Before we get into last night’s festivities, first we must address Nebraska GOP delegate (and Sarpy County Election Commissioner) Wayne Bena’s encounter on the convention floor with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog (a/k/a Robert Smigel):
— Wayne Bena (@WJBena) July 21, 2016
So, in light of Triumph’s observation about Mr. Bena, we give you this version of “If They Mated”:
So the media is pretty much ablaze today with Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement speech to the Republican Convention last night.
Ted Cruz is done Presidentially. I’m not sure I’d bet that he’d lose in a Senate primary, but his calculation last night was poor.
His bet, like many other #NeverTrumpers is that Trump loses badly, and then he rises as the party savior in 2020.
Instead he got the entire convention arena to rally around Donald Trump and boo him off the stage. People used to wonder why so many, if not all, of his colleagues in Washington hate him, and now he summed it up for them.
And Cruz is now seeing how he miscalculated as well. He is telling reporters this morning that he didn’t endorse because Trump insulted his wife and father. So it wasn’t because Trump wasn’t conservative enough? Which is it, Senator?
Other conservative writers are popping up this morning giving multiple huzzahs to Cruz to “sticking to his principles”. But once again, this was a politically calculated speech that Cruz gave. Just like it was Cruz’s political calculation to be warm and fuzzy to Trump, back when Trump was destroying Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
So those, like Jonah Goldberg (one of my favorite writers), wrote…
But if the choice is between forgiving Ted Cruz’s obvious political calculation to become the standard bearer of an authentic conservatism or Donald Trump’s lizard-brain narcissism where no principle or cause outranks his own glandular desire to be worshipped, like a conqueror atop the carcass of conservatism, I choose Ted.
Which is an interesting consideration.
But I’ll at least give Jonah the credit for writing “if”.
Because that’s NOT the choice.
The choice is not Trump or Cruz.
It’s Trump or Hillary.
That’s the choice.
So writers like Jonah or National Review’s Kevin Williamson can characterize the choice of Hillary or Trump as “between gonorrhea and syphilis” and har-har at their cleverness. But actual voters will be making that choice for who is President.
As near as I can tell, people like Williamson and Senator Ben Sasse plan to either sit on their hands or flush their votes on Gary Johnson or something. And maybe those votes don’t matter in Nebraska or DC. But they certainly do in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida.
So here’s the question, which I posed to Williamson on the Twitter, and he directed me to his vast volume of writings to dig for the answer:
Are you for Hillary or Trump?
If you say Trump, but only because Hillary would be more awful, fine.
(Jonah Goldberg has said this.)
Heck, I’d even take a version of…
“I am a Constitutionalist, and I think almost any of the other GOP candidates would have been better than Trump. But I know that Hillary will be much worse than Trump, so I will vote for Trump. But I will hammer him every day and on every issue where he is not in line with my Constitutionalist thinking. And I also hope to bring him around to my side. But, assuming he doesn’t change, I will also advocate for the Republicans replacing him in 2020. In the mean time, I know that Hillary would be worse, and will vote Trump…”
Or, if you say Trump is so bad that I’ll gulp and vote for Hillary, and then try to defeat her after 4 years, fine. I disagree strongly with that position, but OK.
But this “neither” territory is a crock (along the lines of Gary Johnson).
From a few there last night after the Cruz speech:
From Hal Daub: “He showed tonight why he lost.”
Deb Fischer: “Everybody pledged that they were going to support the nominee. It’s too bad he didn’t.”
And from an unnamed former U.S. Senator sitting with billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who refused to let Cruz into his suite after the speech): “He’s a piece of sh*t.”
And enough of this, “All he said was vote your conscience!” The “conscience” part was Cruz’s code for “Don’t vote for Trump! Wait 4 years and vote for me!”
Newt even put a nice spin on it saying, “There’s only one ticket that will protect the Constitution, Trump-Pence.”
We ALL scream
And a hearty meat and potatoes speech from Mike Pence.
But here’s another point from a column from Jonah Goldberg yesterday:
He said that in the past, conventions were about everyone coming together and picking a candidate all the party could agree on. Some like strawberry, some like chocolate. But some hate both. So they pick vanilla because EVERYONE likes vanilla.
And a few months back, he was pointing out that Scott Walker was leading the polls (remember that) because he was the vanilla candidate that everyone could agree on.
But when it came around this time, Republican voters at gates screamed, “ENOUGH WITH F***ING VANILLA! WE’RE SICK OF VANILLA! WE’RE GETTING MOOSETRACKS WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! AHHHHHHRRRRGGGHH!”
Now…some in the GOP are saying, “That Moosetracks is actually laced with Ex-Lax.”
Others are saying, “No it’s not. And even if it is, we are going to be force-fed ice cream tonight, and the coconut-kale flavor over there is also laced…with cyanide. So I’ll take my chances with the Moosetracks.”
Later in the day Herbster sponsored the dinner for the Nebraska delegates in Cleveland.
And a few pics from the Nebraska Twitterers yesterday…
— Deb Fischer (@DebFischerNE) July 20, 2016
— Nathan Gonzales (@nathanlgonzales) July 21, 2016
— Wayne Bena (@WJBena) July 21, 2016
— Brian Buescher (@BrianBuescher1) July 21, 2016
Pleasure to meet Chief of Staff for George W. Bush, Karl Rove pic.twitter.com/HIRlNglk9r
— Coby Mach (@CobyMach) July 21, 2016
Tweetin’ the night away
The big conclusion tonight!
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