Republican convention gets off to noisy start

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Today the Republican National Convention gets underway. The Keynote speaker? Melania Trump, the third wife of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

The convention is almost like a Grateful Dead thing from back in the day. As some of you may recall the 1980s (at least) a place like Alpine Valley Music Theater would accommodate 30,000 Dead fans for a fine evening of music and light show. But, out in the parking lots there would be another 30-40,000 people just milling about, looking for a miracle. I can hear Bob Wier singing, “I need a miracle, every day!” and then in the PSA he says, “If you don’t have a ticket to the show, don’t come to the venue.”

Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty
Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty

Nobody listened. Maybe they thought Bobby was kidding. He once told me, or maybe it was Dennis, he wasn’t kidding. The Grateful Dead didn’t want thousands of fans showing up at the various venues if they didn’t have tickets.

The unruly crowds pissed off the neighbors who complained to the police and political establishment about them filthy hippies clogging up the road and defecating in their roses. Walking from a parking lot at Alpine to the theater one night I stopped to pee in the bushes … and it was for a Dead show. Mea Culpa.

At any rate — there will be 2,470 people at the convention in Cleveland, OH, but 50,000 are expected to visit Cleveland just for the convention. Not sure how many rose bushes can be found in Downtown Cleveland.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the toast of the town. It would be interesting to see if any of the Cavs players show up at the convention, either as an invitee of the Trump Family or as one of the thousands milling around outside in the restricted areas, waiting for something to happen.

What could possibly happen in the city that hosts the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Riots, police brutality, Black Lives Matter protesters making their voices heard over the din of the maddening crowd.

The organizers of the convention can’t get their party behind the presumptive nominee. Major figures of the Grand Old Party won’t be attended and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is attending in video only.

Actor and director Scott Baio
Actor and director Scott Baio

There won’t be any Bushes, Sen. John McCain of Arizona won’t be there, nor will Mitt Romney. Senators Lindsey Graham (who cannot in good conscience support Trump), Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

Not even the popular governor of Ohio will be attending the GOP convention in his own state. John Kasich, according to Donald Trump, is an embarrassment to his party and his state. The Trump Campaign doesn’t even want Kasich at the convention. No endorsement, no invitation.

Sen. Ted Cruz will probably speak because he got enough wins in the primaries to qualify, plus he is likely to get officially put up for nomination.

But for Monday the big issue: the rules. Not the ones about what you can and cannot bring into the Quicken Loans Arena. You can’t bring guns, knives (of any size) explosives (including fireworks), umbrellas, baseballs (sorry Indians fans), laser lights and pointers, coolers, strollers, inflatable items, Wi-Fi disrupters, noise makers — unless they are issued b y the RNC — Voice enhancement devices, pointy things like screwdrivers, razorblades, scissors, knitting needles, drones, signs or placards (other than what’s presented by RNC) and whole fruit, like tomatoes, among other things.

The people running Trump’s convention don’t want angry delegates to have projectiles that can splatter all over people on the stage.

No, the rules in contention on Monday have to do with the way the primaries and convention will be run, in the future (the primaries) and the present — letting the Stop Trump delegates voice their concerns. So the Stop Trumpers tried to get a resolution (to free the delegates to vote for who they want on the first ballot) brought to a vote and they wanted a roll call vote to either ratify or dismiss bringing the resolution to a vote. The chair of the moment — it wasn’t Paul Ryan — took a voice vote and declared the Stop Trumpers didn’t have enough signatures on the petitions to change the rules and call for a roll call vote.

Some states, we were told, withdrew their signatures and the RNC managers declared the convention was going forward and the Stop Trumpers could just go screw themselves. Well, they didn’t say that about the Stop Trumpers, but with the Quicken Loans rocking with shouts of “Roll call vote!” and “Point of order!” it looked like the leaders of the convention were ignoring the people who wanted the roll call vote, which by the noise of the “Nay’s,” was a large portion of the delegates in the arena. At least large enough to suggest a roll call vote was the most appropriate way to settle the issue.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

“In the opinion of the chair the ayes have it,” said the chair of the moment, nearly drowned out be the dissenters demanding a point of order. At one point he the left the podium for ten minutes.

The Colorado delegation walked out, even though it is claimed Colorado is one of the states that withdrew their signatures from the petition calling for a roll call vote. Kendall, Unruh. a spokeswoman for the Colorado delegation, said everyone in her delegation knew what they were signing, a petition to have a roll call vote to free the delegates on the first ballot, and that the RNC lied about three states pulling their support for the petition.

I was watching MSNBC because who can say “no” to Chuck Todd and Hallie Jackson? But they were getting comments from delegates on the floor. Former U.S. Senator of New Hampshire Gordon Humphrey said of the convention, “I sought to be recognized to raise a point of parliamentary inquiry and was immediately drowned out by … pause … people I would refer to as ‘brown shirts,’ in my surroundings.” Jacob Soboroff was interviewing Humphrey and he asked the former senator, “Is this fair, is this right””

Humphrey responded, “Well, you just saw the second most important item of business rushed through in a split second with no opportunity for debate, no opportunities for questions, no opportunities for points of order, and no roll call vote.” He added, “this isn’t a meeting of the Republican National Committee, this is a meeting of Brown Shirts.”

For those who might not be up on their historical reference and analogies, “Brown Shirts” were the enforcement wing of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party in the 1920s and early 30s, as he climbed to the top of the German government. They terrorized everyone that opposed Hitler, primarily with violence.

Gordon Humphrey interviewed by Jacob Soboroff of NBC/MSNBC
Gordon Humphrey interviewed by Jacob Soboroff of NBC/MSNBC

Humphrey added one more slam to Donald Trump and his supporters. “They might not be fascists, but they act like fascists. They have the manners or the lack of manners of fascists. And in this respect they are only too reflective of Donald Trump himself.”

Last week he called Trump a “sick sociopath.”

It’s safe to say Gordon Humphrey is part of the “Never Trump” wing of the Republican Party.

So is Utah Senator Mike Lee. Who said it was about the future of the party, not just this year’s convention. Lee told Dana Bash of CNN, “… this is about the rules of the convention. This is about the future of the party … This is not about Donald Trump, this is about having a good, fair rules process.”

Well actually, it was about mounting a credible action to block Donald Trump’s nomination.

Ken Cuccinelli, former Attorney General of Virginia, the RNC was “…trampling their grassroots delegates,” and “The RNC cheated.”  He threw his credentials to the floor and walked away.

It has been a pretty raucous start to the GOP convention, but as Trump’s de facto campaign manager Paul Manafort, told Chuck Todd, “We ended this day on time.” He is the guy who said this to reporters, about Ohio Governor John Kasich: “He’s embarrassing his party in Ohio.”

As of 7 p.m. Monday Evening, Cleveland time, there is no unity in the Republican Party.

Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of the people killed at Benghazi, Libya.
Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of the people killed at Benghazi, Libya.

Now I’m just waiting to hear from Melania Trump. She, who has posed nude multiple times, will be addressing the political party that has declared pornography to be a national health crisis. She and the Donald will make history tonight: he will introduce her, which means this is the first time a major party candidate will speak on the first night of the convention. Won’t that be an interesting moment.

Apparently we are going to heat from one of the Duck Dynasty guys and Chachi from Happy Days, Scott Baio. he says The Donald is doing this from the bottom of his heart … Man, the GOP really had to dig to find speakers.

Marlana VanHoose has just sung the Nation Anthem (very well I might add) so it’s time to get this up on the web.

The best part of the convention might have happened before it got started. Stephen Colbert went up on the podium and grabbed the mic. Watch the clip.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

All photos from YouTube live feeds.