Monday, August 26th, 2019

Some unconventional convention thoughts


Waukesha Freeman 1/28/16 Page A06 Opinion

Some unconventional convention thoughts

Somebody please stop Reince Priebus. The Republican National Committee chairman is making Wisconsinites look bad.

On Monday, Priebus told the Democrats they should vote their conscience. If it sounds familiar, the idea of voting one’s conscience caused Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to be booed as he exited the stage at last week’s Republican National Convention.

On Tuesday, Priebus congratulated the Democrats on nominating the most unpopular candidate in their party’s history. Only one major party nominee has been more unpopular. Want to guess who?elephant Room

By Saturday, Priebus will be telling the Democrats that Hillary Clinton is too cozy with the Russians.

*** Through the miracle of newspaper deadlines, as this column is being written, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has not yet made his scheduled appearance at the Waukesha Expo Center. As you read this column the morning after, we’ll know whether some media figure asked Pence how he could stand there nodding while Donald Trump repeated the Kennedy assassination conspiracy about Cruz’s father.

Consider Pence’s complicity in the Trump insanity, and the destruction of Pence’s reputation, another casualty of Trump’s corrupting influence on the Republican Party.

*** Waukesha County is critical to Republican hopes of winning Wisconsin and possibly the White House. The problem is that Waukesha County was also ground zero for the Never Trump movement that enabled Cruz to defeat Trump in the Wisconsin Republican primary. That’s why we’re spared, at least temporarily, the picture of Gov. Scott Walker honoring his “pledge” to support the party’s nominee, regardless of whom.

When the unfortunate day does arrive for Trump to do a joint campaign appearance with Walker, the smiling faces will not hide all of the animosity of the last year. Nor will it change that the only reason that many state Republicans are supporting Trump is a fear that Republican turnout will be so depressed Sen. Ron Johnson will lose to former Sen.Russ Feingold. The lower turnout may also affect state legislative races.

For some Republicans that still won’t be enough to gin up enthusiasm for Trump. It would be nice if the state party recognized that. Instead of celebrating Trump’s nomination in their fundraising emails, perhaps they could talk about the accomplishments of Walker and the state Legislature instead.

Who knows? If the Republicans actually talked about their accomplishments in Wisconsin, perhaps they could raise Walker’s popularity again. Instead, they’re pinning their hopes on one of Walker’s harshest critics over the past year, and he just happens to be the Republican candidate for president.

*** This week is the Democrats’ turn to have a convention and they couldn’t even wait for everyone to arrive in Philadelphia to start having fun. The leaked emails revealed what everyone suspected, that the Democratic National Committee supported Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

What’s interesting is the reaction from the media, echoing the so-far unsubstantiated claims of the Clinton campaign that the emails came from official Russian hackers. Are foreigners trying to hijack our presidential election?

That’s an interesting question, one that should be familiar when considering the Clinton record. In 1996, the Republican candidate for president Bob Dole famously asked, “Where is the outrage?” He was frustrated by the media’s unwillingness to report on possible Chinese money coming into President Bill Clinton’s re-election efforts.

It’s nice to see the Democrats’ newfound interest in protecting our elections from outside influences. Maybe they’ll even ask about the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Or will we have to wait until those emails are leaked, too?

*** There are fanatics and there are Bernie Sanders-level fanatics. Given the support in Wisconsin for Sanders, it’s not surprising that a Dane County liberal, John Stanley of DeForest, decided to engage in a hunger strike to try to shame the Democrats into nominating Sanders instead of Clinton. After Clinton clinched the nomination Tuesday, Stanley told the media he was ending the hunger strike.

During the Vietnam War, Buddhist monks set themselves on fire to protest the Thieu regime in South Vietnam. We should be thankful that Sanders’ supporters weren’t that committed.

Politics should never be so important that someone is literally placing their lives at risk. When this year’s politics get that bad, have a cheeseburger and a beer instead.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)


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