And when Reince Priebus looked over the RNC’s schedule he wept tears of milk and Baileys, for there were no more opportunities to blow.
The Republican party had a chance this year. It coulda had class. It coulda been a contender. It coulda taken advantage of the monumental chance that it had been accorded. Instead, it has chosen the course of farce, which is what this is, let’s face it.
In the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza sums up the affair pithily. Trump’s roster of convention speakers, Cillizza notes, is less appropriate for “the Republican National Convention” and more appropriate for “the Trump National Convention,” for “the tie that binds the vast majority of the people together, particularly the non-politicians on the roster, is a connection to Trump, not to the Republican party.”
Were the organizers determined to say ‘we’re a small, white rump, ignore us!’ they could barely have done a better job.
It is a peculiar thing, the GOP’s present predicament. To look around the country is to see a party that is dominant everywhere but the White House. On paper at least, it is the Republicans who have the personnel; the Republicans who have the energy; the Republicans who have the openings. And, on paper at least, it is the Democrats who are moribund. Hillary Clinton is a disaster of epic proportions — unliked and untrusted, she is more like John Kerry than like her husband — and she has been given the unenviable task of seeking the “third term” for a president who has rarely been approved of by more than half of the country. And yet, at the moment of truth, the Republican primary electorate chose to channel its inner Peter III, and to spin into anger and frustration and pathetic self-immolation. Had cooler heads prevailed, a compelling message could have been sent across the Ohio airways: “These are the people who run most of the country,” that party could have said. “Now, let’s give them a shot at the executive branch.” Instead, the convocation has elected to meditate upon Trump Steaks.And so it will be that the GOP refuses to press its advantage. As it always does, the Democratic party will cast the American Right as a dangerous collection of freaks and grifters; and, once again, the American Right will present the onlookers with evidence that this is true. In Cleveland, nobodies will be elevated well beyond their station; minorities will be represented by carnival barkers and contrarians; and the remarkable gains of the past six years will be hidden from public view. Instead of Tim Scott talking about poverty, we will see Ben Carson delivering his patented semi-comatose free-stylings. Instead of Susana Martinez outlining her vision, Ivanka Trump will regale us with an array of shimmering inanities. And, in what is perhaps the most criminal of all the mistakes being made, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan will be forced to sell their worthwhile legislative agendas not in concert with their party’s nominee but in spite of him.
They coulda been contenders. Instead, they chose burlesque. Into the Cuyahoga with the lot of ’em.
— Charles C. W. Cooke is the editor of National Review Online.