. As in now, man!

Rendell’s demand makes me laugh. Joe Biden will determine when it’s time to make the announcement, to which I want to tell Rendell simply: Shut the hell up and let your party’s nominee go through the process with all deliberate care.

Biden laid down the marker early when he declared his running mate will be a woman. Whether it’s a woman of color or a white woman depends, I suppose, on what the former vice president determines is in the best interest of the nation he hopes to lead.

Indeed, the first and most critical criterion must be: Is the person with whom he runs equipped to lead the country?

Meanwhile, the pressure is building. Be strong, Joe Biden.

Chaos reigns!

You want chaos as it regards anything involving Donald J. Trump?

Try this on for size …

The Republican National Committee chose Charlotte, N.C., to stage its 2020 presidential nominating convention; then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he couldn’t guarantee that the health of convention goers would be protected from the fatal virus. So then the RNC moved the convention to Jacksonville, Fla., where Trump was supposed to accept the GOP nomination.

Then came word from the Republican sheriff of Duval County, who said he couldn’t guarantee the safety of those attending the gathering in Jacksonville. Trump then cancelled the Jacksonville event.

He moved it back to Charlotte, but with a wrinkle: There will be no media allowed to cover the event live. It’ll occur in the arena, but it will be done more or less in secret.

Eek, man! What’s going on here?

I can no longer begin to keep up with the machinations of what is supposed to be a grand political event. Granted, the pandemic has thrown a lot of it into a cocked hat.

Meanwhile, though, Democrats are proceeding Milwaukee, Wis., just as they planned to do when the pandemic started sickening and killing Americans.

Does all of this portend what another four years of Donald J. Trump would produce were he to actually win this presidentialĀ  election? I dread the thought.

Entering a new era of campaigning

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has laid it on the line.

He is going to campaign for the presidency without any massive rallies. There will be none of those events with admirers crammed together, cheering themselves hoarse at pronouncements coming from their guy on the podium.

Donald Trump isn’t ready to make that pledge. Why? Because he prefers the campaign rallies where he is able to stand at a podium and deliver his incessant, incoherent riffs on this and/or that issue or perceived opponent.

I submit that the COVID-19 Pandemic Era has ushered in a new style of campaigning, with social media becoming even more prevalent than before.

Trump had that rally in Tulsa, Okla. He promised a huge crowd. It didn’t materialize. He had to take down an outdoor venue set up to handle an “overflow” crowd that never showed up. The sparse turnout angered Trump. It has created gossip about a campaign shakeup on the horizon.

Whatever. Biden’s view is that the age of big-time campaign rallies is over … at least while the nation fights the pandemic that so far is still running rampant from coast to coast to coast.

Just between you and me, we’ll be fighting this disease long after they count the presidential election ballots, which gives me hope that Biden’s strategy is the smart strategy.

There has been a lot of talk about the “new normal” arising from the pandemic. We’re wearing masks in public. We’re keeping our distance from strangers. We aren’t shaking hands when we meet friends. We aren’t embracing when we see loved ones.

Nor will we be standing shoulder-to-shoulder among crowds of strangers cheering the candidates of our choice.

To be frank, I am having trouble grasping how this will play out. I am still trying to fathom the notion of a “virtual” presidential nominating convention. Democrats will nominate Biden in a virtual event; Republicans will nominate Trump who will speak to a crowd in Jacksonville, Fla., after the GOP gathering was moved from Charlotte, N.C., because the North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t clear the event out of fear of spreading the virus.

But … here we are. It’s a new day in a new era and with a new set of circumstances that are far beyond our ability to control at the moment. It has changed the way our politicians campaign for public office.

Given that I am slowly becoming a 21st-century man, I welcome the change with hope that it will produce new national leadership.

RNC looks for a new cheering station

Donald John Trump is looking across the nation for a place to stage a political convention that will nominate him for a second term as president of the United States.

He faces a monumental task.

Trump has all but pulled the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, N.C., because North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper cannot guarantee that the RNC can conduct a convention packed with screaming Trumpsters. Why? Too much danger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump isn’t having it. He wants to take it to a more politically friendly place, given that Gov. Cooper is a Democrat.

I chuckled out loud this morning when I read the Dallas Morning News story that said Dallas County won’t be available to the RNC, even if the GOP wanted to move its convention to Texas. It ain’t likely to make the move here, either. Dallas County is undergoing a surge in infection from the viral plague; so is Texas. We’re out of the game.

These events take many months to plan. For the RNC to seek to change its convention venue at virtually the last minute provides the party with a task that even Donald Trump — the self-proclaimed master of everything and everyone on Earth — cannot complete.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee, which is scheduled to convene its convention in Milwaukee, might turn instead to a “virtual” event that nominates Joe Biden as its nominee. He won’t get the cheering crowd, but merely might rely on telecommunications technology to get the word out to millions of voters as to why he is better suited to lead the nation.

I suspect the bungling, bumbling and blathering from Donald Trump over relocating the RNC might provide Biden with plenty of grist.