I brave watching the GOP convention

I brave watching the GOP convention

Aug. 29, 2012

By John Seiler

I watched the Republican National Convention speeches yesterday evening the only way possible: by sipping bourbon. It was obvious the whole thing was scripted to project a TV image of the GOP as cuddly reformers.

I also got dizzy, and not from the bourbon. Behind the podium the GOP architects erected giant flat-screen TVs that projected swirling images, usually the red and blue parts of the American flag. It was like a psychedelic, tie-died light show from a 1960s rock concert, although with one disorienting color instead of many.

The first part showed that the GOP also includes minorities. Sensibly, they put up candidates with a good chance of winning: Mia Love, a black woman running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Utah and Ted Cruz, a Latino running for U.S. Senate from Texas, whom I’ve written about. Both had immigrant stories, Love’s family from Haiti and Cruz’ from Cuba. Both were pretty good, although I had to flip the TV channels to hear them because some of the broadcasts skipped these speeches. Media bias? Perhaps.

Ann Romney’s speech was supposed to “humanize” her husband, Mitt. Most pundits said she succeeded. It didn’t matter to me because, like Ann and Mitt, I’m from Michigan and grew up with his father, George — who eerily resembles his son — as governor in the 1960s. I’m still ticked off that George dissed the great Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican Convention in San Francisco.

Ann was supposed to close the “gender gap” her husband has with women supporting President Obama more than him. But why don’t the media also talk about the the other “gender gap,” the one where men support Romney more than Obama?

Gov. Chris Christie then gave a speech more about his own story than about Mitt, whom he got to only after the speech was half over. But Christie had a good story about political courage, challenging the government-worker unions, cutting spending and slashing taxes. He also joked about his weight earlier in the day. He may have gained some pounds from earlier.


The GOP platform also is finished, and runs to 54 pages, which is way too long. The U.S. Constitution is six pages. It starts out talking about “The American Dream.” Which reminds me of the late George Carlin’s quip that it’s a dream because, “You have to be asleep to believe it.”

The platform’s title is “We Believe in America,” which is similar to the Romney campaign slogan commanding “Believe in America,” also the title of his 150-page campaign book. Who said Republicans didn’t believe in recycling? But it reminds me of that old X-Files poster, “I Want to Believe.” Only the belief isn’t in flying saucers and little green men, but that Republicans can cut spending, end inflation and restore prosperity — instead of doing the opposite as they did the last time they ran the show under Bush and the Republican Congress.

Except behind the scenes donating cash, Californians were unseen in the presentation at the convention. What a change from the Nixon-Reagan era, when Californians ruled the roost. Maybe if the party stopped putting up candidates like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman for governor it might be taken more seriously.

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