(As you can see, this is a week old. That's my deal with the newspaper syndicator)
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DARK AND STORMY NIGHTS
BY BOB FRANKEN
Wasn’t it entertainjng watching the networks switch between the tempest and the crackpots? Back and forth we went, from the insanity of the GOP convention to the inanity of the TV reporters in their high-tech gear barely able to stand up as they screamed over Hurricane Isaac. It was a hoot . It could have been better only if the political correspondents in Tampa, Fla., did their work in similar attire, hunkering down while the heavy gusts whipped inside.
We were all just blown away. What memories the party faithful will have as they move to the stormy campaign. Who will ever forget that two-thirds Clint Eastwood performance: Bad and Ugly. At any moment we were expecting him to stop, look at the camera and shout “LIVE FROM TAMPA, IT’S THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE!”
As compelling as that was, the night was not about empty chairs, but presenting Mitt Romney as more than an emotional empty suit. One after another old friend painted a warm, caring portrait of a man widely considered to be calculating and out of touch. Skeptics might consider it a coordinated effort to put lipstick on a prig.
Whatever else he is, Romney is now the nominee of the Republican Party. His acceptance speech was largely a plea to reject Barack Obama as the steward of a dismal economy: “This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault. This president can tell us that the next four years, he’ll get it right,” he exclaimed, “But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office.”
For some reason, that sounds familiar. The fact is, though, that the malaise is easing, things are moving upward — far too slowly, but at least they are reversing the death spiral caused by the ineptitude of the previous administration, utilizing the very policies Mitt Romney is proposing now.
Not that he has really described how those policies would work. Beyond promising to eliminate the national debt with lower taxes and higher defense spending, there are no specifics about the cutbacks that would gut the rest of the government, from law enforcement to safety to the social programs that make life tolerable for the young, the old, those in poor health, those about whom so many of his supporters don’t seem to care.
They have rallied around Romney because he claims he has abandoned his measured positions of the past and embraced their harsh views. Their GOP has evolved into a party of nastiness. THe platform — with its unyielding views on abortion, gays, women, people of color, the needy— is a document that advocates dismantling just about all the progress of the 20th century.
That would include even voting rights. How contemptible that Republicans in so many states are trying to once again disenfranchise minorities, the poor and others who might cast their ballot for the other side. They are not just anti-Democrat, but anti-democracy. If they succeed, they will call into question whether this election IS valid.
Isn’t it warped how they made “we did build that” such a prominent theme, which is an out-of-context distortion of President Obama’s point that entrepreneurs rely on a government infrastructure to succeed. The irony is they are talking not of building, but demolition of a compassionate society.
It was a blustery ill wind that blew through the Tampa hall after the tropical storm passed. Call it a tropical depression, because if the fantasies of this convention become reality, we’re facing a depressing future.