CONTINUED from “The Republican National Convention, Part I”
The third day of the Republican National Convention brought us some notable speeches: some good, some bad. The ones I am going to talk about were those by Rand Paul, John McCain, Pam Bondi & Sam Olens, John Thune, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabbe, Condoleezza Rice and Vice President nominee Paul Ryan.
The first speech worth mentioning is the one by Rand Paul. Now a few days before this speech, Rand Paul showed up at his father’s “We Are the Future” rally and got the crowd fired up with what he promised to talk about in front of the Republican establishment at the RNC. Giving us a bit of a sneak preview, he told us that he was going to walk into the arena in Tampa and start a new battle cry “Audit the Pentagon”. The crowd at that rally went nuts and applauded Rand Paul’s ambition and willingness to upset the establishment in order to bring forth truth, transparency, fiscal responsibility and a foreign policy that isn’t designed to make the United States a hated empire. I wrote about his ballsy speech at that rally in my article “We Are the Future: My Experience at the Last Ron Paul Rally“.
Back to the RNC, Rand Paul came out to a great ovation and immediately got into ObamaCare. His opening line was, ”When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were: I still think it is unconstitutional!” The crowd went bananas and we were off and running. He talked about how his opposition was met with disdain from the media sitting on the “merciless” left. He said he really sat down and though about it and no matter how you cut it up, it is still unconstitutional. He claimed that the debate over ObamaCare wasn’t over but that the only way to fix it was to elect a new president.
Rand Paul then shifted towards what most of the RNC has been about and that’s combating the silly remarks Barack Obama made about small businesses when he shouted out at a recent rally, “You didn’t build that!” Rand said that he was “insulted and angered” by President Obama’s careless comments and then he became “saddened” for the Americans who the President attacked with his words. Rand then had a great moment when he added, “Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation. The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the Cold War, is that the engine of capitalism — the individual — is mightier than any collective.” Rand went on to tell a story about a Cambodian family who owns the doughnut shop that he takes his kids to. He then followed that up with some other great points when he said:
When you say they didn’t build it, you insult each and every American who ever got up at the crack of dawn. You insult any American who ever put on overalls or a suit. You insult any American who ever studied late into the night to become a doctor or a lawyer. You insult the dishwasher, the cook, the waitress. You insult anyone who has ever dragged themselves out of bed to strive for something better for themselves or their children.
Rand continued to hit homers out of the park on the subject of American ingenuity and small business, which led to him talking about the debt overall. He talked of spending and said that both Democrats and Republicans need to get their shit together and to stop protecting their sacred cows and instead, objectively look at ways to trim the fat and get spending under control. He then dropped the bomb, “Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent..” And here we go, the moment Paulites have been waiting for!
He built off of that comment by saying that no one, terrorist or otherwise, can conquer us if we stay true to our Founding documents and the lessons of our Founding Fathers. He said that all we need to fear is our “unwillingness to defend what is naturally ours..” he followed that up with, “To thrive we must believe in ourselves again, and we must never – never – trade our liberty for any fleeting promise of security.”
Rand Paul then went on to tell a story of Ronald Reagan’s childhood. He then turns this story into an example of Reagan’s greatness which leads to Rand proclaiming that Mitt Romney will also be a great leader for our country. And there you have it! No, “Audit the Pentagon” mantra, no real hardcore discussion on military spending and he has given praise to a man that has major ideological and political differences to Rand Paul’s father and one would want to assume, Rand himself.
It is really hard to see what hand Rand is playing but from my point-of-view, I see him as trying to ride the fence between the ideals and principles of his father and pandering to the GOP elite in order to cement his future in the Republican Party. Now he may only be trying to cement himself in so that he can get further than his father and truly change the Party from the inside but I fear that he will lose the respect and admiration of his father’s supporters. Rand is on a tightrope and many people are losing trust in him. Sure, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but he is officially in bed with cobras and it will only be a matter of time before he gets bit. All things considered, I still consider him one of the good guys and I am a firm believer in Ronald Reagan’s great quote where he said, “My eighty-percent friend is not my twenty-percent enemy.”
So after Rand Paul’s moderate attempt to bash military spending, we had a few more speakers but the next one I need to mention is former presidential candidate Senator John McCain. You know McCain, he’s the swollen faced old guy who wants to put the United States in multiple perpetual wars and he also gave us Sarah Palin.
He started by making a very dry and unfunny joke about how he wanted to address the 2012 RNC under different circumstances but more people voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Yawn. He then stroked Romney’s cock a little bit and said that the election is about “domestic and economic issues” but that “our success at home also depends on our leadership in the world.” Hear those war drums playing? He added, “It is our willingness to shape world events for the better that has kept us safe, increased our prosperity, preserved our liberty and transformed human history.” Jesus Herman Munster Christ, this clown really needs to read Chalmers Johnson’s amazing book ‘Blowback’. He later stated, “This is what makes America an exceptional nation: It is not just a matter of who we are, it is the record of what we have done.”
C’mon dude! I know that John McCain has the best of intentions – most likely – and that he thinks that his method of having a base EVERYWHERE is great for national security and for building relationships and positively influencing other nations but how can he really be so blind? How can he not see the atrocities the American military has caused and the blowback it has generated which is the root of most of our militaristic problems today? Does he not understand that bombing and creating collateral damage in the form of dead civilians is going to manufacture hatred towards the United States? Does he really believe that Al-Qaeda hates us because we are free, successful, modernized and happy? Even though they have stated on several accounts that they attack us because of our presence in their nations and the countless tragedies our leaders’ recklessness has caused? Now I am not turning a blind eye to the evils of Sharia law and muslim extremism but I also know that we can’t go around the world trying to save everyone when we can barely keep our heads above water at home. It would’ve been so much better if Rand Paul could have given his speech after John McCain and instead of his RNC speech, he gave the one that he did at the “We Are the Future” rally just a few days prior.
John McCain continued to drum up fear against just about every country his war-torn brain could remember and frankly, there isn’t much more to tell about his speech. It was the same old tired warmongering bullshit that has defined his entire career. McCain is too damn old to see the light and change his ways, as are most old school Republican warhawks but let us hope that the younger generation sees through the bullshit and learns from the errors the old guard has continued to make for decades at the expense of our own freedom, our own pockets and our own lives.
The next speech I have to mention is the joint speech featuring Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, which hit some good points but came off as pretty horrid. Now it is upsetting that this didn’t go so well, in my opinion but with the two of them trading lines back and forth, it was like watching two uncomfortable kids reading and acting out a lamely unfunny routine from a teleprompter at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Usually, Pam Bondi is a great talker. I haven’t seen Sam Olens speak except for maybe once, so I can’t say much about how he typically appears on camera but I do know that the idea of having them both talk together was a bad move. Sure, they are both champions at fighting ObamaCare and they both very much deserved to make a statement at the Republican National Convention, it just came off as corny, ineffective and almost distracting. Ultimately, they did get the people fired up in the arena but that’s not hard considering they cheer any diss that is thrown in Obama’s direction. For the audience at home, this exchange was just weird. Although not as weird as Tim Pawlenty’s, which I will get to shortly.
John Thune, the U.S. Senator from South Dakota had a pretty notable speech. He was one of the guys favored to be Romney’s VP pick but ultimately he will just continue to represent the southern most Dakota in the Senate. Now Thune always has a serious look. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Guy Pearce or the actor who played the villain in Sly Stallone’s “Cobra”. Now seemingly less creepy than Stallone’s evil rival and Peter Weyland from “Prometheus”, John Thune is great at getting crowds behind him and the RNC knows this. Strangely, he wasn’t allotted much time.
So what did Thune do with that time? He started by making basketball analogies. He said that he was a good baller and that he is still waiting on an invite from Barack Obama for a game of one-on-one. He added that it wouldn’t be hard to defend Obama because he would always “go left”. Oh Senator Thune, c’mon man! Republicans need better joke writers.
He talked about hard work, the constant topic of the RNC. He told a story about his immigrant grandfather and how they came to America and started their new life in the States. He took a shot at Obama by saying, “They built it” when referring to his grandfather and his family. He said that with all the similar stories told at the RNC that they all may be different but the results are all the same. This led him into talking about how Obama’s economic policies are regulating farms out of business. He added that Obama’s policies have banned farm kids from doing basic chores. Sen. Thune then listed off all the economic problems the Obama Administration has created and how those problems harm the middle class. The Senator’s speech is then concluded by pimping out Mitt Romney for being able to understand what it will take to get businesses booming again.
Senator Rob Portman from Ohio gave a speech that was regarded as one of the best. Like Thune, he was considered to be on Mitt Romney’s shortlist of potential running mates. He announced immediately that he was there to describe the differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on economic policy. Essentially, he bashed the Democrats for bashing Romney due to his success. Portman hit all the typical GOP talking points that support their economic ideas and trashed those of the Democrats. Mitt built stuff, Obama never worked, etc. etc. et-fucking-cetera. The difference is, Sen. Portman’s speech wasn’t just typical, as it may seem on the surface or if you were to just read a transcript of it. His delivery and his personality were very statesman like. I could see Portman running for president down the road and doing a very good job but I don’t know if he has what it takes to get elected to the highest office in the land. Despite being there to promote Romney however, Portman did a great job of promoting himself, whether intentional or not, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes more of a household name and a heavy hitter in the Republican Party.
The next speaker was former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. My god, T.Paw’s speech was fucking awful! Now I am not trying to be mean for the sake of being mean but Captain Vanilla tried to shatter that mold and give us a new and improved T.Paw with personality and jokes. The problem with that, is that if you try to make vanilla into something it’s not supposed to be, it just turns into shittier vanilla. Well, unless you’ve got cookie dough but Pawlenty obviously didn’t have access to cookie dough.
Here are a few of the atrocious jokes T.Paw dropped on us with his deadpan delivery and vanilla way of speaking. The first, was the man’s opening line, “Good evening everyone, and welcome to Barack Obama’s retirement party!” There were then a few bad jokes at Joe Biden’s expense. Then there was this fucking gem, “The president takes more vacations than that guy on the Bizarre Foods show.” Which was followed by, “And I’ll give Barack Obama credit for creating jobs these last four years for golf caddies.” But oh, it kept going with classics such as, “I’ve come to realize that Barack Obama is the tattoo president. Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young. But later on, that decision doesn’t look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking?” As he talks, I continue to shake my head and wonder if this is actually real or imaginary! He then said, “I grew up in a meatpacking town.” Oh, I guess that wasn’t a joke. Gov. Pawlenty was getting serious now. Great, we went from Neil Hamburger to Bob Costas!
There really isn’t much more to say about T.Paw. He suckled on Mitt Romney’s golden teat and threw the worst jokes ever at Barack Obama. I just can’t believe that someone didn’t come out and give this guy the hook. It may have been the worst performance ever at a Republican National Convention. Pawlenty is so awkward, boring and weird that I do hope I get to see him again. Yes, this was painful to watch and I truly felt embarrassed for the guy but I guess the laughs were enough to keep him from offing himself but those laughing were probably just trying to be polite or they were crazy old people with malfunctioning hearing aids.
Mike Huckabee then came out in an effort to save the freak show from Pawlenty’s oddness. Now I like Huck. He’s a stand up dude that isn’t afraid to speak his mind and do it ever so politely. I certainly do not like his stance on gay marriage and his religious mumbo jumbo but unlike most politicians, he isn’t really offensive about it. He’s clear in his points, you understand where he is coming from and even though you don’t have to necessarily respect his stances, for some reason you respect the man. Why? Because you know that you could have a civil debate with him and that he would actually listen to you and mull things over. He is, in many ways, the epitome of the religious right but he isn’t a complete bastard about it like Rick Santorum. Huckabee is just an all around nice guy who generally cares about people, even if his views come off as archaic and religiously skewed.
So Huck immediately took a shot at Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, which wasn’t an awful joke, as it was certainly better than any portion of T.Paw’s shitty stand-up routine. Gov. Huck then got into how Obama has failed us and how Romney is going to fix our problems. He talked about how he and Romney are rivals but they are unified against Obama because no matter what differences Huckabee and Romney may have, the contrast between them is minute compared to the contrast between both of them and Democrats like Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Mike Huckabee just had a great presence as he delivered this speech. The rest, like most of the other speeches, is full of reasons as to why Romney is a much better choice than Obama.
Following Huckabee’s great performance is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Condi, like many of the other speakers at the RNC, was also on Romney’s shortlist for potential running mates. She seemed to not want the job after interviews and comments about it but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t going to do what she can to get Romney elected. Condi definitely brought some class and elegance to the stage, as she delivered her twenty minute speech.
She started by telling the story of September 11th from her point-of-view. She said that, “From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever.” She then brought up the tough times created by the 2008 financial crisis and stated that it “stunned us and still reverberates as unemployment, economic uncertainty and failed policies cast a pall over the American recovery so desperately needed at home and abroad.”
This all led to this portion of her speech:
And we have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal – as men and women in the Middle East demand it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, “Where does America stand?”
She talked about how the United States has continued to stand for free people and free markets and will always defend them. She added, “we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.” Condi goes on to talk about sacrifice and how Americans have always sacrificed themselves for freedom – not just for themselves but for all others. She then listed off several countries and their problems and how the United States has worked to help these people. She mentioned that Americans are developing a weariness in helping all these other countries and that we can’t be reluctant to lead and that we can’t lead from behind. Condi said that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the sort of leaders that we need, as they will take charge and be there for our allies and those desperately seeking freedom.
Now while I appreciate Condoleezza Rice’s sentiment, as it comes from a good place, the truth is, the amount of foreign aid we give and the amount that we spend on our military to police the world and assist others is unsustainable. In a perfect world, we should offer a helping hand but the reality of the situation is that we can barely help ourselves anymore. This perception that we have the resources to be the world’s peacekeepers is foolhardy. We don’t have the resources to feed our own people and to stay afloat. Now personally, I don’t think this is really government’s job anyway and I think that more people should practice charity but while I am on the subject, I have to point out that despite the criticism, the United States is the most charitable nation on Earth and not via foreign aid but through Americans giving up their hard-earned money to help those in need. We don’t need big government’s gun to our head to give and honestly, big government’s gun to our head makes us want to give less and it creates this sense of weariness that Condi is talking about. Yes, I want to save the world – who doesn’t – but this isn’t the job of government, it is the job of all of us and to be frank, if the government would just get the fuck out of the way, we could all do this much more effectively.
And now we have gotten to the first of the two big speeches everyone has been waiting for – the speech of Congressman Paul Ryan, the man who Mitt Romney wants to be his vice president and badminton partner. Now I am going to discuss the highlights of Ryan’s speech, as it was incredibly long and by the time I got around to watching it, at the end of the night, I was drunk on red wine and his voice was nearly overpowered by the Dead Kennedys blaring through my stereo speakers. Sorry, I found the drab RNC to be dragging and needed to entertain myself. Especially after Tim Pawlenty’s poorly executed attempt at imitating drywall. I am not going to speculate on what is true and untrue in Ryan’s speech, as there has been a lot of debate over that and really, I don’t give a shit about the exact date and time of when his town’s auto factory closed and who was president at the time.
Ryan stormed the stage like the world champion of swagger and immediately accepted the nomination for VP. He then moved on to talk about being the newcomer to the campaign and since he has been in several elections, as he is a seven term congressman, he wanted to point out that he has never come across an opponent who has been this silent about his record and so desperate to maintain power. He said that Obama and the Democrats have run out of ideas and that their moment came and went. He followed this up by saying, “Fear and division is all they’ve got left.” Taking a sharp jab, he said that the Obama Campaign is just wasting money with all their attack ads and then pointed out that “wasting money” is something Obama is good at.
After a few years of personal attacks by the Democrats for his ObamaCare and MediCare stance, Paul Ryan said that the worst part about ObamaCare is that it came at the expense of the elderly. He said:
Even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover – even with the new law and new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So they just took it all away from MediCare. $716 billion dollars funneled out of MediCare by Obama. An obligation we had to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed. All to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.
Defending himself further on the MediCare issue, Ryan told the story of his grandmother and how she came to live with his mother and him when she was struggling with Alzheimer’s. He talked about how MediCare was there to help and that it is a promise from America to the elderly and that he and Mitt Romney will continue to fulfill that promise, unlike Obama and Biden who tapped into it to cover their asses over the cost of ObamaCare. Ryan claimed that he and Romney “know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it.”
Ryan then rewound back to 2008 and talked about how Obama called a $10 trillion debt “unpatriotic”. The congressman then added that Obama has added more debt to our economy than any president before him and more than all of the struggling European governments combined. Ryan added, “One president, one term, five trillion more in debt.” Hitting the same point over and over, Ryan said that Obama has done “nothing” to fix this problem. He said that European countries are scrambling to save themselves from collapse but Obama has no solution and just continues to do “nothing”.
Moving on to small business and Obama’s claims that they “Didn’t build that!”, Ryan brought the crowd to a roar when he said:
Behind every small business, there is a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities – the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small business people say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else works seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up to their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking and worrying and sweating for them. After all that work and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth, Yes! You did build that!
Like every other speaker, Paul Ryan ended his speech by trying to pimp out Mitt. All in all, Congressman Ryan gave a pretty damn good speech and even though it is mostly rhetoric and, as history has proven, he and Romney won’t achieve a tenth of the positive shit they set out to do, I still feel that the speech may have given team Romney the edge. Keep in mind that we are still a few months away from the election and the Democrats haven’t had their convention yet. The 2012 presidential race is still anyone’s game but one thing is certain – the Ryan-Biden debate is going to be fun to watch.
9. Day Four, Part I – The Last of the Speakers:
CONTINUED in “The Republican National Convention, Part III”.