September 9, 2008

The Tattlesnake – More GOP Goop: Deaf Con 3 Edition

Random Notes Summing Up the End of Summer Bummer in St. Paul

“Fight with me! Fight with me!”
– John McCain in his acceptance speech at the GOP Con, Sept. 4, 2008, so desperate for combat he invited the audience to throw a punch at him.

The 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, was entertaining and credible if you happen to have that happy zealot’s mindset indistinguishable from serious brain damage, or you’re a member of the Inner Party with a large Memory Hole nearby and a strong stomach. Indeed, George Orwell could have written the script for this GOP Con and you could hear echoes of the boot-heel patriotism of Oceania ringing in its blaring signage and loudly repeated declarations – “Country First!” “Service!” “Character Counts!” “War Hero!” “Reformer!” “Maverick!” “USA!” “Surge Working!” “NO-bama!” — simple themes for simple minds marinated in the bottomless pit of Big Media Infotainment Newspeak and endless wars against shifting enemies, buttressed by increasingly irrational rationales.

Yet never was heard a discouraging word against the Bush Administration and the avaricious corporate-Republican values for which it stands that have promulgated and prolonged the various disasters sinking us on every front – instead, Frank Luntz’s cheesy framing word “Washington” was employed so that the top-of-the-ticket ‘reformers’ had something to ‘change’ other than the guiding precepts of their own party and Sarah Palin’s prominently-displayed infant son. The unasked question that hung over the convention like a cloud from Hurricane Gustav: ‘Yes, Washington is even more corrupt than usual and we are descending into utter catastrophe – and who is responsible for causing all of this misery?’ He That Must Be Obliged But Otherwise Go Unmentioned appeared on the Jumbotron screen early in the evening on the first day, his embarrassing video endorsing McCain stuck into those hours of the evening when, presumably, small-town America was still having dinner and would never see the Bush Boy and think of his Unmentionable PNAC Partner-in-Crime Dick Cheney, the True Author of our rampant economic and global woes.

McCain and Palin both exhibited signs of having an out-of-party experience as they berated the soulless suppurating boils and abscesses populating the Potomac Swamplands in the form of Big Money lobbyists and Special Interests that have brought the country so low, without ever hinting that most of them had an RNC elephant logo on their money clips and the rapacious Jesus of Mammon in their born-again hearts. For that matter, most of the larger fish work in McCain’s own campaign. But perhaps the most comically surreal moment of the three nights came when Mitt Romney, formerly McCain’s dedicated primary foe, erupted from the podium with this public hallucination to the cheers of the damned and deranged:

“We need change, all right. Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals.”
– Mitt Romney, Sept. 3, 2008.

That’s the essence of the snake-eating-its-tail message emerging from St. Paul to unite the party – let’s toss out big-government liberals Bush and Cheney and start anew.

We’re Not Out of Touch – We’re Republicans Without Issues!

“This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”
– Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, quoted by the Washington Post’s The Fix blog.

To the party leaders and McCain’s campaign staff, ignorance is strength, and really the only strength McCain has left. If the public can be allayed by clever rhetoric, bamboozled by slick video bios, befuddled by down-is-up deceptions, or baffled by calculated bluster from determining the bitter truth about the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate for just two months, the GOP believes they can seize the White House for the third time in this new century.

“I can make anyone believe anything, no matter how ridiculous, if you let me repeat my message a hundred times daily, without any contrary information allowed.”
– An anonymous former advertising executive.

To those not afflicted by either form of GOP dementia, however, the main theme underlying it all seems to be the migraine-inducing “Everything’s been just peachy under Republican rule and that’s why we have to elect two ‘maverick reformers’ to completely change Washington.” One of the reformers, the aging male lead who is running for president, has been a fixture of the official DC political establishment for 30 years and involved in some of the GOP’s most fetid scandals; he apparently believes that he can reform the way things are done by voting 95 percent of the time with the commander-in-chief of the nation’s eight-year slide into dissolution. The 44-year-old female Alaska governor plucked from obscurity to fill the vice president’s chair has little experience beyond constantly seeking new places in her home state to drill for oil or natural gas, using her office to conduct political and personal vendettas, shamelessly invoking her religion to enhance her political opportunities, and running up a massive debt while trying to ban books from the public library as mayor of the small unfortunately-named town of Wasilla, which could be mistaken for the brand-name of a new antibiotic. “Ask your doctor if Wasilla is right for you.”She also didn’t mind the Bridge to Nowhere until it became a political liability and kept over $200 million of earmarked funds to build it while she continues to support the Bridge’s chief Congressional architect, indicted Republican Senator Ted Stevens, the new thesaurus synonym for corruption and wasteful pork, following the imprisoned Jack Abramoff entry.

She and her wrinkled Leading Man have very little in common except a lifelong desire to prevent women from having the right to control biological processes within their own bodies, and opposing any legislation that might improve their economic circumstances. McCain does this because he believes it shows he is a real conservative and therefore eligible for the thick flow of corporate money that is awarded those who keep turning right in a tight circle; Palin says she does it all for Jesus, yet she is also not immune from putting her palm out for the sizable financial emolument Big Oil and other corporate energy plunderers can apply to appropriately business-submissive politicians. (It’s even said she was groomed by the energy industry and the Christian Right to run for mayor of Wasilla.) Both are a bundle of conundrum and paradox: John McCain is the purported hero who can’t stand up to George W. Bush and the neoconservatives, even to the point of putting those who once defiled him in charge of his campaign; he’s an allegedly brave man who has sold off every part of his Barry Goldwater conservative conscience to be president in 2008, and he relentlessly attacks lobbyists while his campaign is run by them. Sarah Palin is a woman who apparently believes she is a reformer while she pursues the tired career track of every other prominent conservative politician of the past three decades by acceding to the demands of the energy corporations that bankroll Republicans in her state. While she preaches fealty to Christianity, she ignores its practical application to the disadvantaged and, while she may not know much about the war in Iraq, nevertheless believes it to be a holy mission from God. She also belongs to an organization called Feminists For Life, which practices the cynical subterfuge of seeming to be a progressive group, as the name would indicate, while actually undermining the sorts of free choices for women true feminists have fought to achieve. A more honest appellation would be ‘Feminists For Pro-Life,’ but, then, that wouldn’t sucker the young women in the door to be ensnared by this Venus Fly-Trap of subtle anti-abortion propaganda.

The lie-endorsing, moose-shooting, warmongering Son of the Almighty of Sarah’s frostbitten Rapture-Ready dreams doesn’t relate in spirit or text to the open-minded and compassionate figure who announced his radical philosophy of love, forgiveness, peace, tolerance, generosity and humility in the Sermon on the Mount, but this is a consistent blind spot that she shares with the other confused creatures who inhabit the dismal precincts of the rigid-fundamentalist Christian Right. The Jesus of the Beatitudes would have been mocked and booed at this GOP convention as a wimpy, soft-on-terrorism, left-wing kook; a wine-drinking elitist scheming to steal our sacred tax money to pay off welfare cheats and other undesirables while plotting to make peace with America’s enemies, of which there are now many more since Bush’s inauguration in 2001. (Blessed are the peacemakers? No!) That historical ‘Hippie Jesus’ would never be tough enough to be placed in nomination on a Republican ticket – he might even be derided as a ‘community organizer’ – pause for cackling — for assembling his little band of unemployed acolytes to spread the Good News 2,000 years ago.

While I didn’t have sufficient inclination nor intestinal disposition to watch the entire hideous spectacle, here are some brief impressions of the highlights, in no particular order:

– On Sept. 2nd, Fred Thompson added some hilarity to the proceedings by pointing up McCain’s youthful affection for class-jerk troublemaking and dating exotic dancers, apparently very appealing to this mass grave of sexually-repressed jingoists. After castigating Obama for reading his speeches from a Teleprompter while reading his own from one, Fred, between coughs that might indicate his stomach contents were rightfully rising in the back of his throat, assured America that, with McCain, they’d be getting a real ‘character’ as president. To wit: “This is the kind of character that civilizations since the beginning of time have sought…” But he failed to mention that all of those civilizations are long dead, brought down by a blind enthusiasm for the ideology of exceptionalism carried out by imperial military force, and a laissez-faire dedication to executive incompetence and concomitant injustice. Still, if he had promised an exotic dancer in every pot, there’s no telling what that would have done to increase his candidate’s standing in the polls.

– Laura Bush polished her steel eyeballs, glued her smile in place, and did her level best to ignore her deadbeat husband and pretend that Republicans could still fix the delicate clock of government using only their cowboy boot-shod feet. A brave performance from the former college pothead.

– Rudy Giuliani trumpeted John McCain’s stellar achievements and perfect fitness for the presidency, which is, of course, what impelled him to run against McCain last year. Then Rudy settled into more comfortable territory as he expelled a noun, a verb and slapped Obama. Choking on laughter at the notion that someone might graduate from Harvard Law School and, rather than dive directly into a pile of money from a high-powered law firm, devote himself to helping others through community service – especially steelworkers put out of a job by Reagan’s trickle-down economy — Giuliani permanently solidified his position as America’s A-Hole. Laughable Sidelight Moment of Truth: NBC’s Andrea “Mrs. Greenspan” Mitchell interviewing New York City’s cross-dressing former tyrant and calling him “Rudith.”

– The $100,000 diamond-encrusted designer key in Cindy McCain’s back was twisted a few turns and she ambled on stage to deliver a speech so laden with profound inanities and smiley-face meringue that it would have made Barney the Purple Dinosaur blanch. Still, her bright-eyed lack of facial expression was reminiscent of an android from Futureworld – the perfect independently-wealthy accessory for a septuagenarian Republican warrior-king.

– Why even bother with the unctuous Joe Lieberman – his groveling appearance at this GOP convention, even falsely continuing to claim he’s a Democrat, cemented the end of his political career; home-state Connecticut is solid blue and he only managed to slip into office the last time as an Independent due to residual good will from uninformed Dems and Republican backing, but he won’t repeat that performance again. His only hope now is a McCain installation and an appointment as Secretary of State, which the world, the country, and Droopy Dog’s late creator Tex Avery, have done nothing to deserve.

“When Fascism finally comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
– Sinclair Lewis

– If Sarah Palin’s uber-Republican doxology could be synthesized into paraphrased jukebox titles, the featured selections might be “God Bless My America,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christian,” “The Big Spark of High-Heeled Girls,” “Yankee Boodle’s Dandy,” “I’m a Queen Bee,” and “Those Enormous White Lies.”

– Overshadowed by his vice presidential pick, appearing elderly, frail and desperate, John McCain slogged through his acceptance speech following a fawning video biography chockfull of gaps in logic and accuracy. Never confronted in his presentation was how 5 years in a POW camp, or 26 years playing a ‘straight-talking maverick conservative’ while not actually doing much more than promoting oneself as a ‘straight-talking maverick conservative’ to friends carefully cultivated from the stenography pool of the Big Media, qualifies one to be president. Col. Kurtz ended his monotonous harangue grasping for a spark of emotion that fizzled into nothing more than an outpatient shouting incoherently in the parking lot who had neglected to take his tranquilizers. Perhaps it was all very impressive to the beer-fogged occupants of sports bars across the nation, since the video and speech followed with exact timing the end of the first regular season NFL football game, but I’d bet straight-up that they dozed off or gorged themselves numb on nachos halfway thorough it, and missed the message. That’s probably just as well for the doomed McCain, sentenced to campaigning for and against himself simultaneously until November 4th.

As the gush of mainstream conventional wisdom has now declared, Palin and McCain have united the Republican Party’s diminishing base of corporate autocrats, fast-buck fakers and demented Holy Rollers, but what do they do to ensnare the other 25 percent they need to defeat Obama? The answer wasn’t readily apparent in St. Paul, Minnesota last week.

“As the country rapidly diversifies, Republicans are presenting a convention that is almost entirely white.
“Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated on the convention floor are black, the lowest number since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies began tracking diversity at political conventions 40 years ago.”

– Eli Saslow and Robert Barnes, “In a more diverse America, a mostly white RNC,” Washington Post, Sept. 4, 2008.

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