Mitt Ain’t Their Guy

After watching the RNC, I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOP operatives are looking past the 2012 election to 2016.   Don’t get me wrong, I think the party wants to win, but Mitt Romney is not their guy, he’s not.  If he were, the Republican National Convention would have been a Mittfest rather than a parade of rising stars.  Rather than introducing Mitt Romney to the country, the planners decided it would be better to introduce the young talent in the Republican party to the country, most of whom are about as far right as you can get and represent the new face of the Tea Party base.

Take for example the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.  The daughter of immigrants from India said in her speech at the RNC that her parents “loved the fact that only in America we could be as successful as we wanted to be and nothing would stand in our way.”  Yet she does not want other immigrants to have the same chance to be successful  as she and her parents had.   She praised South Carolina’s “innovative” anti-immigrant laws whose constitutionality are being challenged in court, claiming that the President has not secured the borders.  Last I checked, South Carolina does not border another country, but that’s just an aside. What’s troubling is that immigrants are being made the scapegoat for all the problems that ail the palmetto state.  And to make sure that voters who would likely vote for the Democrats, can’t vote, South Carolina introduced voter ID laws, which disproportionally burden minorities, some of whom are immigrants or like Haley, children of immigrants.  Talk about standing in the way!

Naturally, presiding over a right to work state (code for cheap exploitable labor) she bashed the unions and like the other speakers, took the President’s “you didn’t build that”  out of context.  She insists that non-union workers  built Boeing airplanes and manufactured tires in her state.  Of course they did, but not without government support, which was precisely the President’s point.  Let’s not forget that Boeing has been the beneficiary of many lucrative defense department contracts paid for by the government.  And as David Sirota of Salon.com pointed out on Up with Chris Hayes, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the RNC took place, was subsidized by government through tax dollars.

Unlike the other speakers, Haley actually mentioned Romney’s name more than just in passing – 5 times to be exact, however her praise was mostly non specific or less than factual – “he fixes things and is results driven”. She mentioned nothing about his actual positions because he’s flipped flopped on them so often.  Ok, he’s balanced a budget in MA, but not without raising taxes as Haley claims.  He did raise taxes to increase revenue, only he called them fees and increased lots of them raising millions on the backs of MA residents. And I know because I was and still am one of them.  If the GOP can get away with calling the President’s fee for not buying health insurance a tax, than Romney’s fees in MA should be called taxes too.

The problem with Romney is that he doesn’t have a conservative record to run on, quite the contrary and that is why he is not the GOP’s guy.  The convention was an audition for the GOP’s 2016 run for the oval office.   Mitt, who was scarcely mentioned by the rising stars of the party at the convention was all but written off.  The convention speakers leading up to Romney (and Clint Eastwood) were the real stars.

Mitt may give President Obama a run, but he’ll have to go even farther to the right to make it close, and that is just not who Romney is and he won’t be at peace with himself.  Romney is a good campaigner, but not a a very good politician.  At his core, he is a businessman.  And friends, America is not a business.  We need a President, not a CEO.

And here’s a prediction:  unless the more moderate voices like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush take the party back to the center, the GOP is headed straight off the cliff, with guns a blazing, like a crazed Wilie Coyote or Yosemite Sam. You watch.

Linus on NPR and a few other radio oddities

I was listening to NPR on the way to work and heard a report by Peter Overby, who sounds exactly like Linus, to the point that I think he might very well have been the original voice of Linus. I kept waiting for him to say something about the Great Pumpkin.

Here’s what else I heard:

An 83 year old tea partying Mitt Romney supporter said she likes him because he has a nice family and will try. New campaign slogan: Need job. Nice family. Will try.

A local Boston announcer pronounced Red Sox Marco Scutaro’s name, with the accent on the second syllable, like Japanese musician Kitaro. For the record, Marco Scutaro is from San Felipe, Venezuela in the state of Yaracuy, a place I have actually visited.

Day 3 at the RNC

The Republicans have brought back the L word – Fred Thompson used it to describe Barak Obama as the most liberal politician ever to run for the Presidency.  Liberal/Conservative; Blue States/Red States.  This labeling game is designed to divide, distract and demonize.  Elder Bush used the L word to brand Dukakis as a liberal, left leaning, eastern, urban extremist, out of touch with the mainstream.  What is the mainstream?  Who is mainstream?  Big business.  Certainly not the Christian right or the Progressive left.  There are those labels again.  Distracting from the issues.  What are the issues – are there any?  Is this election simply about taxes?  Sounds like this is the only thing that matters to Republicans.  Of course, no more taxes simply means, no more corporate taxes.  Tax breaks for the rich – corporate welfare.  Not at all surprising that the Republicans had a billionaire in Pat Whitman speaking to America.

Do the Republicans care about the middle class – the vast majority of Americans – who are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage; who struggle to fill the tank and to put money in the bank; who lack health insurance.  Is the soaring cost of college tuition of any importance to anyone out there?  Education – come on.  What do the Republicans plan to do?  Seriously.  We hear about accountability, but not about providing more resources. Teachers, students and administrators are blamed for failing schools.  Fire the teachers – just like the air traffic controllers back in the 80’s; privatize the schools – bring big business into the equation to educate the masses to SERVICE the corporate bottom line.  Accountability.  Replace the school signs with corporate billboards.  Plaster the school walls with advertisements; pipe in MUZAK – send subliminal messages designed to sell jeans, sneakers, Mickey D’s and Pepsi or Coke if you prefer.   Hire Madison Avenue executives to create an army of young consumers.

What’s wrong with the word Liberal?  Absolutely nothing.  It’s a good word – it means progress; an open mind – open to new ideas.  Aren’t the REpubs running on the reform Washington message.  Isn’t that a liberal idea?  The Dems don’t use the C word, but they could.  Are conservatives out of touch with mainstream ideology – more guns, less choice, more wiretaps, less civil liberties, tax cuts for the rich, more deficit spending, more military spending.  One thing the REpubs know well; create an imagined enemy, demonize that enemy – in this case fellow Americans (who dare to put people first) and turn the debate into the politics of fear and hate.

The Eastern elite.  Mitt, weren’t you the governor of Massachusetts?  Do you not hold a Harvard MBA?  There he goes.  Liberal.  The L word.  Throw out the liberals.  Now that’s a big idea.  And opportunity for whom?  Not for me and probably not you either Republican America.  Here’s another swell line:  “Keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.” No need to discuss Global Warming because it’s not really happening – or so the Republicans claim.  Or more aptly, keep the inconvenient truth grounded because it’s bad for big business.  USA, USA, USA!

Stay tuned for another installment of Day 3 at the RNC.