To start your Cleveland-centered morning, here are a couple of Separated at Births for you!
First, Nebraska National GOP Committeeman, J.L. Spray… and Morning Joe Scarborough!
And second, Douglas County Republican Party Chair, Jon Tucker…and Wally from Dilbert!
To start you off, here is a very quick edition of The Wheels Down Politics Show podcast from yesterday with Nebraska alternate delegate and political consultant Rod Edwards!
This was recorded between Day 1’s morning and evening session, and it focuses on the controversy (remember that?) about the lack of a roll call vote on the convention rules. Looking back on it now, I’m starting to feel it was a smart move.
In any case, it’s a quick 10 minute interview with Rod to give you an immediate taste of the convention floor itself.
If you want to follow the convention in real time, you can not only follow MY tweets, but the tweets of almost all of the Nebraska convention delegates via my Twitter List of “Nebraskans at the GOP Convention“. It just puts all of their tweets in one spot, so you don’t have to try to follow an additional 40 people on your regular timeline.
I use it myself. Very handy.
Views from the floor
Some other highlights from last night:
I heard from many of the delegates, and on the Twitter, national pollster Frank Luntz noted that during the “minor” speeches from early last night, delegates were seated, listening to ALL of the speeches.
These were mainly those from Gold Star Mothers (who lost children in combat) and Marines relaying their experiences in Benghazi. But they were followed by others such as Sheriff David Clarke and Senator Tom Cotton.
Senator Deb Fischer also joined the delegation on the floor — though not a delegate herself.
And then there was the over-the-top entrance by the candidate himself, and the fantastic speech delivered by Melania.
Which got rave reviews by everyone, even the most cynical commentators…and then the news broke after the speech.
Here’s the thing about “plagiarism”: It’s only really bad when you’re trying to take a shortcut and not get caught. Say you’re a student, and you’re trying to write an idea about why the Treaty of Ghent was a bad idea. You read an original idea about it in a book, even copy a passage from the author, then claim to your teacher that it was your own: bad.
Joe Biden has pretty much gotten a pass on all of the plagiarism that he did on Nile Kinnock’s speeches, because many people figure he didn’t mean to try to trick anyone. He had cited Kinnock in the past, but then when giving speeches in Iowa during the Presidential campaign, omitted Kinnock’s name. But then, “Biden’s use came under more scrutiny because he fabricated aspects of his own family’s background in order to match Kinnock’s.”
I have a feeling we are never going to get a straight answer out of the Trump campaign about how Melania’s speech is so strikingly similar to one given by Michelle Obama. But here’s what I imagine happened (or something like it):
Melania wanted, and needed, to write some of her own speech, seeing as it’s her life story. But she has never done anything like this before. So someone said, “Here’s an example of a good speech, I’ve put it through the Google translator into Slovenian so it’s easier for you to read. You put some ideas together, and then someone will help you craft your speech.”
And then Melania looked at what was Michelle’s speech, and thought something like, “I like this idea right here. Sounds exactly like something my father would say.” And then she cut and pasted it into her rough draft, along with other ideas. She didn’t think much of it, as the nerd with the bad haircut and no fashion sense TOLD her it was from a “good speech”.
So then speechwriter guy — probably different from the original guy — gets Melania’s notes. He puts them back through Google translator, bucks up the speech trying to use as many of Melania’s ideas as possible, and returns the whole thing to Paul Manafort, who has final say on everything. Speech looks good, and off to put in the teleprompter.
Now this is, at least, political negligence. But it ain’t malicious. In the Biden situation above, he may have at least figured that no one was going to know about a speech from a British politician. But here, it would be (and was) obvious! You could never hide it.
So, even if the above explanation is completely off, there is no way there was any malicious intent.
Just disappointment …that it is now a giant distraction (Manafort is claiming that it wasn’t copied from Michelle’s speech…) from what was otherwise a very well written and delivered speech.
Well anyway. Considering that the early session on Monday now feels like it was a a year ago, by Thursday, Day 1 will likely feel like 10 years ago.
That being said, there better be some major efforts to end the thing by 10pm CT each night. It was awful that the speakers in the end, like Joni Ernst, were talking to an empty room.
You can’t exactly blame organizers for putting in a speaker after Melania, since who knew she would kill? But three or four (I lost count) more? And it should have been clear to give retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn the hook after five minutes, tops. Did anyone think he’d be a riveting convention speaker?
The ONLY way!
Well, we Leavenworth St. will continue with the coverage — with more full posts throughout the convention. So be sure to come back here, but especially follow along on the Twitter, @LeavenworthSt.
Then to stay updated with new posts and podcasts, Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook, and/or subscribe for emailed updates with every new post (up top, on the right).
Because that’s how YOU keep up with the talk of Nebraska politics!