If Donald Trump lied any more often, he’d have to guard a door in a logic puzzle. He does not always lie. He’s not at the dry cleaners like, “I’m Marie of Roumania, and I’m here to pick up my dog.” But although he periodically speaks truth, he is so much more likely to disregard it that his defenders urge us not to take him literally—that is, as though his words had fixed meaning. Trump is a bullshitter. He might be the chief bullshitter of our bullshit age. So can you imagine being his lawyer? One pities such people. How much bullshit must Michael Cohen, Sheri Dillon, and the rest of Trump’s team of paid advocates wade through to convert his raw, jazz-style bullshit into something finished enough to bullshit a court of law? Today is Friday, and even the president needs fixers. Won’t you make this all go away with me?
Remember when Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump were going to divide the Republican Party amongst themselves? Remember when we worried aloud, biting our cheeks to keep from snickering, that the GOP would suffer a contested convention? Here’s video from the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, in which delegates boo their nominee:
The DNC was in the news this weekend, starting Friday afternoon, when Wikileaks published over 20,000 emails proving party leaders connived against the Sanders campaign. The leaks probably came from Russian hackers, who likely dumped the information to sow division among Democrats and abet Kremlin favorite Donald Trump. That’s what the panicked faithful said, anyway. On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chair of the DNC. She promised to gavel the convention to order and oversee its proceedings, but after delegates from her home state met her with jeers at breakfast, she withdrew. Now the party is without a master, and Hillary’s power to command loyalty among Democrats is compromised on the eve of her ascension. Oh yeah—and Trump pulled even with her in the polls.
Donald Trump spoke for 75 minutes at the Republican National Convention last night, alternately aggrandizing himself, predicting doom, and assuring us he’d fix it. The theme of the evening was Make America One Again, which was a refreshing change from Monday’s theme, Make America Scared of Brown People. Yet Trump seemed to double down on separation. He adjusted his promised ban on Muslims to a ban on people from countries Muslim terrorists have “penetrated.” He did not mention any black lives that may have mattered, but he presented cop killing as epidemic, even though fewer officers have been murdered during the Obama administration than during any administration in the last 30 years. Then Trump promised to “end crime and violence very soon.” Today is Friday, and the Republican Party has nominated for president of the United States an ethnic nationalist campaigning on law and order. Won’t you consider fixing up the attic with me?
On Saturday, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R–MT) took the bravest stand of his political career. He resigned his position as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, citing his objection to a plank in the party platform that called for federal lands to be returned to the states. Commander Zinke feels strongly about federal land management, as befits an admirer of Teddy Roosevelt. It’s understandable that he kept his commitment to address the convention on Monday night, because pulling out 48 hours beforehand would be a dick move. Too bad the evening’s program turned out to be a parade of dicks, rubbing against each other until everyone was too sore and sticky to stand up any more, with Zinke coming in to mop up.
That’s an unpleasant metaphor, but it was a lot nicer than Monday night’s prime-time show. Zinke was scheduled to speak at 8:45pm EDT but didn’t take the stage until after 11:30. His openers included Rudolph Giuliani and the sheriff of Milwaukee County arguing that Black Lives Matter is racist, plus five different people whose relatives had been killed by illegal immigrants. The theme of the evening was “Make America safe again,” but the message was “black and brown people make America dangerous.” After his openers emptied the hall with hours of what Charles Pierce called weaponized grief, Zinke got up and did his SEAL schtick for six minutes, tacitly endorsing the craziness that came before.
It was disappointing to watch him do that after his courageous gesture last weekend. Why did Zinke stand on principle re: land management but not re: xenophobia, police brutality, or torture? That’s the question under inquiry in this week’s column in the Missoula Independent, which is a real criticism sandwich. I praise Zinke for taking a stand on our national parks. I praise him for being one of the few new Republicans with the biography to stand up to terror paranoia. But I criticize him for buying in, however passively. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.
It would be unfair to ask Melania Trump to write her own speech for the Republican convention. As the third wife of a billionaire 25 years her senior, she was not selected for her oratory skills. And can you imagine what it would be like to start in a Slovenian village and go on to marry the loudest asshole in America? Between Sevnica and Cleveland, she probably did some things she did not at first enjoy. My point is that Melania is through working, and we should leave her to peacefully wait out this last year of her husband’s life. In the meantime, hire a ghostwriter. Newt Gingrich would do it for lunch, I bet, and you could get somebody really good for money. This brings us to the question of whom the Trump campaign got—because, as you’ve no doubt heard, a portion of Melania’s speech sounded just like Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008.