Day two at the RNC convention in Cleveland and I just want to express my sincere and humble gratitude to all the great folks I’ve been able to meet, with whom I got to take picture. I was truly blessed to get the chance to speak with three folks I didn’t figure I’d meet: Roland Martin, Van Jones, and Donna Brazille — who actually busted a dance move on me to Earth, Wind, and Fire. Our conversations were pleasant and very respectful as we sought those points where we found common ground. I guess if there’s one thing that does garner regard with most folks, it’s a passion for one’s country, and the selfless service those of us who have deployed willingly give.
It was a REALLY busy day that ended up with nearly 20 various radio, internet, and TV interviews. It was vital to be on message and I will admit, the best interview was with Juan Williams for Fox News online — good dialogue and tough questions.
Also enjoyed chatting with a young fella named Alex from the Daily Caller that was online as well.
But I want to share with you my observations from Tuesday and ask you to put on your thinking caps and not become emotional reactionaries.
There are two things about a sports game that will cause you to lose: unforced errors and missed opportunities. Since we’re in baseball season, let me use that platform to better explain the point.
In the line score for baseball there are three measures of effectiveness — runs, hits, and errors. Errors are displayed as they count against a team — the specific player if you’re keeping a scorecard, and can lead to runs being scored by the other team. You always try to assess whether the errors committed by a team directly contribute to runs scored for the other — they don’t necessarily have to, but an excessive amount of errors can hurt your chances of winning.
The other measure of effectiveness isn’t part of the line score in baseball, but is a reported fact — runners left on base — in other words, missed opportunities to score. Consider this: when you get your first two batters on base, perhaps they even steal bases and move into scoring position. You have no outs, but the next few batters all end up being put out and not being able to move the runners you have on bases across home plate for runs — those are missed opportunities. And normally, the team that leaves the most runners “stranded” on base, may find it difficult to win. The objective is simple in baseball, get a runner onto base, move them into scoring position — on second base — then get then home, for an earned run. Or, if you’re lucky, the other team commits an unforced error, and you can capitalize on that opportunity.
Let’s have an honest conversation about unforced errors — such as was the case for the Trump campaign on Tuesday. This is a teachable moment, because strategy is important.
We went to bed hearing how great Melania Trump’s speech was and awoke to a startling accusation of plagiarism. And so yesterday, on several occasions, the first question asked of me during the media interviews was, “Col. West, give us your take on the Melania Trump speech plagiarism issue.” My response was simple — “I don’t give a damn about Melania Trump’s speech.”
It was an unforced error by the Trump campaign and gave the liberal progressive media the opportunity to move their runners into scoring position.
It’s funny, if you were watching any left-leaning media outlet on Tuesday, you would have thought the world revolved around Melania Trump and her speech. If you were watching a conservative outlet it was about more substantive issues. In my case, I took the opportunity to shift the conversation back to the theme of the first evening — “Make America Safe Again” — and discuss the countless ways in which the Obama administration has adversely affected our national security — and Hillary Clinton will do no better.
Monday night, the GOP convention had everyday Americans talking about being in combat, service above self, losing loved ones to the failures of this administration abroad and at home. The entire media world, here for the RNC convention saw the faces of Marcus Luttrell, Mark Geist, John Tiegen, Pat Smith, and the family members who had lost their loved ones to illegal immigrants. It was a powerful message, and without a doubt, with the riveting speech of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Trump campaign had moved its runners into scoring position on the first night — but they left them stranded as an error failed to enable them to score, and that means dominating the narrative the following day.
And so it was on Tuesday night, when the theme was “Make America Work Again,” an incredible missed opportunity occurred. Again, you have the complete media attention of the world, right here in Quicken Arena in Cleveland. You know the abysmal record of the Obama administration when it comes to economic growth and stifling taxes and regulations restricting the full potential of the American economic recovery. The lineup for this evening should have been a plethora of everyday American small business owners, especially minority business owners. There would be CEOs who would explain “corporate inversions” and why the fiscal policies of the Obama administration have forced corporations and businesses to relocate off our shores, hurting job growth by way of production and manufacturing. I would have expected small community bankers who would talk about why they’re being forced to close down, and therefore, the residual loss of capital lending for the economic engine of America — small businesses.
I just knew that there would be some teachers and perhaps successful charter school principals, like Success Academy in New York City, who would discuss how they’re improving education techniques and focusing on STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — to better prepare the next generation of the American workforce. And I just knew there would be some unemployed workers from the American energy sector who could attest how this current administration has indeed bankrupted their industry, affecting their ability to work and provide for their families.
Nope…instead, we had a major missed opportunity and sure, Chris Christie gave a profound prosecution of Hillary Clinton — but, what did that have to do with Tuesday evening’s theme of “Make America Work Again?” Who will remember New York businessman Andy Wist? And Ms. Kerry Woolard is the General Manager of the Trump Winery. We had another cameo appearance by Donald Trump, two of the Trump kids spoke, and a litany of elected officials — but where were the faces of Americans who seek to make America work again but are having their dreams and aspiration thwarted by the onerous tax and regulatory environment of the Obama boot…which will be carried forth by Hillary Clinton?
For me, Tuesday evening was a huge missed opportunity. It doesn’t mean the game is over, but you cannot end up with a large number of “stranded” runners left on base that you never got across home plate.
This is a game of strategy and every move must be well thought out and calculated. Sadly, the conversation on late night news assessments and Wednesday morning will not be about “Making America Work Again,” the prescribed theme. The evening will not be remembered save for the individual performances of a few. The first evening was to be about our national security, the second about our economic security and revitalization — ask yourself, if the message is lasting and effective, memorable.
It’s not too late, nowhere near close, but the important aspect of the RNC convention is that you should have placed the new American Socialist Party in a defensive position going into their convention next week in Philadelphia. You must make them respond and place them in the situation where they may commit unforced errors because you scored runs. In the military we referred to this as getting inside your opponents OODA-Loop — OODA stands for observe, orient, direct, act and the loops refers to the decision cycle. If you can get the opposition to react, and never allow them freedom to act within their own OODA-Loop decision cycle, it’s because you have discipline, and aren’t committing unforced errors and missing opportunities.
We’re in the early innings of a very critical World Series matchup…in the end, America will either be crowned champion again, or will hang its head in shame and get a little plastic “participation trophy.” I prefer the former to the latter — which has been the story of the past 7-and-a-half years.