By now you have heard about Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican convention last night. You can say one thing, among others: that is one lazy speechwriter. The language in Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech was all standard issue, off the shelf convention rhetoric. Melania Trump’s speechwriter couldn’t even be bothered to rewrite that!
I wonder if the speechwriter thought, “Oh, by the time anyone discovers it, no one will care. After a week, people won’t remember this stuff.” Well the news cycle is short, but the internet’s memory is long. You had side-by-side video posts of Michelle and Melania circulating on the main media within hours! Good work!
The Donald and his campaign have not created a high standard of professionalism to this point, so I suppose we shouldn’t expect a lot from the party’s performance at its convention in Cleveland. Every four years, party leaders want to show the country how unified they are, ready to do battle with the hated enemy. This year, you can’t tell whom they hate more, their own candidate or the enemy’s.
Before Melania’s speechwriter – first thought: “I think I’ll see what’s on the internet” – we had Mike Pence’s introduction to the world as another hapless understudy for The Donald. Ezra Klein writes about Trump’s performance at the press conference where, after more anticipation than we could bear, the candidate announced Indiana’s governor as his running mate:
Klein declares we need to stay shocked by Donald Trump. I actually agree with that, in a way, but I’d also say we need to stay shocked by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush. The two Democrats are almost incomprehensibly weak, condescending, and dishonest. The two Republicans are incompetent, vile, and show such poor judgment someone should have locked the pair up to keep them from causing more harm. That Barack and Hillary continued the policies of their predecessors can hardly be explained, except by reference to the national security state’s constancy and durability.
We have lived with poor leadership so long now, Trump can’t impress us much. He impresses us because he’s willing to say in public how bad our leadership has been, but all the evidence indicates he would be still worse. Where do the parties find these people? They think they are winners, because people cheer them and elect them to high office. Hillary brags about what she did to Libya for heaven’s sake. In fact, such leaders, filled with hubris and its attendant blindness, bring nothing but destruction and despair to everything they do, and they don’t even recognize it.
So Klein irritates me some. He focuses his attention and criticism on Trump, but you don’t see him criticize Democratic leadership with nearly the same pointedness. As for Trump’s press conference, that’s about what you’d expect from him. He talked mostly about himself for half an hour, gradually remembered why he called journalists in to hear him speak, and brought Mike Pence out to the podium to introduce him. Then he walked off the stage!
Of course you’d expect Trump to behave that way. “If I’m not talking anymore, why do I need to be here?” The Donald has to feed his hungry ego every minute, so I suppose he went off to his next appearance, wherever that might be. Mike Pence can take care of himself. Of course, Klein knows The Donald has done and said many other things to cause us some alarm. I would not say that straining norms of campaign communications by stranding his new running mate on the stage is a cause for alarm, given what The Donald has already shown us.
Recall for a moment Melania Trump’s speech to convention delegates. Trump and his campaign managers should send her speechwriter on over to Hillary’s campaign. Both operations have a hyper-energetic form of attention deficit. We need to spread that writer’s laziness around.