Highs and Lows of the Republican Convention
By David Henderson
Watching and analyzing the Republican convention so that you didn’t have to.
I watched more of the Republican national convention than I usually do, mainly because it promised to be more interesting than the usual. It was.
Here are some highs and lows of the convention. I’ll focus mainly, though not entirely, on economics. I’m judging entirely by content, not by how good-looking or good a speaker each speaker was. And my focus is on good or bad per minute spoken. By my standards, there weren’t many highs. I’ll start with the highs:
The one on gun control by Chris Cox. I had never seen him speak before or even heard of him. He’s not the Christopher Cox who was a Congressman in southern California and later chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He’s the chief lobbyist for the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association. He pointed out that it’s easy for Hillary Clinton to advocate making it harder for people to have guns because for the last 30 years (actually, it’s 24 years) and for the rest of her life she will be surrounded by people with guns, people paid by taxpayers, who will be there solely to protect her.
He made this point and others quite succinctly.
The one by Peter Thiel. I liked much of it and I especially liked the positive, and somewhat surprising, crowd reaction when he proudly announced that he was (is) gay. He emphasized nonintervention in other countries’ affairs. He overdid his stagnation thesis and he seemed to imply that it was a good thing for the government to spend taxpayers’ money to land a man on the moon.
Now the lows.
Tie for the Worst Speech:
The one by former astronaut Eileen Collins in which she called for increased funding for NASA. One of the few pro-freedom policy accomplishments of President Obama and Congress is the decline in funding for NASA and the reduction of barriers to private firms investing in space. [I can’t quickly find the links to articles backing up my claim in the previous sentence: I think it’s true. Regardless, Ms. Collins wants more and I want less.]
Other Worst Speech:
By Ivanka Trump.
Here was the worst part:
As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all.
In context, she seems to be saying that Trump would push for laws requiring paid leave for people taking care of children. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why she discussed labor laws. One could charitably interpret her point about making childcare affordable to refer to deregulation so that the real cost of child care falls. I think that’s unlikely. The more-likely interpretation: subsidies to child care.
And the second-worst part:
He [Trump] is the single most qualified [to]serve as chief executive of an $18 trillion economy.
Trump is not running to be CEO of the economy. Fortunately, there’s no such job. He’s running for President. If he wins, he will be head of the executive branch of the federal government, which is one of three. It’s understandable why Ivanka would make that mistake: Donald seems to also.
Donald Trump’s Speech
I watched the whole speech, but didn’t watch enough of the other speeches to rate this one third-worst overall. I have no idea, for example, what the guy from Duck Dynasty said. But it’s the third worst of the many ones I did watch. (Although Reince Priebus’s speech comes close.)
As many commentators have pointed out, Trump sketched a much more dismal view of life in America than is justified by the facts. Crime, which apparently has blipped up, is lower than it was even 10 years ago, and so much lower than it was 40 years ago. The fact is that the vast majority of us are incredibly safe.
Also, on foreign policy, which, in my view, is Trump’s relative strength, he said:
Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us absolutely nothing. It will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.
Actually, it gave “us” a few more years in which the Iranian government will not be able to develop nuclear weapons. Given the fear many had before the deal that the Iranian government could have nuclear weapons within a year or two, this was a “huuuuuge” benefit. Of course, it also gave us another trading partner, although, in Trump’s view, if that causes us to actually buy things from Iranians, that’s bad. Even he would have to admit, though, that the deal was good for Boeing exports.
When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.
This could signal an attempt by Trump to federalize responsibility for law and order that, under the Constitution, rests largely with state and local governments and with private people.
As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me. And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.
I don’t think he should do much because most of those issues, as noted above, are not federal responsibilities. But I did like his stopping and noting how far Republicans have come in a short time to applaud someone’s pitch for protection of gays.
I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.
That’s a huge assault on economic freedom.
Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it very quickly.
This is good. One or two specifics would have been nice.
We will completely rebuild our depleted military.
Seriously? It’s arguably the best large-country military in the world.