I live in the Tampa Bay area, and in the run up to the RNC, I thought I’d engage in a little citizen journalism. Or at least wander around the circus and capture shots of crazy people with my camera phone for y’alls’ amusement.
But when the convention actually started, I couldn’t summon the will to leave home, fight the traffic and elbow my way through damp crowds of Republican assholes when I could be home instead watching the circus unfold in air-conditioned comfort with iced cocktails. Until last night, when I finally dragged my ass down there.
When I heard that Clint Eastwood was going to be the “Mystery Speaker” at the RNC tonight (and not Hologram Reagan!) I was prepared to be disappointed. After all, Eastwood is a Republican, but he never struck me as being that guy. You know, the kind of guy who would fit in with all the lying and dog-whistling nonsense we’ve been getting from this convention, let alone this campaign. But from the moment he gave a shout-out to Jon Voight, one couldn’t help but suspect it was going to go downhill—and it sure did.
If the Romney folks weren’t just the least bit nervous when an empty chair was put on the stage, it looks like they became that way after about a minute:
On a night where virtually every moment was scripted, Eastwood was among the only speakers not reading from a teleprompter as he spoke.
Maybe they should have been just a little concerned a little bit sooner, hm?
It’s not that the RNC audience seemed particularly put off—he got some good applause lines at President Obama and Vice-President Biden’s expense, however unseemly they were—but as a home viewer, he seemed to be stuttering and awkward, mean-spirited and not especially winning. As he talked….to an empty chair. A Fauxbama, if you will. Arguably, despite being bizarre as all hell, this was where Eastwood really uncorked the id of the entire convention and really let a make-believe president have a stern, fatherly, old man to younger man talking to—you know, the kind he wouldn’t give to his face.
It’s tempting to blame this on age—but chalking this up to senility actually just makes everything sadder and ageist and I think is just really wrong. It seems this shambles has more to do with needing a bigfoot celebrity to range across the stage and shout out a nice catch phrase (did anyone else wince their dimples off when he got the crowd to say “Make my day”? Feh.) Because otherwise, they really just had some really boring speakers, Marco Rubio (who wasn’t horrible, in comparison, I guess) and then Mitt Romney himself—who I do believe did break Paul Ryan’s land-speed lying record. With any luck, many great run-downs of the many,many Romney lies will take their place alongside the staggering Ryan ones on the morrow.—If!
Only if anyone can talk about anything but Eastwood and the chair. Because I know my fellow citizens. Gaspers like accusing Obama of sending jobs to China and the gobsmacking Reagan-echoing of “Are you better off?” (four years ago, the stock market fucking took sick and nearly died, Mitt, taking gas prices down with it—WTF?) and of course, the ever-present “apologizing” fib, will probably not get properly challenged except in the blogosphere if there is some celebrity drama to be discussed.
(Yes, I know I led off with Eastwood. But you know what I mean.)
You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad. They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them.”
Paul Ryan addressed the Republican National Convention, last night, and pledged that if he and his running mate, Mitt Romney, were elected, they would usher in an “ethic of responsibility.” Evidently, an “ethic of responsibility” does not include honesty because, as Fox News columnist Sally Kohn memorably put it:
“ . . . to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.
On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.
When you are a Republican candidate for high office, and Fox News allows an employee to rip into you like that, you know you’re in the major leagues of mendacity. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the particular “stock lies” that Ryan trotted out last night. His lying was so egregious that it has generated a bipartisan journo-fact-fest carpet-bombing of every media outlet in the country from network TV to Great-Aunt Sally’s boomer-blog. If you want gory details, they’re out there!
I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother.
I didn’t know Christie was a paisan, but I kinda sorta suspected that he was. This would explain his Phony Soprano Joisy tough guy schtick. Christie is just what our country needs right now, he’s America’s cafone. O Marone, che schifo!
They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. Our first family picture was on his graduation day, with Mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.
Mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three buses to get to work every day. And mom spent the time she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children – her two younger siblings. She was tough as nails and didn’t suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn’t afford to. She spoke the truth – bluntly, directly and without much varnish.
All eyes are on Florida recently as it hosts the quadrennial Republican National Convention. When many of us think of Florida we imagine DisneyWorld, South Beach celebs’ homes and romantic strolls on beautiful beaches with tropical cocktails in hand.
But, away from all of that glitz and glitter, Florida has big problems of the poverty sort. 1 in 6 residents are on food stamps, increasingly children. Florida’s problems are not something new, either, that can be chalked up to effects of a nationwide economic downturn. Poverty in the Sunshine State is long-standing and deep-rooted, with low rankings in nearly every indicator of child well-being, including teen pregnancy, low birth weight, high school dropout and child abuse rates.
Unfortunately, the Florida legislature is not all that interested in addressing any of those problems because . . . OBAMACARE!
Part of the Affordable Care Act is a group of programs called Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Programs which are designed to facilitate collaboration and partnership at the Federal, State and community levels to improve health and development outcomes for at-risk children. Florida with its miserable statistics for child well-being seemed a natural place for an initial start-up of the program. After a year of careful needs assessments, five local “Healthy Start” organizations were awarded funds beginning last September. The full grants were for a five year program.
The most vulnerable families were registered, professional nurses, social workers, and teachers were hired, and by January 1 the programs were up and running: Pinellas County’s Healthy Start set out to help 100 families with children exposed to substance abuse; Putnam, Bradford, and Alachua focused on school readiness and parenting skills; Duval deployed nurses to nurture healthy pregnancies and economic self-sufficiency; and Escambia expanded its Healthy Families program to prevent child abuse and neglect.
To be perfectly clear, MIECHV is an evidence-based, cost-effective program proven to improve the health and development of at-risk children: the federal government was gifting Florida $31.3 million in total grant funding for 5 years of targeted home visitations, no strings attached and no match required. For every dollar invested in a program like this, up to $5.70 is returned to society in the form of reduced government spending like food stamps. Nevertheless, the conservative Florida legislature rejected the following four years of funding, because the grant was provided under the Affordable Care Act.
The only reason legislators applied for and accepted the first year of funding was because they had to apply for it to apply for funding that was more desirable to them—a slice of the Department of Education’s $100 million Race to the Top competition for early childhood education. It’s pretty clear that the Florida Legislature expected that the Supreme Court would rule “ObamaCare” unconstitutional which meant they’d have the first year “gateway grant” and the following four years would be a non-issue.
Since we are not implementing the Affordable Care Act, we opted not to do that. If they bring it forward [again], we will reject it.
Hudson, the chairman of Florida’s Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, previously told the New York Times he supported Florida’s regular rejection of all things Obamacare: “I am not going to start implementing things that I don’t believe in.”
Rep. Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) told Highlands Today, in September, that such “government intrusion” causes communities and church groups to “lose our compassion.”
However . . . despite all of the bombastic rhetoric regarding “ObamaCare”, the Florida legislature has accepted a federal grant that restores funding for the State Abstinence Program. Appropriations authorized by the Affordable Care Act give the state $2.6 million per year from fiscal year 2010 through 2014.
So. Floridians—your tax dollars at work—no money for at-risk children living in poverty but plenty for crackpot, proven-to-fail contraceptive training guaranteed to balloon Florida’s statistics for at-risk children.
Depending on who you read and listen to, Mrs. Mitt either WOWED with a Republican Convention speech jam-packed full of LURV last night, or woodenly channeled Leona Helmsley with a hint of Sarah Palin to insist that LOOK INTO MY EYES DEEP INTO MY EYES YOU MUST LOVE THE MITTENS YOU MUST TRUST THE MITTENS THE MITTENS HAS BEEN GOOD FOR ME AND I’M A WOMAN SO THE MITTENS WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU MITTENS VOTE FOR MY WORSE HALF DAMN YOUR EYES.
The hint of Palin may just be down to residual trauma from ‘08, or the fact that the speech was penned by Lindsay Hayes,* who wrote Palin’s infamous hockey mom/pitbull debut, and is currently performing the same service for Mitt himself and Paul Ryan. In case the message failed to move the assembly, the organizers had thoughtfully prepared a stack of artfully scrawled posters those folks who managed to stay awake could waggle at appropriate moments.
Mrs. Mitt’s message of DEEP LURV—especially for that sector of you people known as teh wimmin—was somewhat undercut by Chris Christie’s insistence immediately after that, SCREW THAT HIPPIE LURV CRAP GIVE US SOME RESPECT DAMMIT HARD TRUTHS TIGHTEN BELTS WARRGARBLE ME 2016!!!!!
Leaving aside the outbreak of civil war with the Paulmas and various other factions in the GOP (which we’ll no doubt return to in the fulness of time), other messages that were undercut included inclusivity. Memeorandum is a-drip with crotchety bewailing at the moment, the chorus led by The Daily Caller:
One of the left’s favorite attacks on the Republican Party is that it is the party of old white people, devoid of diversity and probably racist.
If you were watching MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday night, you might believe those assertions, since missing from the coverage was nearly every ethnic minority that spoke during Tuesday’s festivities.
Hi, everybody! It’s the Big Bad Bald Bastard here. I received an e-mail from the moderators and was invited to join the Rumproast team. It’s a simultaneously humbling and exhilarating prospect… exhilarating because it’s a real vote of confidence in my abilities as a writer, and humbling because the invitation has come in the middle of a period in which the regulars have been on fire, deconstructing the idiocy of Todd Akin, and placing it in a historical and legislative context. How’s a guy supposed to jump in with a hidely hodely post when one’s compatriots are sticking it to the knuckle-dragging Patriarchal Dominance Structure?
I guess a short autobiographical note is in order now… I first decided to play “The Bastard” back in 2006, I chose the ‘nym to poke fun at both machismo (a sure hallmark of masculine insecurity) and the typical New York “take no B.S.” attitude. In reality, I tend to be a bookish egghead (albeit one who loves to fight) and a card carrying nerd. I live in the City of Yonkers, which lies directly north of The Bronx. The “City of Hills, Where Nothing is on the Level” would be a considered a fairly large sized city in most locations, but, being adjacent to NYC, it’s merely a suburb. For the record, I live in the tavern district.
I get the feeling that Mitt Romney really has unified the GOP, because the whole organizing theme of the evening was summed up pretty well earlier today by a Romney campaign pollster: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
Part of that stirring ethos was evident in the more overt theme of “We did build that”, which, of course, is basically just a take-off on an out-of-context interpretation of something President Obama said in a one sentence, in one speech. But just because it’s kind of cheesy and fake doesn’t mean they didn’t take off with it, most amusingly in the case of one Phil Archulleta, beneficiary of many decades worth of government contracts, whose main complaint was government just didn’t build it enough. But of course, the very deceitful welfare claims that those meddling fact-checkers are hassling poor Mitt Romney’s campaign about, were also treated like a sort of article of faith tonight and were repeated by Rick Santorum (who also said some stuff about holding hands that kind of lost me) and Artur Davis. Ann Romney tried to convince us that Mitt knew about struggling—that didn’t seem too convincing. And NJ Governor Chris Christie, about 2/3 of the way through his speech, actually thought he might work in that Jan-Eric Republican guy running this year (you know, until someone willing to tell hard truths runs in 2016, hint, hint), but I kind of wondered how much he was feeling that part.
Anyway, that was my impression of things—what’s everyone else think?
Whether by accident or divine intervention Fox & Friends, on Monday, used one of the world’s most popular gay anthems as they introduced Mitt Romney’s five sons.
The song “It’s Raining Men” was written in 1979 by David Letterman’s maestro Paul Schaffer and gay songwriter Paul Jabara, who died of complications from AIDS in 1992. It was recorded by one-hit-wonder The Weather Girls.
The LGBT community adopted the song as a gay anthem, catapulting it to the number one song in 1982 and then again in 2001, when it was covered by British pop singer-songwriter Geri Halliwell.
I, personally, have probably heard the song upwards of 5,000 times in gay bars and discos across this great nation. It would have been fun to see the Romney Boys jump up and “shake their little money-makers” a bit, while the lead-in played, but I guess the “apples don’t fall far from the very straight and rigid tree.” (It looks like the whole gang shares one personal shopper, too).
For those of you who are longing to get in touch with your “inner homosexual,” have at it with the long, FABULOUS studio version.
Mitt Romney’s aim for the Republican Convention may be unification but, thanks to Team Romney over-reach, that may be a tall order. A convention floor fight is brewing, for Tuesday, and, given the storm delay, party minority forces—which include supporters of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, as well as some top state party officials who back Romney—have an extra day to strategize and mount an attack on changes to the Party rules regarding delegates to the national convention.
Convention floor fights are rare and can be noisy and distracting—and the last thing Mitt Romney needs right now.
The trouble started on Friday when Ben Ginsberg, Team Romney’s top lawyer, took control of the powerful Convention Rules Committee and forced through changes “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.”
Ginsberg had spent six hours successfully putting through his amendments, but when he proposed raising the threshold required for minority reports from 25% of a committee to 40%, the members rebelled.
He is systematically trying to prevent minorities from having even any remote opportunity of being heard,” longtime GOP operative Morton Blackwell objected. “This is wrong, it’s gonna hurt us, it’s gonna hurt our presidential candidate.”
That particular amendment was withdrawn, to cheers from the committee, but the others stood. According to a source who described the meeting to Business Insider, “the saga ended with former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, the committee chair, hightailing it out of the building before committee members could submit dissenting minority opinions, or ‘minority reports.
Ginsberg is, and has been for some time, the Republican Party’s all-round “go-to” guy in legal matters. He is a partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs, one of the premier DC lobbying firms and is a specialist in elections and campaign finance law.
(Photo above Library of Congress, mass grave of Lakota victims the Massacre at Wounded Knee, SD, 1891)
It seems as if the GOP has a big problem, lately, with party operatives blurting out their unedited, pent up feelings, (which are disproportionally ugly, uncivil feelings) not conducive to keeping their hidden agendae hidden.
In fallout from one such event, Progress Now New Mexico has called on Republican National Committee leader, Patrick J. Rogers, to resign after an email came to light in which Rogers told staff members of New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez that meeting with a group of American Indians (a meeting required by law) “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Yes, you heard that right—Gen. Custer of “Custer’s Last Stand” fame.
Quislings, French surrender monkeys, secret supporters (all along) of JAJ.
The state is going to hell. Col [Allen] Weh [Gov. Martinez’ 2010 gubernatorial opponent] would not have dishonored Col. Custer in this manner.
I hope who ever recommended this is required to read the entire redist[ricting] transcript and sit through the entire meeting with the governor.
I know, I know, this requires some translation (Rogers is a lawyer, after all).
“Quisling” for the uninitiated, is a term used in reference to Nazi collaborators in Axis-occupied countries during World War II. (I wonder who the Nazis are, in Rogers’ mind).
“French surrender monkeys,” sometimes substituted for “cheese-eating surrender monkeys,” is a derogatory description of French people which originated on an episode of the Simpsons TV series, in 1995, and became a popular slur in the lead-up to the Iraq War, since France was opposed to military intervention in Iraq. (I guess it’s safe to assume that Rogers deems it a cowardly act to meet with and cooperate with Native Americans).
“Secret supporters (all along) of JAJ”—local color—Janice Arnold-Jones was a four-term Republican representative in the New Mexico House, who, frustrated by backroom deals, brought a webcam to the NM Legislature, and was dubbed “Lady Sunlight” by the newspapers. The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOM) awarded her the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award. New Mexico’s only conservative think tank, the Rio Grande Foundation, awarded her the Liberty Award. (Mr Rogers harbors a grudge, evidently, against people who don’t like backroom deals).
Our Mr Rogers happened to be on that very same NMFOG board of directors but resigned after his role in a separate e-mail scandal was investigated. He had been criticized for using personal e-mail accounts to contact state government officials attempting to influence their decision-making—a practice that carries questions under state law.
OK. So, this Rogers guy is currently a big fish, in a New Mexico pond, who is aspiring to greater things. Right now, Mr. Rogers is in Tampa, FL, for the upcoming Republican National Convention, he is a GOP lobbyist and a recently appointed member of the RNC Executive Committee so this “Custer kerfuffle” is particularly inconvenient. See, not everyone in New Mexico (or anywhere else, for that matter) is a Custer fan.
George Armstrong Custer may be regarded as a kind of military hero by Pat Rogers, but to the Native peoples of America Custer represents the bellicose imperialism that was responsible for the systematic slaughter of American Indians throughout this continent.
Such a blatantly racist statement against our Native people is offensive from anyone, but to come from a national GOP leader and lobbyist for some of our country’s largest corporations is indefensible.
When we look up there, we know the gray drear lunar surface still wears his imprint, as real as the imprint on our imaginations.* Some of us may be too young to remember watching the flickering image of a bubble-headed figure clumsily descending a flimsy ladder like a toddler in a snowsuit, that day in July. But Neil Armstrong‘s slightly bouncy passage through moondust is iconic as no action by an Earthling ever was, or will be, ever again.
So, as Bette notes, the 2012 GOP Convention looms large on the horizon, and I’m sure we’re all agog at the prospect of the week ahead.
We already know the draft platform that’ll be *ahem* revealed at the Convention and that Mitt’ll sign off on because, with typical efficiency, GOP staffers hit “Publish” on an online draft and preempted the heck out of themselves.
We also know the themes of each of the four days:
Planned Convention Schedule
Monday—“We Can Do Better”
Tuesday—“We Built It”
Wednesday—“We Can Change It”
Thursday—“We Believe in America”
Though this, of course, has been subject to last-minute revision following Gov. Rick Scott’s declaration of a State of Emergency, including distribution of sandbags to some of those in the Tampa area, given that Tropical Storm Isaac’s currently bearing down on early-arriving delegates:
Revised Convention Schedule (Outdoors On Roof If Wet)
Monday—“Onward To 2008, Because That Worked Out So Well”
Tuesday—“Let Somebody Else Pick Up The Pieces As Usual”
Wednesday—“We Screwed Everything Up Before, And By Golly, We’ll Do It Again If They Let Us”
Thursday—“We’ll Say Anything”
We also know that Mittens, egged on by Peggy Noonan, is at last exploring his legendary unzipped wisecracky fun side, so there’ll be human touches this year on top of the usual Baboon Choruses of OO-ESS-AY, ritual slutshaming, forced repatriation of any undocumented convention center staff, and all the other palaver.
Mitt and Ann have been busy trialing the all-new GOP Jumbo Salute:
And continuing the elephantine theme, there’ll be some very fetching merchandise for sale:
But, behind the motley masque, what of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that you may remember I was looking forward to so much as early as May and June. How goes it with the Paulmas?