Friday, August 31, 2012

RNC 2012 Day 4: The best they can do

Willard Mitt Romney gave his acceptance speech last night.  It was a fitting performance.  Romney appeared robotic and blasé.  Those portions of the speech where he feigned passion were particularly uncomfortable.  And, try though he might, I have to believe he did little to convince middle class Americans (let's say those who earn less than --oh, I don't know --a million dollars a year) that he has even the faintest inkling of what it is like to struggle financially in these hard times.

A couple choice excerpts:
You deserved it because you worked harder than ever before during these years.  You deserved it because, when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out moving lights, and put in longer hours.  Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour, benefits, you took two jobs at $9 an hour.
You deserve it because your family depended on you.  And you did it because you are an American, and you don't quit.  You did it because that was what had to do. The driving home late from that second job, or standing there and watching the gas pump hit $50 and still going.  When the realtor told you that to sell your house you'd have to take a big loss on your house.  In those moments, you knew that this just was not right.  But what could you do except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic, hug your kids a little longer, maybe spend more time praying tomorrow would be a better day.
The audacity of this rhetoric, coming as it does from a man who was born into wealth and who has a current estimated fortune of $150 million is breath-taking.  This is a man who has never worried about paying bills, about buying school clothes for his kids, about making a car or mortgage payment.  His delivery revealed as much.  Tinny, shallow, insincere.  He tried, though.  I'll give him that.
My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, "Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?"
I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.
Polls show Romney (and the GOP generally) is sucking wind when it comes to support from women.  Small wonder, eh?  But this pitch shows that Romney is at least aware of the problem.  He dropped some names to try to suggest that the GOP is a party for women.  But he can't change the fact that Republicans in Virginia passed legislation requiring women to endure medically unnecessary vaginal probes.  He can't blot out the ugly sentiments behind the "forcible rape" legislation sponsored by his own vice-presidential nominee and Todd Akin.   And, please --if he wants people to take Republican women seriously, why mention Condi Rice?
The President hasn't disappointed you because he wanted to. The President has disappointed America because he hasn't led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.
This reasoning befuddles me.  How is it that being a successful businessman qualifies one to be president?  The only recent chief executive who made his bones in business is Junior Bush, who f*cked it up so badly that he's not even welcome to appear at his own party's convention.
It's the genius of the American free enterprise system – to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that is dedicated to creating tomorrow's prosperity rather than trying to redistribute today's. 
Idolatry of ideology.  "Free enterprise" is one of those trance-inducing terms that lull Republicans into a suggestive state.  You know?  Just like "Founding Fathers," "freedom," "patriotism," "sanctity of life," "Ronald Reagan," etcetera.  But there was more:
And let me make this very clear – unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class. As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America's first liberty: the freedom of religion.
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY to help you and your family.
"Sanctity of life," "institution of marriage," "freedom of religion."  More vacuous blather.  In terms of policy, what is he really saying?  Given the performance of the Republican congress, it's easy enough to translate:  restrictions on abortion, a ban on gay marriage, and a blurring of the constitutional separation of church and state.  If that's what you want, Romney's your man. 

Then, of course, he went on to mock not only President Obama, but anyone who might be concerned about global warming.  Head-in-the-sand ignorance that the redneck rabble eats up with a spoon.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.
His closing remarks, I'm sure, are sincere. He said "The future is our destiny," and I'm sure he believes that. He believes the future is his destiny and the destiny of his people.  The problem is that he's not speaking to me when he says it. Not me and not anyone I know.

That's it.  That speech that we saw last night is the best Mitt can do.  And Mitt is the best the Republicans can do.

They got nothing.  Let's see how many people are dumb enough to buy it.

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