There was something tragic about the self destruction of Senator Ted Cruz. We watched with bated breath as he walked slowly and deliberately to the edge of the cliff on Wednesday night.
He was giving his speech to the Republican National Convention. All of us were expecting him to shame the boos by finally, at the dramatic end, announce his endorsement of his party’s nominee.
Hadn’t he promised as much in the debates? Didn’t he, as a constitutional lawyer, understand what would happen to the nation if activist Justices were appointed to the Supreme Court?
Didn’t he remember the wise, patient Richard Nixon, who in 1964, alone among establishment Republicans, defended the young GOP children who had nominated Barry Goldwater, and thus was joyfully elected president himself four years later? A path that this time Newt Gingrich has been able to carve out for himself.
So there was Ted Cruz, standing on the precipice, peaceful, in a lonely world of his own making, oblivious to the shouting mob all around him. And then suddenly, without fanfare, he ended his speech and leaped into the chasm. No endorsement. He had ended his political career. It was a very private moment in full view of thousands.
My heart broke, not for Donald Trump, who may still win anyway, but for Ted Cruz. It is not easy to watch a man take his own political life.
Ted Cruz must have imagined writers talking the next day about how Donald Trump had created his bed and now had to lie in it. Trump had fiercely and effectively branded Cruz as “Lyin Ted” and it hurt. Trump now had to live with the consequences of his actions.
There is a scene in my book The Raising of a President, where Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy and his wife Rose, are on a train to Washington, D.C. They are on their way to a White House meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Kennedy is going to publicly denounce the president and refuse to endorse him for re-election. He is rehearsing with Rose all of the reasons, and all of the cruel and false games that the President has played against him.
Rose listens patiently and then says, “Joe, the people aren’t going to understand that. They will just see that you didn’t endorse him, that’s all they will see. You are the only one who will be hurt.”
Where was Rose Kennedy Wednesday night?
Forgiveness is a lost art. I’m keenly aware of that since I have made my fair share of mistakes. But sometimes forgiveness is also, remarkably, a solution. It is not a sign of weakness, no one would have seen Ted Cruz as weak had he endorsed Donald Trump.
Which brings us to Roger Ailes, the embattled genius who just resigned from Fox News. He was accused of sexual harassment by an employee and his media competitors were quick to beat the drums. Of course they wanted him to go. They couldn’t beat him in business, they couldn’t beat him at broadcasting.
Let’s make it clear, the charges against Roger Ailes were not about any unwelcome physical actions. Rather, the accusations, unproven at this point, said that he used earthy and sexually aggressive language. And as the boss, the words were intimidating and inappropriate.
Sexy is part of the secret to success at Fox News. It is a network that not only reports sides of an issue that no other network dares touch, but it presents it with attractive, dazzling personalities who look good.
Roger Ailes had built a network on forgiveness. Some of his stars may have been perfect, in looks and in character, but many were not. Just Google a Fox name, any name, and add lawsuit and you will see.
There are Fox anchors and guests that have been drunk, arrested, plagiarized and many have been tossed out on the trash heap by other networks, for being too old or too fat. If they had talent, Roger Ailes would find them and forgive them and pull them from the trash heap to polish them off and turn on the lights and make them productive again.
I have a solution for that awkward Ted Cruz moment. Forgive him.
And that should have been the solution for the Roger Ailes crisis. The Murdoch’s should have done what Ailes himself would do to any other talented person in his place. Forgive him.
The only way Roger Ailes should have ever left Fox News was in a box, dead at the age of 100, on the 4th of July.
He was a new kind of politician.
He totally turned the presidential nominating process on its head, collecting more votes than any other candidate before him.
He had his own money. Lots of it.
Party insiders were horrified.
A former president invited in members of the media to announce that he wasn’t even going to attend the National Convention.
Pundits said that the political party was hopelessly divided and that the nominee would not win the national election.
That was 1960.
The former president who boycotted the Convention was Harry S. Truman. He is considered by historians as one of America’s greatest presidents. That year he resigned from the Missouri delegation and held a press conference attacking the likely nominee.
The nominee was Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
He won the election anyway and became president of the United States.
So much for the power of former presidents.
Elections are about the future.
And politics is organic, always changing and adapting.
The national media is making a big deal out of the fact that the former Bush presidents aren’t attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. They are saying that this is unprecedented and proves that there are deep divisions within the Party.
The truth is that neither Bush president was present at the Romney Convention in 2012 in Tampa. And neither Bush president was present at the McCain Convention in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their absence is not new.
A successful Convention is about going forward, not going backward. Truman could not stop the advance of time. He could not stop John Kennedy. And two Bush presidents cannot stop the changes within the Republican Party. Nor can they stop Donald Trump.
Go to this video: Doug Wead on Mornings with Maria Bartiroma (July 20, 2016)
See below, former President, Harry Truman, boycotts Democratic National Convention in 1960.
Thanks to recording options I have been able to follow the Republican National Convention on many different networks and all of them are perpetuating a big lie about Cleveland.
The report is that this convention is unprecedented for not including two past presidents from their own party, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. The implication is that the division at this convention is unprecedented and will lead to a loss in November.
Donald Trump may, indeed, not win in November. But if so, it will be more likely because of slanted, false, and sometimes incompetent, media coverage than a divided party. Here are the facts.
The absence of the two Bush presidents is not new. Neither George W. Bush, nor George H.W. Bush were present at the last Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012 when Mitt Romney was nominated.
Nor was either one present at the RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008 when John McCain was nominated.
In some cases this false narrative is the result of sloppy homework. Maybe it is the result of faulty memories, they did show a movie about George W. Bush and dad at the 2012 Convention, and they allowed a satellite connected speech by George W. Bush in 2008 but the reality is this has less to do with Trump, Romney and McCain than it does about George W. Bush and his unpopular war in Iraq and the economic collapse during the last year of his presidency.
Such moments are not limited to Republicans. Former President Harry Truman was so upset over the likely nomination of John F. Kennedy that he resigned as a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. And in 1972, former President Lyndon Johnson was nowhere to be seen at his own Party’s Convention in Miami Beach. Former President, Jimmy Carter, has been sometimes honored, sometimes marginalized at his Party’s Convention, depending on the polls.
In some cases this false Trump-Bush narrative is pure, deliberate, misinformation.
One network host was careful to select his words, saying, “For the first time in forty years there has not been a Bush at a Republican National Convention.”
He obviously knew full well that the story being repeated by pundits and fellow hosts, that the Bush presidents were absent for the first time, was false. Thus, he helped keep alive the idea of unprecedented exclusion and division without repeating the bogus facts. And the host could technically claim he had spoken the truth, without taking the time to correct his colleagues.
Americans have pretty much accepted the end of journalism in this country. We are now in an era that is not entirely unlike the Soviet Union during communism. Facts are open to change. Some thoughts or ideas are forbidden and never spoken aloud. Parents must have private conversations with their children about issues and must be careful even then. Media targets can be blindsided, without an opportunity to respond. And if all of this is happening to domestic events that are in full view, just imagine the misinformation about issues worldwide?
So, here you go, a gift of love to my tiny, well informed, WordPress audience. At least you shall know. George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush are not in Cleveland. But they were not in Tampa or St. Paul, Minnesota either. And that big voice vote brouhaha on the first day of the Convention? It has happened exactly the same for most of my lifetime.
Massive riots coming to the Trump Convention in Cleveland?
The conventional wisdom – no pun intended – is that this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland will be a mirrored image of the Democrat National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
In Chicago, the Vietnam War was the issue and young Democrats battled police in the streets to protest their own leaders, who were in power. It resulted in a divided party. The Democrats lost the White House in the 1968 election.
In Cleveland this week, street riots may have the opposite effect. If young Democrats – or Black Lives Matter protesters – battle police outside Quicken Loans Arena it will only unify the Republican Party. And if they hurt or bloody innocent people, it may turn thousands of new voters to Trump.
There is an irony in all of this.
The RNC in Cleveland, like the RNC in Tampa in 2012, is designated a “National Special Security Event,” which means that the security is ultimately handled by the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security. In 2012 the FEDS spent $50 million on security in Tampa.
Pundits all over television are hearkening back to the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago and saying that if there are riots Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich will be the one to call out the National Guard but in fact, in this post 9-11 America, President Barack Obama will be in charge of security at the RNC, and if he runs it the way he runs the IRS or the Veterans Affairs, it really means that nobody will be in charge.
So in Cleveland, you can conceivably have federal officers – answering to the Obama administration – trying to control African American protesters outside the Trump Convention and the national media will blame those “hateful” Trump Republican policemen on the street for any protester that gets hurt.
On the other hand, if the Obama DHS fails to do its job and there are images of bloodied Trump supporters in downtown Cleveland, the Democrats can kiss the state of Ohio goodbye in a general election.
It is very complicated and there are many moving parts to this scenario.
The media, of course, will spin this with their biased partisan slant but in election years they tend to do too much and it backfires. Their audience is often insulted by the rigidity of their message and start rebelling. That happened in 1980 when the national media tilted so far against Reagan that the nation elected him president in a landslide.
And this time there is the Fox News Channel which will gladly pick up any stories that the networks leave laying on the bloodied streets of Cleveland and thus the lion’s share of the national audience and advertising revenue.
For the moment, the national media is content with keeping the Clinton NGO scandal out of the news and promoting the idea of a fractured Republican Party. For example, it is making a big deal out of the fact that the two Bush presidents will not be attending the 2016 RNC in Cleveland.
They conveniently neglect to remind their viewers that the two Bush presidents didn’t attend the 2012 Convention in Tampa either. That the absence is not about Trump any more than it was about Romney. It is about winning and the last Bush presidency is a drag on those chances.
So here comes the Cleveland Convention. If Black Lives Matter fails to register on the Richter scale their movement is over and their money will dry up. If they don’t show at Trump’s Convention, where will they ever show again?
And if they do show they must be heard to matter.
And President Barack Obama and his DHS and Secret Service will be swinging the batons and firing the rubber bullets and holding up the fences. While the national media will blame it all on Republicans. And in this explosive mix may come the story that will rivet the nation and decide the election.
Remember, Trump’s rise to the national stage was propelled by the murder of Kate Steinle, 32, on a San Francisco pier by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported back to Mexico five times and kept coming back. “Dad, help me, help me,” she called out, as she lay dying from the random attack.
Donald Trump’s unlikely election as president may come from a few seconds of video on the streets of Cleveland this week. Let’s pray that there will be no Kate Steinle offered on the altar this time.
Doug Wead on Brad-cast, the Brad Friedman Show. What to expect at the Republican National Convention.
See Doug Wead on PBS tonight at 8pm EST and again at midnight EST. “The White House.”