Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The Republican convention was a circus complete with clowns, legerdemain, acrobatic flip-flops, high wire lies, disappearing acts and elephant excrement requiring a nuclear-powered shovel to clean it up. All the puppeteers in Tampa couldn’t breathe life into wooden Mitt even as he talked out of both sides of his mouth.
Paul Ryan spoke on behalf of Ayn Rand whose simplistic catechism of Greed is Good, now translates into painting non-believers with a brush as wide as mother Russia. And if your opponent doesn’t fit your doctrinaire portrait, just fabricate his birth, his narrative, his position to make it fit. The Republicans are not running against President Obama; they are running against an imagined creation of their fevered minds. It is as if they have photo-shopped his programs and mastered the technique of assigning their own blunders onto him.
A new ad accuses Obama of changing Medicare. They must believe the American people are morons and they may be right about that. Welcome to Wonderland written by Mad Hatters at a tea party. Was that Mitt overheard saying, I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see... Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Carl Rove seems to have scripted Mitt as the Mock Turtle believing in education as he knows it with Reeling and Writhing, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.
Don’t wait for certain words to be aired at political conventions; not in Tampa, not in Charlotte. Geo-politics is mostly off the table. Even if China and India will be the new super powers in the world by 2050, their names are not likely to be heard. I doubt if the European debt crisis will be mentioned. Nor will anyone mention Africa, which boasts 6 of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world in 2012 according to the I.M.F. Nor will there be any discussion of our irrational drug war which has drained a trillion dollars from the budget over the last forty years at the same time that our prison population has swelled from 300,000 to 7.2 million under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail or prison).
Tonight the Democrats have their turn. I expect some of the orations to also be full of tired phrases I’ve already heard on the stump. Speechifying is my least favorite way of receiving information. Too many words falling limp, too much rhetoric designed to incite the herd. Yet I’ve now heard two speeches this afternoon before writing this and they have both been substantive. My only wish is that they may get a bounce in the polls by waking up some of the undecided. At least they will get real and I won’t be carried away by a Jaberwocky.
It is now Thursday morning. Last night Bill Clinton showed how it’s done. With Arkansas folksiness and Rhodes scholar smarts he made the case. Clinton is equal parts preacher, professor and purveyor. If he knocked on my door I’d probably buy his set of Fuller brushes or encyclopedias, maybe even the Brooklyn Bridge. He has a way of seeming to speak to each person in a packed hall and making complex issues within the grasp of a simple phrase. Obama has a tough act to follow.
And now it is Thursday night and Obama met the challenge, seized the narrative and reminded America who is responsible for change in a democracy………us. His words were directed at the cynics and the constituency he may have lost from 20008. He delivered a brilliant speech, referencing Lincoln’s humility and asserting his role as commander-in-chief with all the burdens and leadership that office entails.