Day two of the Republican National Convention was supposed to be Make America Work Again day. It turned out to be Hillary Clinton Is A Vicious Criminal day.
Come to think of it, that’s every day here.
I was seated in a press area high above the convention floor when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s assault on Clinton got the crowd so riled they burst into chants of “lock her up!”
Franklin and Marshall political analyst Terry Madonna came over and put his hand on my shoulder.”Can you believe this?” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” This is Madonna’s 12th national convention.
Other veteran reporters were saying the same thing.
Conventions are always hyper-partisan affairs, but there’s a level of vitriol here that feels different. And it wasn’t just Christie.
Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day addressed Clinton directly in her speech. “You’ve viciously attacked women who were sexually abused at the hands of your husband,” she said.
The Pa Delegation reactsI asked some members of the Pennsylvania delegation after their breakfast caucus if they were bothered by the tone of this, whether it coarsens our political discourse.
The answer was mostly “too bad, Hillary earned it.”
The delegation is stocked with longtime party activists who are used to partisan combat. And in many parts of the state it’s an accepted fact that President Obama has abused his office and savaged the constitution, and if anything, Clinton will do worse.
“This is all-out war,” State Sen. Scott Wagner of York County told the delegation. “If she wins, she is going to jam it to the people on the other side of the aisle. It is not going to be pretty.”
I asked State House Speaker Mike Turzai what he thought of the tone of the convention. He answered by saying Christie had made a strong and factual case.
Okay, I said, but you preside over a legislative body where people have to get along. “Were you chanting, ‘lock her up’? I asked.
“No, I would never do that,” Turzai said. “Civility is very important.”
Coming upToday is supposed to be Make America First Again day at the convention, but you know how that goes.
The headline event is the speech of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee.
I’ll be more interested to hear Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who hasn’t exactly embraced Trump, and is said to be laying the groundwork for a 2020 run for the White House.