Nel's New Day

August 30, 2012

GOP Convention 2012 – Day Two, Mendacious

The GOP convention soldiered on into Day Two yesterday. Mitt Romney managed his usual “thumb-his-nose-at-the-poor” gaffe when a Florida developer held an event to thank people who had raised over $1 million for Romney—on a 150-foot yacht flying the Cayman Islands flag. Romney refused to give the names of these top “bundlers” who mostly hid their name tags when they were off the yacht. “He is the first nominee in 12 years to withhold these names,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money.

In a pre-convention speech, Condoleezza Rice was heckled by protesters when she talked about her conversations with George W. Bush when they pondered “what could be done to show that America was compassionate about the poorest people.” People have wondered what would happen when the GOP finally brought up the joint specters of Bush 43 and the ill-conceived wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rice also couldn’t remember one specific foreign policy in the past three years.

When Ann Romney spoke at a luncheon to persuade women and Latinos/as to vote for her husband, she said that Hispanics should get past their biases because her husband is better for them than President Obama. She didn’t mention that her husband said that he would get undocumented people to “self-deport,” veto the Dream Act that would provide a path to citizenship to young people brought to the country illegally as children, and use the virulent Arizona anti-immigrant laws as a model for the nation.

After the hoopla around Mike Huckabee’s support for Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) following his comment about “legitimate rape,” Huckabee’s speech was pretty pro forma: he grew up poor without government help, Romney gave 16 percent of his money to the church, etc. His reason for supporting Romney hit a new low bar; people should support Romney because he has been faithful to his wife and his religion. And how does Huckabee know how much Romney gave his church? Has Huckabee seen Romney’s tax returns?

The most tepid endorsement of Romney—and that’s saying a lot!—came from John McCain who moved back to basic Republican orthodoxy, using his speech to lie about President’s foreign policies and call for war in the Middle East. He wants a more aggressive stance against Iran, a more aggressive defense of Israel, a more aggressive whatever in Syria. He didn’t talk about Iraq or Osama bin Laden, two huge failures for the GOP. His recommendation is that the United States save all the oppressed people in the world, and he trusts Romney to do all these things without any funding. There’s a lot of trust of Romney going around the conservative world these days.

The highlight of the evening was actually Condoleezza Rice in a speech that some more liberal pundits declared as “presidential” and made up for problems earlier in the day. The beginning was what one might expect: 9/11, foreign policy, trade, energy independence—all standard Republican speech topics. It was when she moved to discussing civil rights, beginning her own experiences of racism as a child, that she sounded like a moderate. She supported compassion for immigrants who wish to come to the United States. Once again Romney’s name got short shrift. A question is whether her speech is a precursor to plans for 2016; she certainly made up for earlier disasters during the day.

The purpose of Day Two was to “introduce” Paul Ryan as the VP candidate. The nicest thing that a journalist said about his speech is that Ryan was “factually challenged.” Another asked the question about what word could be used when he went beyond lying. A Fox News column described him as dazzling, deceiving, and distracting with the statement: “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.”

Even the right-leaning Washington Post referred to the speech as “a misleading indictment of President Obama” and lambasted Ryan for not spelling out some of the “tough choices” that Romney’s administration will require from the people.

Ryan’s speech dismissed the Obama $831 billion stimulus as “wasted money” while he failed to mention that his home town of Janesville (WI) is far better off because of what they received from the stimulus. He repeated his lie that Barack Obama didn’t help the GM auto plant that closed in Janesville in 2008 when he was a candidate. George W. Bush was president in 2008, and the plant may reopen if GM decides to do this.

Ryan blamed the president for not adopting the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. After Ryan voted no on the commission’s conclusions and walked out, Congress could not take action. Ryan also voted against job creation when he opposed the president’s 2011 American Jobs Act that would have created 1.5-2 million jobs.

One of the biggest lies from Ryan and the Romney campaign is that the president has stripped Medicare while the Republicans will keep it intact. Both parts of this statement are false: the president will save the country $716 while retaining Medicare because of the Affordable Care Act, and the Republicans will destroy the entire program the minute that they have any control.

Ryan blamed the president for the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating instead of explaining that the Republicans’ games brought the country close to defaulting on its foreign debt. He gave Romney credit for raising the credit rating in Massachusetts when Romney raised taxes (that he called fees) and had the support of a Democratic legislature. Another Ryan lie in the speech was that the president is totally responsible for $5 trillion of the national debt while the bulk of this was caused by the Bush recession, the Bush wars, and the Bush tax cuts—all of which Ryan supported.

Ryan said, “College grads shouldn’t have to live out their 20s in childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters.” Ryan opposed legislation to keep student loan rates from doubling.

Close to the finish, Ryan addressed what Romney brought up Romney’s role in saving the 2002 Olympics in Utah but failed to point out that the U.S. government poured $1.5 into this event after Romney went to the public trough to be bailed out. Even McCain called Romney’s move, “federal porkbarrelling.”

Ryan said, “We have a plan to create 12 million jobs in four years” and that their administration would reduce the Federal Budget to 20% of GDP “because that is enough.” There was absolutely not one specific about how they would accomplish this, including how they could create 12 million jobs when every government program would be cut except for defense. “We will not duck the tough issues,” he said while failing to describe what these are. His position was identical to Romney’s “trust me, I paid lots of taxes.”

Ryan’s biggest lies came at the end when he talked about “protecting the weak.” It is “the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak,” and “the mark of a society is how it treats people who cannot help themselves.” Etc., etc., etc.:

“We have responsibilities, one to another–we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.”

As Jamison Foser wrote, “The man who utters these pretty words is, in fact, a stone-cold [Ayn] Randian.”   Ryan wants to slash the safety net for everyone in the country to give to the wealthy. Sixty-two percent of Ryan cuts are directed at programs for the low-income. Loser continued, “These aren’t just lies. These are the pronouncements of a sociopath, someone who knows what he stands for and knows precisely why it shocks the senses, and persuades you that he believes the exact opposite, and maybe even persuades himself.”

Ryan concluded with the statement, “Our rights come from nature and God and not from government.” Ryan will wait for God to take care of all of us. If he doesn’t, then we will have less of a population problem.

Comedian Andy Borowitz was on target when he said the only truth that Ryan told in his speech was the names of his wife and children. My descriptions provide just the tip of the iceberg of the media pushback to Ryan’s speech. DailyKos has a long list, including “hypocritical,” “new Nixon,” “Ryan and the post truth convention,” “stunning for its dishonesty,” “brazen lies” complete with links.

A conservative on last Sunday’s Meet the Press said that both conventions, Republican and Democratic, would be about Romney because the Democratic convention would concentrate on bashing Romney. Thus far, most of the GOP convention has bashed Obama either directly or through all the personal stories of how hard politicians worked to get to the GOP convention.

Asides: Fox canceled Sarah Palin’s interviews last night; evidently they didn’t want her to talk about the media attacking John McCain in 2008.  And, to quote Rachel Maddow, the best new thing? Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorsed President Obama, hoping that he would secure the borders. Of course, he has worked on that already, but Brewer has not given him any credit for doing this. Her office explained later that she misspoke, but it’s lovely watching her honor the name of President Obama!

U.S. small-business-owner satisfaction is up sharply to 39 percent in the third quarter of 2012 from 26 percent in the third quarter of 2010. Even small businesses know that things are getting better for them.

Romney flew to Indianapolis yesterday to speak at the American Legion convention. Ari Shapiro of NPR interviewed some of the people who attended. Bobbie Lucifer of Virginia said, “I don’t like [Obama’s] wife. She’s far from the first lady. It’s about time we get a first lady in there that acts like a first lady and looks like a first lady.” Ms. Lucifer, what does a first lady “look” like? White and blonde?

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