You might need an asterisk for this one. An asterisk to put next to the wording of the giant sign positioned just behind the speaker’s podium at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. Printed on the sign was, “We believe in America.” The phrase was festooned with a blue star and a double line of red stripes. Maybe a disclaimer would have been better. “We believe in America as long as gays, blacks, immigrants, people who support voting rights for all, food-stampers, public workers, union members, the unemployed, those crazy climate scientists, ‘tree-huggers’, Peaceniks, really sick people, sissies who don’t own guns, Democrats, Islam and other non-Christian faiths, believers in evolution and especially women, aren’t included.
Otherwise, “We believe in America.”
My main takeaway from the last night of the GOP convention was a sad one. The troubling spectacle of Clint Eastwood, the ‘surprise guest’ and one of our great cinema action heroes, talking to an empty chair, supposedly occupied by an imaginary President Obama. Eastwood had the invisible Obama uttering “Go ef yourself” a couple of times. Truth be told, Clint made a fool of himself.
I don’t even say that critically. I say that from the standpoint of party officials not properly vetting the aging actor and realizing that the task of standing up and improvising a speech (I didn’t sense there was a prompter) before thousands in the Tampa Convention Center and a prime-time TV audience in the multiple millions, was just simply beyond his current capabilities.
Before that performance we were treated to a different kind of spectacle; Newt and Callista Gingrich alternately telepromptering their way through a tribute to Ronald Reagan. Remember how Republicans profess to hate Obama’s use of this same device? It was a mercifully short appearance highlighted by Newt’s usual hyperbole when he named Ronald Reagan as one of America’s 3 greatest Presidents. Moving on…
Romney son, Craig, mounted the stage to assure Mitt’s highly limited Hispanic voting base that pop’s mom and pop actually came to America from Mexico. Spoiler alert! ABC News dug into the background of the story of George Romney and his Mexican roots. Seems Great-grandpa Miles had an eye for the ladies, handily accommodated by polygamy. Unfortunately for Miles, his 4 wives and 30 (count ’em, 30) offspring, America passed some anti-polygamy laws and if Miles wanted to continue to bed a bevy of babes, he’d have to go to a sympathetic Mexican village to do it. A couple of generations later, the Romney’s returned to the U.S.
Isn’t it fascinating that whenever you barely scrape the surface of any Romney tale, it’s never what it seems. Craig was a late addition to a long line of 9 native speakers designed to make Mitt’s “let’s deport the lot of them” more palatable to the Latino and Hispanic populations. Maybe Romney could dip into his running-mate’s hometown of Janesville and its 2.6 percentile of our Hispanic brothers and sisters for support. Did I mention the black population of just over 1%?
The convention paraded out a minority success story in the stage presence of a young black man, Frantz Placide, who had escaped his wretchedly failing public school thanks to the Jeb Bush school choice program and went on to graduate college. God forbid we should stop cutting funds to public schools and firing teachers and fix the public system. To Republicans it makes much more sense to hand our children over to privatized and publicly-financed for-profit student mills with virtually no oversight that do not have to meet the same criteria as public schools.
Jeb was the next speaker, opining as to how the Democrats should stop ‘blaming’ his brother for the state of the union. Little matter that G.W. the awesomely incompetent 43rd President (brother Jeb was, coincidentally, the 43rd Governor of Florida; doesn’t mean anything, just thought I’d lighten the load for a moment) is richly deserving of virtually all the blame for our current mess along with a recalcitrant and totally uncooperative Republican House.
Bush spoke in his usual bullshit educational platitudes. He runs something called the “Foundation for Excellence in Education.” If he were honest, he would call it the foundation for destroying public education and exploiting gullible taxpayers to give their public money to private for-profit “mills” as described above. I’ve already written at length about this hustler and nothing he said changed my mind about any of it.
Then came a goofy video about Mitt, so transparent that it would get a gentleman’s ‘D’ at any film school worth its name. Much time was given over to the Romney/Bain role in the success of a company called Steel Dynamics. And it is a going concern steeped in the latest technology, growing and undeniably successful. Unlike the video, Bain played a minimal to non-existent role in all the above. ThinkProgress puts Bain’s involvement in the practical context of truth. Bain plunked down $18.2 million back in ’94. Major funding was provided by 3 domestic banks, 3 foreign banks and a domestic insurance company. Germany, alone, injected $200 million.
There were $37 million in grants and subsidies from Indiana State and County GOVERNMENTS! Taxes were raised on residents because of the project but the county granted the company a $23.4 million dollar property tax abatement. A new income tax was generated for state taxpayers for economic development funds. The state lumped an additional $13.6 million onto the deal in additional credits and grants. The minimal Bain investment, while a wise move, earned them a small percentage of the profits and ZERO say in the control of the company. A German company did all the heavy lifting, providing the technology and calling the shots.
Bain sold it’s share in ’99 with a handsome profit on mostly OPM and has had nothing to do with Steel Dynamics since. Until the 2012 Presidential election that is.
That’s all your really need to know at this point about the convention, Romney, Ryan, the carefully culled-out speakers and the uninformed “applaud when the sign goes on” delegates.
The Democrats are next. It’s onward and definitely upward starting Monday, September 3rd. Don’t think anybody will be talking to empty chairs (or heads) in Charlotte.