I almost don't want to write about the just concluding Republican National Convention because the photo above summarizes it perfectly. Clint Eastwood's rambling 12-minute schtick will likely be the most memorable image of the 2012 RNC. In fact, when Saturday Night Live has its opening show for the new season, chances are pretty high that they will spoof this moment in the first skit before the "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" introduction.
There was not much to like about the convention. As expected, there were few minorities on the delegate floor. In fact, on the opening night, I mentioned on Facebook that I would have one alcoholic drink for every African American delegate that I saw. I saw one African American lady in a fancy dress. So, that was one mojito for me at my Wednesday discussion group. Ann Romney came across as a typical Mormon wife. Pure "Stepford Wife". She claimed that Mitt Romney's sense of humour won her over when they were just getting to know each other. Really? He's about as humourless as any zealot. As far as speeches go, I actually liked Condoleezza Rice's speech. In fact, it wasn't long until I heard people talking about her running for president in 2016. She's actually someone I could support for the first female president, but hopefully the Democrats will have a few options in 2016.
Paul Ryan's speech was full of lies, the biggest one being that he claimed that President Obama had closed a factory in his town and Congressional District. The problem with that is facts are stubborn things. Fact checkers pointed out that it was actually President Bush's policies that caused the factory to close and there are photos of the factory's employees holding a sign with a date of December 2008. You have to wonder about a political party that is okay with such blatant lies that can easily be refuted by documented facts and photographs. It's like Republicans aren't interested in hiding their deceit anymore. That's what a culture of Fox News will do: make blatant lying so acceptable in public discourse that no one ever faces the consequences of their lies. It should be the case that once caught in a blatant lie, the person's credibility is tarnished and no one pays any attention to them. But surprisingly, even Fox News called out Paul Ryan on the lies he told in his nomination speech.
One of the most telling aspects of the RNC is that Bush's name is rarely mentioned. In fact, I only heard it once when Condoleezza Rice mentioned it. There were plenty of speakers saying that Obama needs to stop blaming Bush for the economy, but not a single word taking responsibility for what happened to America in the Bush years. Yeah, they can ask him not to come and not mention his name in hopes of tricking Americans into believing once again that this party really cares about anyone who isn't wealthy, white, and male.
Interestingly, there were no speeches by Sarah Palin (she even lost her contract with Fox this week), Michele Bachmann, or Herman Cain. It's like Romney hoped that by keeping the crazies out, that Americans won't be reminded of what we all witnessed in the spring during the debates. Jeb Bush actually spoke and defended his brother. As The Daily Show cleverly pointed out in their coverage of this convention, this convention is "The Road to Jeb Bush 2016". If anyone should know the truth about Dubya, it's Jeb. They are brothers and Jeb has seen Dubya make a mess of his life over and over again, including the bankrupting of at least two companies that Dubya was CEO of (Arbusto and Harken Energy). Dubya was never held accountable and from a spiritual standpoint, you keep repeating the lesson until you "get it." Unfortunately for the country and the world, Dubya was allowed to repeat his incompetent management style with our government and did exactly the same thing that he did to those energy companies. Jeb has long dreamed of being president, but seeing his speech made me confident that he will likely never be president. He lacks the charisma and the telegenic looks that our media-saturated 24-hour news requires.
Then there's Clint Eastwood, who had angered conservatives earlier this year when a commercial he starred in ran during the Superbowl in which he praised the comeback of the auto industry, which many thought was an endorsement of President Obama. He seemed neutral, as when questioned about it, he said that any politician could run with the ad if they wanted to. He didn't care.
There were rumours that Donald Trump was going to be the mystery guest speaker and that he was going to do the "You're fired!" routine (with his trademark Cobra strike gesture as he says it). I bet it was poll tested, though, and the Republicans thought it was too risky. They are trying to win over the independent voters with this political pep rally, after all. Clint Eastwood is popular. Even I like him. I grew up on some of his movies and I especially love the ones has directed recently (such as Invictus, Hereafter, and 1997's Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil). In the mid-1980s, he was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-sea, California. At this convention, though, he made no mention of his "socially liberal" views. Instead, he spoke to a chair (representing President Obama) in an unscripted, rambling mess. He said a few times, "No, I'm not going to tell Mitt Romney that. You can't even do that to yourself. I can't do that to myself." There were some laughter among the delegates, but not much. I wondered if they were just as horrified as those watching it on TV. Its obvious that he was implying that President Obama was saying "Go fuck yourself", which comes across as disrespectful. If any president is likely to say something like that, it would've been Richard Nixon (who had an enemies list and called Henry Kissinger his "Jew boy").
The routine was an embarrassing moment for Clint. I bet this will be made fun of at the Oscars next year. It really is that embarrassing, and irresistible. However, I hope the Democrats don't try a similar stunt at the DNC next week. We need to take the higher ground. A mystery guest speaker is scheduled and I'm hoping that it will be George Clooney, but in light of Eastwood's disaster, Morgan Freeman would make an excellent choice. Freeman and Eastwood are friends, so it would be an excellent display of contrast if Freeman showed the country how to give a dignified speech.
Senator Marco Rubio came after Eastwood and served to introduce Mitt Romney for the highlight of the convention. I was very interested in his speech because I wanted to know if he would mention his church by name. In fact, on Facebook, I said that if Romney testifies that the LDS Church is true during his speech, that I would get a tattoo! I felt safe saying that (I don't want a tattoo) and I was right. He only mentioned "Mormon" once and it was in the context of playing with friends of other churches and how they focused on what they had in common, such as sports. Lame!
Romney looked awful during his speech. The make up was obvious and to me, he looked like a talking corpse. Who did his makeup, the mortician? There was little energy emanating from him and the crowd even looked bored. His voice made strange inflections that I was used to at BYU, because it means that people are trying to convey a sense of reverence in speaking that way. There were moments when he paused and just looked strange (like he was not happy to be there). Most of all, though, he lied in his speech. He claimed that America came together after the last election and rallied around the president and tried to help him succeed. Romney even stated that he wanted the president to succeed. Uh, what planet was he on the past four years? Did he not see those teabagger rallies with the racist signs that popped up near Tax Day 2009 and continued through the summer with the anti-health care rants? The last president that Americans actually rallied around after an election was George Herbert Walker Bush on January 20, 1989. America has been politically divisive since 1992.
What a wasted week. No truth, no specifics, no taking responsibility for what their last president did to the country. All they have to offer America is a man no one except 4% of Americans want (I came to that number by adding the 1% who hold the majority of the country's wealth, plus the approximately 3% of the population who are Mormons, even though it might just be 85-90% of Mormons that will vote for him). He has no ideas, no compelling reason to be president, no charisma, no integrity. And his delivery of the most important speech of his life reminded me of this scene from Police Academy. At least that shit was funny! If Romney becomes president, though, we won't be laughing.