Maybe I picked the wrong week to quit smoking, because the Republican National Convention is all over my TV like Roger Ailes at a Swedish job fair. Even Netflix has a double-box of Trump’s empty podium. On Tuesday night, though, MSNBC’s mercifully amateurish convention coverage spared me the indignity of having to watch sitting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan address the pasty throng, opting to relegate him to background noise for panel chat. This was a good decision for my soul, but a curious one for a “news network” to make, so curiosity got the better of me, and I checked out the speech online.
The speech was a snorefest, as expected, and the only newsworthy bit was that Ryan only mentioned the “textbook racist” he’s supporting for president once, when he promised to show up at the next SOTU and sit, “on the rostrum with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.”
That doesn’t mean there weren’t “highlights” of a sort, though, and I think they perfectly illustrate why Ryan and the rest of his party are getting trampled by Donald Trump and the Trumpists. The first of these is Ryan’s remarkably awful Hillary Clinton analogy. In an era in which invoking Hitler barely gets you a Mediaite write-up anymore, here’s what Ryan went with:
It’s like we’ve been on hold forever, waiting and waiting to finally talk to a real person and somehow we’ve been sent back to the main menu.
There must be a subsection of Godwin’s law that says when you get to the “main menu,” Hitler gets to win. Seriously, Mr. Speaker? Your candidate directly accuses her of actual murder, and you’re going with Comcast customer service? Actually, put it that way and it doesn’t sound so bad.
This is just a further illustration of the fact that Trump isn’t a departure from Republican politics, he’s the concentrated Balsamic reduction of it. Whereas Trump comes right out and says Mexicans are rapists and blacks are murderers and we need to ban Muslims, Ryan is still blowing weak-ass dog whistles like these:
Watch the Democratic Party convention next week, that four day infomercial of politically correct moralizing, and let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election…
…Let the other party go on and on with its constant dividing up of people. Always playing one group against the other as if group identity were everything. In America, aren’t we all supposed to be and see beyond class, see beyond ethnicity or all these other lines drawn that set us apart and lock us into groups?
See, to the perceptive racists, those two talking points mean that they should be proud to say racist and offensive things, and that if anyone calls them on it, they should just claim that those people are the real racists. But that weak tea don’t play in Trump’s America, where you just come right out and says Mexicans are rapists and blacks are murderers and we need to ban Muslims.
Truth be told, I much prefer the balls-out racism of the Trump Era to the shrinking cold-water variety that’s been handed down to Paul Ryan by the likes of Ronald Reagan. It’s nice to know who everyone really is.
That’s why I love this next bit so much, because it perfectly illustrates exactly what kind of weak messenger Paul Ryan is for a fiction that was always paper thin. Here’s Ryan going into his big money-shot closing when he realizes just what it is he’s loaded into his Teleprompter, and bobbles it:
If we don’t hold anything back, if we never lose sight of the spakes, if we never lose sight of what’s on table…
That’s Paul Ryan realizing he’s about to use “steaks” and “on the table” in the same sentence, an image that pretty much says it all about the choice available to voters this November.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.