A Chair is Not a House, and Other Reflections on the GOP Convention

1 Sep

Nothing like a Republican convention to put you in the mood for a little bit of Burt. [A little background music, as you read:]

No, a Chair is Not a House. It’s also not a President, but don’t tell Clint Eastwood.

Yes, the last night of the Republican Convention almost broke twitter, what with all the #eastwooding going on. But after a week of what turned out to be some pretty good TV – though not for the reasons the party planners had hoped – one can forgive the escapism of hashtag hysteria. In our household, even the cats got in on the act.

Our guy Steve, got memed. Thank you, classwarkitteh.org!

But, really, Clint’s foray into avant garde performance art was just icing on the cake of a week of cray-cray.

On the first day we had Ann Romney, the woman who wears 900 dollar t-shirts to morning talk show interviews, tell us how she and Mitt once had to eat tuna out of cans and sell stocks to make ends meet.

Wait, what?  Sell stocks?  No wonder all those convention-goers were waving those “home-made” signs (all same writing, same colors) saying “Women love Ann”:  she’s one of us!

To be fair, Ann’s task was a tall one. As comedian Paula Poundstone tweeted, “So few of us have to humanize.”

But humanize the man for whom corporations are human Ann did.  In addition to learning how hard it is to pay rent when you have to call your broker to cash in stocks, we also learned the aspiring First Family love the Modern Family. No, not literally modern families – the TV show. You know, the one with the very funny Latina actress and the gay couple raising children together?  (The producers have since offered Ann a gig, playing a Minister officiating at Mitch and Cam’s gay wedding. So if things don’t go well in November, she has a Hollywood career to fall back on – no more dog days of cashing in stocks for Ann!).

Between Modern Family and Ann reminding us how much she loves women — I mean really, really, loves women — things just got weird. I started to wonder if the campaign had numbers showing that heteroflexibles were the new soccer moms. But, yes, love…

No, Fuck Love, exclaimed the next speaker, Chris Christie. “Tonight we choose respect over love,” screamed New Jersey’s Tough Guy, as he made a barn-burning, compelling case for a Christie Presidency. I hear he also said something about the 2012 nominee toward the end of his sweaty tirade, but by then I was so emotionally whiplashed contemplating the value of love that I had to change the channel to catch up on old Project Runways.

On the second day, Paul Ryan gave a speech so fact-challenged that the campaign spent the next 24 hours explaining how he didn’t really say what he said when he blamed President Obama for the closure of a factory that happened before he took office.

And then, of course, on the last night, the candidate himself was upstaged — by an empty chair.

Diversity Week in Tampa: or,the Quadrennial Brownwashing of the Republican Party

Pity my compatriota from Puerto Rico, Zoraida Fonelladas.

The Republican Committeewoman was drown out by delegates chanting “USA! USA!” as she tried to address the convention.  What originally looked like naked xenophobia (why would anyone jump to that conclusion about Republicans? Pshaw!) was later explained to be related to the ongoing Ron Paul civil war in the GOP.  Whatever the explanation, these were unfortunate optics for a party being trounced with the largest, growing voting demographic in the country.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Zoraida! No te preocupes, mija, it could have been worse.  Dale Gracias a Dios no one pelted you with peanuts.

There was the speculation we get every four years from talking heads – will the parade of people of color on stage mean that the GOP cuts into the Democratic base?  Yawn.

Hey, look, it’s Brian Sandoval!  Surely he will make everyone forget the party’s viciously anti-immigrant platform, written by he architect of “self-deportation” dreams, Kris Kobach.  Look, Susana Martinez! Surely she’ll lull Latino voters into forgetting that candidate Romney has promised to veto the Dream Act and keeps the hateful Kobach as a campaign adviser. Maybe we’ll forget Reina Ann tried to “woo” Latinos by telling us to get over our biases! So charming!

Over there! Surely Condoleeza will get Romney’s poll numbers with African Americans out of negative territory.

Surely Condi will lull black folks into forgetting that the Romney campaign declared “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers” as they repeatedly pushed the lie that the President has gutted welfare work rules. I think those who call this line of attack a racial dog whistle because it’s meant to inspire in white voters anxiety about black welfare queens are just plain wrong.  Dog whistles are supposed to be inaudible to the human ear. You know, subtle.

Maybe everyone will forget that Speaker Boehner this very week spoke what is supposed to remain unspoken – that the GOP strategy is to depress turnout amongst people of color, not win them over.

Yeah, maybe all that will work.

As the Reverend Timothy McDonald wrote, Republican Please!

Minnesota GOP, Well-Represented

It was refreshing to see the Minnesota Republican Party take its dysfunctions with it to the national stage.  A majority of the delegation did not vote for Mitt Romney but for their hero, Ron Paul. They took active part in the Paul Mayhem on the convention floor, and apparently they found that elusive voter fraud the MNGOP is always talking about: “They’re cheating. The Republican National Committee is not transparent and does not have integrity. They stole votes,” said Minnesota delegate Yelena Vorobyov.

The Paulites were still spitting nails upon their return to the Land of 10,000 Republican Recount Debts.  Despite the national declaration of a “unified” party, Paul supporters are still unwilling to say they will support Governor Romney.

So, all in all, a fun week of Must-See TV.

On Monday, TIP will travel to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. I hope I’ll have time to send a missive or two from there.

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