Star Time at the GOP Conclave
On Fake Narratives, Damned Lies and Jingoism
It is altogether fitting that Marco Rubio should introduce Mitt Romney on the last night of the Grand Obstructionist Party convention; since both men are shameless liars. Rubio built a following in Florida by concocting a story about his family fleeing to freedom in America, seeking refuge from the horrors of Castro’s communist dictatorship. He was really getting over with this story; casting his family in a heroic anti-communist mold helped him win a Senate seat in Florida…and then an enterprising reporter at the Miami Herald decided to check his story out and discovered it was a lie.
The records show that Rubio’s parents immigrated to this country in 1958, fleeing the right wing Cuban dictator Fulgencia Batista, an American Lackey, not Castro. Hence Rubio is a certified liar. He was on stage in this strategic position because the Republicans need him; he is their Latin golden boy that they are counting on to deliver the Hispanic vote. A vain hope that I believe will result in heartbreak. And although he has a superficial understanding of American political, economic and racial history, coming onstage following Clint Eastwood made Rubio look young, bright and dynamic.
Eastwood was a great embarrassment as he stuttered and stammered like a doddering old dunderhead. He came across like an over the hill actor lost onstage without a script; cuttin the fool before the world. Clint didn’t seem to have a clue what Mitt’s position is on fundamental questions. Still he was a hit with the delegates, a gaggle of pugnacious airheads, but looking at the response on social media, and the professional commentariat, Clint went over like a lead balloon everywhere else. But Mitt wasn’t much better.
The most impressive moment in Mitt’s speech was his grand entrance, where he entered the auditorium from the rear and strolled down the aisle stopping to shake hands and embrace supporters the way the President does at a State of the Union Address. However the entrance was yet another mistake, because it gave us a chance to take a good look at the lilly white mostly male delegates; which nullified their carefully crafted strategy of having racially and gender diverse speakers in a made for television portrait of Republican inclusiveness.
And the examples he used to illustrate American greatness early on contradicted the major theme of the convention. He didn’t point to a captain of Industry who had amassed a great fortune, the hero of today’s Republicans, but spoke glowingly of the wonder of the Moon landing and how it inspired him, and he recalled with a deep feeling of gratitude how the US government literally fed his father and grandfather and their family when they returned from self-imposed exile in Mexico, fleeing the chaos of revolution. This underscores the fact that the American government effectively maintains law and order; which makes the good life possible. All this from a government that they constantly tell us can do nothing right?
Mitt was stiff, stupid, condescending, and given to dangerous bellicose rhetoric. His comments on the Obama presidency amounted to little more than a series of snarky one liners befitting a smart-alecky teenager that in no way addressed the actual policies of President Obama: which are complex, humane and visionary.
The most poignant example of Mitt’s limited pedestrian backward vision of the role of the Presidency is embodied in this comment: “President Obama promised to stop the seas from rising, I just want to help you and your family.” In leading the fight to reverse the trend toward global warming, Barack is trying to save everybody’s family. There is no greater demonstration of the progressive futuristic vision of President Obama, and the reactionary backward looking of Mitt Romney.
Mitt’s saber rattling reminded me of the fact that he was a schoolyard bully. But this time he is picking on the wrong guys. Our would be Commander-In-Chief sounds like he can’t wait to start a war with Iran – although he never mentioned the two wars started by the last Republican President that we are still waging a decade later, and will cost four trillion dollars. This pugnacious chicken hawk dodged service in Vietnam, and seems to think of war as a video game. That’s why he cavalierly hurled insults at Russia, whom he has already declared is “our number one enemy.”
That outrageous statement, offered a few weeks ago, caused Colin Powell – a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State – to come out of retirement and publicly declare: “No they are not Mitt!” Unlike Mitt, whose foreign policy experience seem to consist of his Mormon mission to Paris where dined on pate and flaming crepes while other young Americans were losing life and limbs on the battlefields of South-East Asia – General Powell understands that the Russians have a nuclear arsenal that can obliterate every city in the United States half an hour from now! And we have no defense for it.
As I write I am listening to the commentary about Romney’s speech on Morning Joe, and it is hard to imagine an instance when superficial chit chat has been so confused with serious analysis. It is evidently of no concern to this convocation of chatterboxes that Romneys’ speech was based on lies repeated ad nauseum. They seem to regard Mitt like a trained monkey. With all the talk about whether the speech humanized him, one got the impression that like a monkey, it doesn’t matter whether his speech makes sense, the fact that he is speaking at all is worthy of applause!
Aside from the fact that Mitt’s economic plan is a rehashed version of George Bush’s folly that wrecked the economy; the aggressive character of his foreign policy could get us all killed! Mitt Romney is a dangerous lightweight, an avaricious bean counter, who does not begin to possess the attributes necessary to lead a global power in this challenging age.
Playthell George Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 31, 2012