The Republicans were unable to keep a lid on the Crazy on Day Two of the convention. Mitt Romney did not attend the session, distancing himself from what was said. I can't recall any convention where the candidate has failed to listen to his running mate's acceptance speech before..
The two most shocking of all were John McCain and Condoleezza Rice, the two old guard allowed to speak. McCain sounded drunk and dangerous. He accused the president of "drifting away" from global leadership, even though it was Barack Obama who ended the war in Iraq, caught Osama bin Laden, and kept our allies in Afghanistan until 2014. McCain said Obama gave Russia and China a "veto" over our middle east policy and demanded war against Iran and Syria, claiming that in the olden days, we would have gotten those wars, even though war with Syria would likely mean war with Russia. The president assisted the revolution in Libya over Republican opposition, who were more comfortable with terrorist Moammar Qaddafi, who had used chemical weapons on his own people, launched terrorist attacks on Americans, and supported terrorism worldwide. Republicans, however, said we would get "bogged down" in Libya. Perhaps they were more inclined to think highly of Qaddafi because of his long-term relationship with some of their own, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Richard Perle.
Diplomatic ties to Perle, Rice, and Cheney
But the ties went deeper than that. They actually used Qaddafi to torture people during their war on terror.
Halliburton, Dick Cheney's company, helped Qaddafi build his bunker.
McCain forgot that Obama helped get Qaddafi removed. All this is the usual "My gang is better than your gang" of Republican politics, but McCain wanted more than that. He insisted that the president was WRONG WRONG WRONG to think of America as one nation among many and other people in the world as just like us. McCain said his touchstone is American Exceptionalism, meaning America is the one and only moral leader in the world and that we have a responsibility to rule the world. He got violently angry at the idea that the military could ever be cut or other nations left without American military meddling, something that was suggested by his fellow Republican speaker Rand Paul. McCain seemed out of his mind and unstable.
Condoleeza Rice, comically wearing what appeared to be poorly fitting, stained new dentures, and speaking in a ridiculous "posh" Brit-inspired accent through her nose with terms like "uh-LIZE" for "allies" and "ONjinuty" for "ingenuity," amazed, first by pretending she ever did anything to help AIDS in Uganda (the abstinence programs funded by the US there failed), stop sexual slavery in Southeast Asia, and other such Jesus-martyr type stuff; and then by making a bizarre foray into domestic politics by demanding school vouchers as the answer to disparities in local education funding, calling it "the civil rights issue of our time." The real reason some Republicans support school vouchers is to divert tax money to existing private religious schools that have done without it for a hundred years, not to provide equal funding to the ghetto, still less to improve education.. It was bizarre to see her even try to interest her fellow Republicans in her schemes. It also made it clear that she is fuzzy brained, and her failure during the Bush years to predict Boris Yeltsin's rise in her academic specialty, Soviet Russia, was no accident but an intellectual deficiency. She also indulged a rant about China, blaming Obama for only signing three new free trade pacts while China signed 15 and worked on 18, thus demonstrating she was out of sync with the other speakers who accused China of unfair trade.
These two were the most bizarre, but there were plenty of others taking the crazy train tonight.
Mitch McConnell attacked Europe, as I predicted the GOP would, telling us these prosperous free societies had "elections where people vote if they should work or not." To the people who didn't read my post on the subject, please be advised the European Union, all 500 million plus of them, employs as a high a percentage of its population as the United States does..
Rand Paul misrepresented the Founding Fathers, an old-timey republican trick. In this case he insisted that James Madison, father of the Constitution, insisted on the limitations of the power of the federal government to tax. This is a flat out lie. In the National Gazette in January 23, 1792, Madison actually called for the welfare state: taxing the rich "to mediocrity" and supporting the poor to a level of "comfort," in order to prevent factionalism from destroying the Republic. He easily foresaw that without this, those who profit immoderately from government would fan the flames of faction with issues (real and imagined) until the society could not be reconciled to compromise government. Madison, in short, warned us against phonies like Rand Paul, and unfortunately the voters are ignorant of this history.
Rand Paul also promoted a historically inaccurate view of American infrastructure, saying America's roads and bridges only exist because of America's business success. He incredulously said that Obama believed that "roads creates business." Historically, of course, they do. The government subsidized canals, roads and railroads, the land transfers, and the banks and bond markets that brought settlers and business to Indiana. There were no canals, railroads and roads before government subsidy. There were no banks before government charters for them. Rand Paul is simply a liar whenever the subject is history.
Rand Paul was so crazy he actually defended the rich (using that taboo word nobody else has used at the Convention) and Exxon-Mobil, to the consternation of the delegates, saying that Obama was "punishing" them by threatening to raise their taxes, while he blamed Obama for the high oil prices Exxon-Mobil has been extorting from the public at the same time. The GOP didn't mind that so much, but there was disgruntlement in the hall when he said "Not every dollar spent on military is necessary or well-spent." Candidate Romney eschews that position directly, calling for a huge increase in military spending to reach a magical 4% of GDP number for a military which already spends more than all other armies in the world combined. There was a walkout of Ron Paul supporters, but I'm not clear if they heard Rand's speech or not.
Romney's goal in asking for more military spending is to win votes because he knows that the military has distributed its bases to win votes in Congress, and he can use make work military jobs to say he is doing something to provide employment ("stimulus" under fake cover) but it was actually kind of nice Rand Paul's rant raised some question about whether or not Romney was sincere in this plan or whether it was just a money for votes promise.
Attorneys General from two states, Pat Bondi and Sam something or other, then followed to say why they thought Obamacare unconstitutional, proving that not every lawyer is of average intelligence. Nor did they feel guilty they wasted taxpayer money pursuing an obviously meritless political vendetta against Obama in court.
Narcissist Mike Huckabee started with some false humility, claiming to have overheard backstage the remark "We sure can do better than Huckabee" and pretending to agree with it. He then indulged a personal vendetta by claiming he had hotel room next to the evil Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who kept him awake. He also lied about American history, saying our forefathers "left taxation" to "seek religious freedom." Most Americans in the colonial exodus had no religion and they did not leave taxation, they rebelled against it. He claimed that colonials in America "lived under the boot of big government," when in truth it was their own colonial governments which regulated prices, supported the poor, maintained roads, and forced people to donate time as well as money to government projects and militias. Their rebellion against England was not a rebellion against local government. His most serious complaint? Biden only gave 0.2% of his income to charity (as reported on his taxes), whereas Mitt Romney gave 16%. There is no way to check these figures, which are certainly untrue. In addition, it must be faced that when Romney tithes to the Mormon church, he has gotten something in return, such as being appointed to run the Salt Lake Olympics. Paying people who promote you to high office inside and outside the church and benefit your career is not usually what people think of when they think charity. Romney also obtained funds for his companies from Mormon connected businesses. This was marketing expense for Romney and support for the church's propaganda, not true charity.
Senator John Thune made the most bizarre claim of the night, claiming that Obama had "proposed banning farm kids from doing basic chores." He didn't explain what he meant by this, because of course it never happened. He said health insurance premiums are up 19%, college tuition 23%, and food stamps 45% during Obama's presidency. He didn't mention that Republicans had a direct hand in making all of this happen, refusing to cut subsidies to insurance companies get that they are not entitled to under original Medicare, making state colleges admit high performing students tuition-free under programs like Romneys in Massachusetts so tuition for everyone else goes up, and refusing to help the poor, middle class, and repeatedly trying to cut off long-term unemployment benefits, driving people to starvation.. His cynical presentation was a perfect example of the strategy laid out by McConnell in 2010: the Senate Republicans' plan was to prevent Obama from achieving anything so they could get rid of him. They didn't care one whit for the country or any of its people, only for their own gang.
Senator Rob Portman made the false accusation that Obama never passed a budget and made the false charge that his Department of Commerce "hadn't even sought the export agreements" which are usually done with other countries. Obama has never traveled overseas without promoting American exports, and this was pure demagoguery from the most arrogant rich fraud in the Senate. Portman also engaged in demagoguery in saying "China manipulated its currency" to sucker the U.S. in trade when they have been doing that since the 1990s and Obama is the only one who has called them on it, even getting them to to a partial revaluation during his term. The Republicans in the Bush era tried to promote a China free trade agreement. Portman said, "This will end under Mitt Romney."
Portman then introduced Steven Cohen, an unintelligent, inarticulate Ohio businessman who asked us to believe that his business is so clever that China steals its ideas. He made some big whoppers for such a short speech. He claimed American business cannot compete because of health care costs. True, but it's true because other countries make that the responsibility of the taxpayer, not the business. It was Republicans who insisted on giving that responsibility to business in the first place so as to avoid "socialized medicine." Those costs will not come down if Republicans are put in charge of them. Second, he said that impossible emissions standards hurt American business, when in fact many other countries have higher standards than the U.S.
Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, tried to tiptoe on the racism fence by calling Obama "The Tattoo President." His big whopper was to say Mitt Romney wants to lower taxes on the middle class, when Romney's plan calls for increased taxes on the middle class.
Finally, to round out the field of crazy, they used New Mexico's Republican governor Susanna Martinez, who actually used an Eva Peron hand movement to end her talk. Ms. Martinez claimed to be a former Democrat and said that little girls are always physically assaulting her in grocery stores because she is such a big celebrity. She made the usual claims of bipartisan success in fixing New Mexico's problems, when really it was Obama's economic improvements which fixed her budget for her.
If there was a purpose in Romney letting all these people talk, most of them sounding like mental or psychological defectives, it was probably to set up his v.p. nominee Paul Ryan, a competent lying demagogue who looked good by comparison to all of the people listed here. Ryan's speech will the be subject of the next post.