(NOT IN) CLEVELAND – So Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who allegedly are the two prominent Republican political officials from Illinois, are among the politicos who couldn’t be bothered to show up for the Republican National Convention that began Monday on the shores of Lake Erie.
Both are among the many GOP types who want to keep some distance between themselves and likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
OF COURSE, I doubt their presence is being missed at all this week, with many of the Trump types who will formally pick him to be the GOP candidate who takes on Democrat Hillary Clinton viewing them suspiciously.
Rauner, after all, is the guy who has shown himself to be incapable of crushing Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, while Kirk is the guy whom they only begrudgingly voted for in 2010 and certainly aren’t going to get all worked up over this year.
He is, after all, the guy who was branded by none other than Trump himself as a “loser,” as though if he’d only accept the love of Trump he’d have a chance of beating Democrat Tammy Duckworth come Nov. 8.
It is clear from reports emanating from Cleveland that this year’s presidential nominating convention is nothing like previous versions – which usually amount to over-glorified pep rallies in which political operatives gather together, get all worked up, then go back home to try to spread that sense of energy to the masses to get them to vote.
INSTEAD, THIS IS purely about Trump. It is about feeding his massive ego and making him feel like he’s staging an event that will go into the history books. Even though I expect that whatever does come out of Cleveland this week will be little remembered and long-forgotten.
There’s no way any event that features actor Scott Baio as one of its prominent faces bears any resemblance to an event that dictates serious public policy.
Heck, I’d take this event more seriously if Trump had arranged for Scott’s cousin, Jimmy Baio, to be the big-name speaker. Since the 1970s television show “Soap” (where Jimmy played the smart-alecked son of Jessica and Chester Tate) was probably more intriguing than any of the shows that featured Scott.
Or does anyone really think that highly of “Charles in Charge” or the later years of “Happy Days” that featured Scott Baio as a prominent player?
BUT HAVING PSEUDO-celebrities show up probably is totally in line with the kind of presidency that Trump would give us – should the electorate actually go so far as to give him a majority of the vote come Election Day.
Lots of glitz and glamour, with the likelihood that the actual duties of governing being relegated to fairly anonymous geeky-types hired by a president who thinks of himself as more a CEO-type who barks general orders and is quick to shift the blame away from himself whenever anything goes wrong.
It’s no wonder the serious governing types don’t feel compelled to be on hand for the nominating convention, which usually would offer them a chance to be seen by government-geek types and draw attention to themselves.
Rauner is passing on the chance to be viewed as a national figure; likely because he knows he can only come across as looking foolish in this environment. Better that he spend his week finding events across Illinois to travel to – such as his Monday appearance in Taylorville where he addressed the issue of restrictions on the sale of addictive bath salts. Better that than being seen near Trump.
AS FOR THOSE people who are in Cleveland this week, I hope they feel like they’re accomplishing something significant – other than being in the presence of Stephen Colbert, the entertainer who plays the part of a political commentator which means that Cleveland is probably the perfect place for him to spend a week in search of a cheap laugh.
Nobody else gains much. I don’t feel like I would be missing much by not being in Cleveland this week. For the Indians are in Kansas City playing the Royals, so skipping out on Baio’s speech or the comments of any of the many Trump family members who will speak grandly about dear ol’ daddy is not an option.
As for playing hooky (delegates get free admission, thanks to AT&T) to see the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame? My brother actually went there once, and claimed the overall experience was one of the biggest let-downs of his life. Too much about Cleveland trying to claim a cultural significance for itself, and not enough about the music itself.
Which could be appropo for the convention itself – lots of fluff detracting from the serious detail of people trying to show why they’d actually be qualified enough to justify our voting for them come Election Day!