Do you know what the definition of a straw man is? “A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.” Hmmmm…
The star of this convention clearly is not Mitt Romney, but the straw man we’ll call Invisible Obama, a guy who apparently hangs out with Clint Eastwood and wipes the drool off his chin–you know, the guy the Republicans made up. I forgot about him. He’s the guy who wasn’t born an American even though his mother was a US citizen. He’s the guy who apparently closed a GM plant in Janesville before he was inaugurated, “raided” Medicare, killed small business in America, stomps all over your right to self-determination, doesn’t care about women or children… He’s a despicable…oh wait, no that’s Republicans.
WHAT is the purpose of the Republican convention again? Oh yeah, to make me so mad I could spit nails. Got it.
I’m gonna just set a baseline here. Let’s just say this right from the start and then I can just continue to reference this comment all…damn…night… From Day One of the Obama presidency, the Republican Party as a body decided it would not just obstruct but actively wage war against every single initiative and policy that Barack Obama proposed. So when Republicans rail against him for not getting something done, when Republicans deride him for not doing more for the economy, know that it was the REPUBLICAN Party and since the mid-terms in 2010, the Republican-led House that decided it would categorically refuse to do anything to help this country out of sheer spitefulness, like petulant toddlers. It was the Republican Party led by Boehner and bullied by the Tea Party that chose to drive this country into the ground simply because they hate Obama so much.
It’s Day Three of the RNC and we have to grit our teeth just to turn on the TV and tune into the convention coverage. It’s a fracking slog, if you must know, but I feel like I must at least try. It’s the responsible thing, yes? To listen to the other side spew lies and misinformation? Most of it is supremely uninteresting and simultaneously annoying. There’s Jane Evans touted as a Liberal Democrat up there shilling for Mitt, a parade of Olympic heroes– a move, it seems, designed simply to get the crowd chanting “USA! USA!”
The “surprise” mystery guest for tonight turns out to be Clint Eastwood and I’m sad to say, the guy sounds nearly incoherent. Who thought this was a good idea–more like both bad and ugly. Alex Massie at the Spectator tweeted, “Eastwood plainly giving the father of the bride speech at a wedding at which he dislikes the groom and doesn’t recognize his daughter.” Several faltering and unfortunate jokes later, I can only refer you to my comment on obstruction above. All these Republicans are whining and whinging about how Obama hasn’t done anything for the country and I want to say, 1) President Obama done a helluva a lot for this country IN SPITE of the GOP’s best efforts, and 2) see my comment about obstruction up above. People, check out the list of 244 of the President’s accomplishments.
Anyway, Eastwood has a painfully long extended and very lame conversation with an InvisibleObama, leading to yet another hilarious Twitter meme in which “InvisibleObama” makes snarky remarks about Marco Rubio standing on his foot. In less than an hour, the Twitter account for InvisibleObama’s empty chair has 20,000 followers–can they all vote?
I’m only half tuning into what they’re saying now and occasionally blurting out retorts. Some guy says something about how in the dark days of the past, wealth used to be concentrated in the hands of just a few. Um, that’s TODAY that you’re talking about.
I’m bored with the speakers. Looking around the convention floor, there are faces you just don’t see. No, I don’t mean that there are no minority faces, although that’s true too–their tent may be big, but it’s also empty. But I mean that certain prominent visages have not been asked to make a speech. No Bushes at all of course. As Milena astutely pointed out, no Dick Cheney? No Palin?
Ahhh Palin. What fun THAT was (Sorry, is there not enough sarcasm in my tone? “What fun that was….*grimace*And by fun I mean torture.”) What HAS she been up to these days? Aside from getting bumped off of the Fox News lineup that is…
Paul Ryan didn’t have the expensive wardrobe, but he sure has the faces down. Paul West had a good analysis in his LA Times piece: “When Mitt Romney was searching for a ticket mate, Republicans pleaded: Don’t pick another Sarah Palin. So it may come as a surprise that, in at least one important way, he ended up doing precisely that with Paul D. Ryan….”
Frankly, I don’t think Ryan did himself any favors with his overblown, overstated claims yesterday–journos and bloggers and just about everyone is still raking him over the coals. A trending hashtag on Twitter this morning is “#LyinRyan“– for you non-Twitterers, that’s NOT a good thing. And when someone says in a piece on FOX News “”to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, 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…” your cred has slipped…way down. Sally goes on to say, “Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many…”
Hilariously, Gawker has a list of seven things Paul Ryan said that were true, including: “There she is–my Mom, Betty” and “My Dad, a small town lawyer, was also named Paul.”
But at last, we have gotten to the man of the hour: Mittelschmerz Romney. I’m a little surprised to note that Romney’s acceptance speech, while irritating, doesn’t get me nearly as riled as I was when Condi Rice was onscreen. I’m not sputtering and incoherent like I am with some of the other speakers, but I think that’s because there’s just nothing to get excited about one way or another with Romney. He lacks charisma, lacks fire, and is just completely uninteresting. The one time I’m ready to spit nails is when the word “bipartisan” emerges from Mitt’s mouth. Don’t fracking even MENTION the word “bipartisan” to me–no one at this convention gets to say that word.
Aside from this though, I predict that the Mittelschmerz will continue to have image problems. Back in early August, Pew Research Group released a poll noting that, “By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory.” Frankly, I don’t see that shifting radically after this convention. I mean, he was trending down even before he famously staged three major gaffes in three countries, condescending to the British, stomping all over delicate diplomatic ground with the Israelis and Palestinians, and insulting journalists in Poland. Little foreign policy sumptin sumptin for everyone. Anyway, back to popularity (not that elections are like running for prom queen or anything) Romney’s popularity actually took a DIP before the convention…
Is he getting a convention bounce? Yeah, 1-2 points, which is normal. But know what? convention bounce, whatever, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight notes that going into the Republican convention, Obama leads in 12 of the fifteen national polls released at the end of August. “Enjoy this moment of polling clarity,” he says.
As per usual it’s up to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to get me through the week with a shred of sanity. Jon’s got a wonderfully ridiculous Romney bio video narrated by Leonard Nimoy. The video for 8/30 wasn’t up as of press time, but should be posted soon. PLUS his guest is Michael Steele, who is surprisingly ready to dish on the Republican convention. Can’t blame him for being bitter after the way Republicans blamed him for everything from the party’s debt (what was that about fiscal responsibility?) to picking storm-prone Tampa for the convention.
Apparently it’s Disgruntled Republicans Week on Comedy Central. Gov. Jon Huntsman, the last even semi-reasonable Republican — remember, the guy I might have been able to actually vote for? — was on Colbert and nailed it, “SuperPACS are destroying democracy. It’s an abomination.” When it comes up on ColbertNation.com, watch it. It will do your heart good. Favorite line, when Stephen asks Huntsman “Romney says he’s not going to be beholden to factcheckers. How important do you think the facts are to this campaign?” Huntsman also gives his opinion… in fluent Mandarin– Translations anyone?
Once again, I will reiterate, plan to vote early, and plan to get everyone you know to vote. I’m looking at you folks in the swing states especially. If you’re not already registered,register to vote now!
Thank God it’s over.