Day one of the Republican National Convention kicked off on day two, due to the intervention of Hurricane Gustav. Irony not withstanding, the GOP marched out their minions with talking points in hand, designed to deceive the American people and distract them from the true issues this crucial election year.
The first major address of the evening was delivered by President Bush, live via satellite from the White House. Bush tried to pretend that he needed to be there to oversee the efforts to assist in the wake of the hurricane. This of course is lie number one. During the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush did not think it was important enough to leave his vacation while American citizens were dying. Now we are to believe that it was vital for him to be in the White House when Gustav is no where near the severity to the Gulf Coast as Katrina. No, the truth is that the GOP didn’t want George Bush anywhere near this convention. His approval ratings continue to live below 30% and the message of McCain being Bush on steroids continues to resonate with the American people. Thus the strategy was clear tonight to resurrect the illusion that McCain is a maverick and you cannot do that and give Bush more than the 8 minutes he received tonight. The bottom line is still that John McCain still voted with President Bush 95% of the time over the past eight years. McCain still intends to continue the Bush foreign policies, economic policies and torture policies. John McCain can try to run away from it all he wants but at the end of the day, he is still Candidate McBush.
The keynote address was delivered by Fred Thompson. An effective public speaker, Thompson threw the red meat to the base as best he could, distorting facts and distracting as only he can. Early on we saw the direction his speech would go when he spoke about how the democrats are viewing America right now:
“Listening to them you’d think that we were in the middle of a great depression; that we are down, disrespected and incapable of prevailing against challenges facing us.”
Well Fred, we are actually down. You would know that if you had to live in main street America. We are in a recession Fred. Jobs are down. Wages are down. Healthcare is ridiculous. Gas prices are insane. We are disrespected across the world Fred. That happens when we approve torture as policy Fred and say that in the 21st century countries do not invade sovereign nations while we have done it twice already this decade. The last piece of this quote is simply a distortion, as no one on the Obama side has suggested that we are incapable of prevailing; they just believe that the cowboy diplomacy of the last eight years has proven itself of being incapable of solving real problems. Thompson was not nearly done though and next tried to dismiss legitimate vetting of the new Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, which was apparently not done by McCain himself:
“Let’s be clear … the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.”
Excuse me Fred? No one is in a panic over the obvious pandering selection of Palin. Successful reformer? Sarah Palin was a Mayor of a city of 6,700 people. During her six years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same six years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. She inherited a city with zero debt, but, despite the increase in taxes, left it with debt of over $22 million. What about those pesky little earmarks McCain likes to rail against so much? Well, Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for that small town of 6,700 people. Sarah Palin is also under investigation for ethical violations by the Alaskan legislature. Bang up job on your veep selection there.
Moving on, Thompson paid tribute to McCain’s military service and imprisonment. After that however, there were a few more beauties:
“And the same character that marked John McCain’s military career has also marked his political career.”
You mean the character it took for John McCain to be named as part of the “Keating Five?” You remember the Keating Five, don’t you Fred? Those were the five Senators who were involved in the Savings and Loan scandal of the late 1980’s. A lot of character there Fred. But Fred then continued:
Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases. They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline … or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business”, don’t worry … it’s not going to affect you.
Uhmm, no Fred, this is what is known as a lie. The Obama platform is not about taxing “businesses.” It is about REPEALING the irresponsible Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 per year. The larger point however is that the current state of affairs is horrendous and prices for clothing, gas and groceries are through the roof BECAUSE of the failed policies of the Bush administration, which John McCain embraces. I know it is hard for McBush to realize these things when he believes that you are not rich unless you make over five million dollars per year and cannot remember how many homes you own. Once Thompson was done, the GOP Convention was dragged to a screeching halt by Droopy Dog Joe Lieberman, the Judas of today’s Democratic Party. Insisting that he was putting country over party, Lieberman continued his recent trend of pretending to be a Democrat, while clearly shilling for the other side. He peddled the talking points on Palin and McCain in his usual droning style; grinding the convention to end for the day.
So what do we take out of the first day? The clear strategy of the GOP is to try their best to pretend that John McCain is not McBush, when it is clear to everyone else that he is. They tried misdirection and outright distortion to wave the flag is vigorously as possible at the masses and hope that the sound bites stick more than the facts. The facts apparently are something that are not that important to Team McCain as it is now being reported that McCain’s vetting process of Palin occurred all of one day before she was chosen and consisted of one 70 question survey. Never mind that there are many things they ignored or were oblivious to; such as her seeming to believe the Pledge of Allegiance was created by our founding fathers; but there appears to be far more serious issues. Palin just hired a lawyer to defend accusations of ethical violations, has a 17 year old pregnant daughter despite running on “family values” and abstinence only philosophies, and has appeared to have changed her political opinions on several issues key to the “maverick” nonsense they are peddling to the American voters. Just one month ago, Karl Rove dismissed Governor Tim Kaine as a Vice Presidential candidate for Obama because he had only been a Governor for three years and before that was Mayor of only the 105th largest city in America. Now Rove is facing Palin who has been Governor for less than three years and was Mayor of a City smaller than Nantucket. Problem? You betchya.
So Day One began with the GOP trying to minimize George Bush to avoid the obvious, which is that McCain is simply more of the same. It peaked with a red meat message from Fred Thompson, which was deliberatively misleading and designed to drape the flag over John McCain. It ended with Joe Lieberman, trying to appeal to independents and Democrats to jump on the bandwagon he has chosen. What is lost in all of this of course is the truth. The truth is that this nation is facing perilous economic times, of which John McCain intends to do nothing about but continue the same failed policies that got us into this mess to begin with. The truth is that the war in Iraq needs to end and our troops need to come home. John McCain has said 100 years in Iraq would be fine with him. The truth is that McCain nominated a woman woefully unqualified to be Vice President and now has to have his minions try their level best to pretend that it is “panic” on the side of those who merely ask the sensible questions of the woman who would be one heart attack away from running this country. One of the Republican representatives said of tonight, “it is not about issues, it is about our candidate.” You got that right. It cannot be about issues because when this comes down to the issues, John McCain loses hands down. So the only thing they have left is to wrap God and the flag around their candidate and throw stones at Barack Obama. They are left with deception on the issues and deception on their guy. They trotted out John McCain as the maverick he never truly was and certainly has not been for the past eight years. In the end, no matter how much patriotism and red meat they tried, all they were left with was McBush; four more years of the same. We just cannot afford that anymore.