Saturday, September 1, 2012

Random Thought On The Republican Convention

- My biggest take-away from the convention was that the Republicans have completely slipped the moorings tethering them to the truth. They appear to have made the calculation (and they may be right) that truth simply no longer matters in American politics. You can just say what you want people to believe no matter how inaccurate it may be and then bluff your way through when you're called on it. They've even stated that as their official position when the Romney campaign promised it wouldn't be bound by fact-checkers. The very premise of their convention "You Did It!" was based on a quote by President Obama that was taken out of context and wasn't at all the intent of Obama's message. The Republicans know that and did it anyway.

- My second take-away was that many Republicans saw this convention more as an audition for 2016 than the coronation of a current candidate.

- Having said that, my Rising Star Award goes to Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico. She was funny and clever and likable and natural. A hat tip also to Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina.

- Most Discordant Argument - geez, but Republicans love the concept of having been poor, they just don't like people who are poor now. They hard-sold us on how their parents and grandparents worked nine jobs and took twelve buses to get to school and/or work, all while raising seven kids with no food in the cupboard and only 15 cents in their pocket at any given time. It all highlights how anyone can be a success in this man's America. If you are willing to work hard and sacrifice, your kids and grandkids too can be speakers at the Republican convention. And if that doesn't happen, it simply proves that you are a lazy, worthless bum who'd rather collect food stamps than lift a finger to improve your lot in life. Even Mr. Mega-millions himself, Mitt Romney, told us how his father went from hanging dry wall to being the president of an auto company all in the space of a single sentence...so there, let that be a lesson to you, Deadbeats!

- Yes, I said "this man's America because while women themselves were highlighted, Republican policies that would affect women were downplayed. The abortion references were all couched in gauzy, inspiring statements about how Republicans revere "life". There were no hardline promises, at least none I heard, about Personhood Amendments and transvaginal ultrasounds and defunding Planned Parenthood and criminalizing doctors who perform abortions and "legitimate rape" and forcing girls who are impregnated by their fathers to have their babies. You have to go to the Republican platform (which was also played down with a wink and a nod) to see what they really believe about all those issues.

- The Republicans featured a large and ever-growing debt clock but they all appeared to have been struck with collective amnesia. Their world began on January 20, 2009 when Obama took the oath of office. And what a dark and ugly world it was too. Deficits from here to hell and gone. High unemployment, a housing crisis, a plunging stock market. It is amazing to think how easy it was for a lone alien Black man to undermine America with the obvious intention of totally destroying it. Oh, the Republicans in Congress fought against his super-powers as hard as they could (sigh....my heroes). They obstructed him at every turn but it was all for naught. He was just too smart and strong for them. In spite of their efforts, he pushed through Obamacare and Equal Pay for Equal Work and saved the auto industry and exported more illegals than his predecessor and presided over more oil drilling and went from monthly job loss to two years of job creation and a stock market that went from 8,000 to 13,000+. Oh, and got bin Laden and most of Al Qaida as well. It has truly been a terrible thing to watch, hasn't it?

- John McCain told us how we need war, more war! And so did Condi Rice. Neither of them have ever met a war they didn't like or a defense expenditure they didn't support. (Well, obviously, we all know that wars don't contribute to the deficit.)

- Paul Ryan explained with his sincerest Eagle Scout smile that a society can be judged by how it treats its weakest and neediest. Seriously? When Paul Ryan's budget will decimate programs for these exact people?

- Ryan also treated us to a touching scene in which he called his mother his role model as she looked on with proud tears in her eyes. His mother was widowed at 51 but salt-of-the-earth American that she was, she rode the bus 40 miles to Madison to attend college, got her degree, then opened a small business, all while raising Paul and his siblings. Heck, yeah, that is an inspiring story and Mrs. Ryan deserves a lot of credit. But it all seemed glossed over a bit. He forgot to mention that the bus she rode was most likely government-subsidized and so was the highway it traveled on and so was the university she attended. Paul's father was an attorney and I believe the family was comparatively affluent so maybe Mother Ryan didn't need Pell grants or a Small Business loan but most widows in her circumstances probably would, so all this maybe wasn't quite as on her own as her son would have you believe.

- Ryan excoriated Obama for our national debt all though he voted the party line on every single budget-busting bill George Bush proposed. He trashed Obama for his wastful stimulus spending although he begged for some of those funds for Wisconsin because he said they would "create jobs". He burned Obama for walking away from his deficit reduction committee's recommendations although Ryan was on that committee and helped kill it. Ryan attacked Obama for a G.M. plant closing in Janesville although the plant was shut down before Obama took office. Ryan dissed Obama for not getting a Jobs bill passed although all the Republicans voted against it. Honestly, I kept expecting Ryan's nose to grow and grow throughout his speech until he toppled head first onto the podium from the sheer weight of it. Even Fox News called it deceitful so you know it had to be bad.....

- Chris Christy's speech was a celebration of.....Chris Christy.

- Ann Romney is an attractive and personable woman. I believe her when she tells us how much she loves Mitt and her family. I believe her when she says raising 5 little boys can be nerve-wracking. I believe her when she says having M.S. and breast cancer are terrifying life events. I just think all these situations are easier with millions of dollars in the bank. For me, what makes a person rich isn't the money itself, it is the lack of worry it allows. Yes, Ann may have lived in a basement apartment and eaten pasta but she never worried that they couldn't afford to pay the rent or buy the pasta or repair the car or that she and Mitt might have to drop out of school to get a job simply to survive. She could always afford babysitters to get away when her kids stressed her out. She knew she'd have the finest medical care for as long as it took to treat her medical conditions. Can she relate to women who have faced all those same issues without her tremendous advantages in any kind of gut level way? And does she realize that when a friend of Mitt's father offered to sponsor him in a business and guaranteed "I won't let you fail" that not many are offered that kind of deal and diminishes a little the whole "he did it on his own" proclamation?

- Jeb Bush came across as the most commonsense adult at the convention.

- The personal video that all presidential candidates now show at their conventions was terrific. It made Mitt Romney seem kinder and more generous-hearted and more real than anything else I've seen about him. Too bad the campaign didn't put it on in prime time. Instead they had.....

- Clint Eastwood. At first I thought, three nights of watching Republicans had simply pitched me over the mental edge into bizarro-land. Could Clint's doddering, rambling performance whereby he communed with a chair that supposedly contained an invisible Barack Obama truly be as weird as it seemed to be? (This make-believe Obama, incidentally, told Eastwood to tell Romney to "fuck himself", which Clint explained to him was physically impossible). But, yes, it turned out that it could be that weird and many other people thought so including Republicans. (Although not Facebook Republicans who could drink Republican-offered ammonia and pronounce it delicious.

- Marco Rubio - More pedestal-building for past relatives who crawled out of the muck of poverty to produce their family masterpiece, Marco himself.

- And finally, Mitt. His speech was good, not great, but good. He made no obvious mistakes. He came across as less robotic than he sometimes does.

- Final thought. A friend of mine who is probably one of the few persuadables left in the electorate pronounced herself comfortable voting for Romney after watching the convention, which I would call ...... Mission Accomplished.