Thursday, August 30, 2012

The GOP Convention has been an Un-Mitt-igated Disaster (Pun Intended)

Seriously, could things have gotten any worse for this shit show? Conventions are supposed to be tightly scripted performances of political theater. This year's convention has been all Id. Allow us to count the ways.

1.) Hurricane Isaac.

This was, admittedly, an Act of God, but a foreseeable one for which the GOP clearly had no contingency plan (sound familiar?). As a result, they were forced to suffer through an enjambed convention schedule, one that truncated the getting-to-know-you part of the original Monday night schedule and fused it with the red meat pandering of the Tuesday program. This produced ...

2.) Mixed Messages.

Much has already been justly made of the cross talk between Ann Romney's speech about "love" and Chris Christie's talk about putting "respect over love," but this wasn't just something that Chuck Todd noticed. It was blatant to even the most casual watcher. This begs several questions: a.) Did Team Romney even vet/clear/read any of the speeches ahead of time? and b.) What the hell happened to the fabled GOP message discipline of the last decade?

3.) The Whole Ron Paul Delegates Thing.

I don't know the nuances of party Parliamentary procedure, but the interviews with the Paul delegates from Maine who basically got rogered by the Rules Committee left little doubt that they were screwed over. It's never good to have unhappy delegates giving interviews to eager reporters. This was the type of issue that should have been settled before people buy plane tickets.

[And just in case the GOP leadership hasn't noticed, the Paul crew aren't as pliant as the Tea Party. They're ideologues, not suckers. They appear to be innately programmed to endure the slow and grueling slogs required to takeover state party apparatuses. They've already pretty much taken over not only Maine's party, but also Minnesota's, and they've made progress in a number of other states as well. That may not sound like a big deal now, but let's be honest here: two states are two too many in the eyes of GOP central command. When -- and it's coming -- they make enough gains to start tossing their weight around, they will remember this and they will likely be just as eager to compromise as they RNC was this week.]

4.) I Still Don't Know Anything More about Mitt Romney Than I did before the Convention Started.

Did you ever hear that really touching story about how Mitt Romney helped a little old lady cross the street when he was still in high school? No? Neither have I! Team Romney can't seem to come up with one -- one! -- example of a selfless act that demonstrates Mitt has the capacity to serve someone other than himself and/or his family. Not one. Not even the smallest, simplest, briefest moment of human decency or empathy ... or even sympathy. For the love of God, most people can't go a day without lending a hand to someone else, even if they do so grudgingly. How the hell can one person live 60 some odd years without giving a shit about anyone, but himself?

5.) Too Little, Too Late.

All things considered An Romney gave a pretty good speech on Tuesday, but it's the type of thing that should have been done months ago. We should already know about the travails of raising five young boys (without or without a nanny -- and don't think some reporter isn't already looking into that detail). This is just one of the numerous ways Romney's campaign has shot itself in the foot.

6.) Chris Christie's Speech.

I'm still debating with myself how it looked on TV, but apparently it was not well received within the arena. He would have been much better served promoting the hell out of Romney, proving himself to be a loyal soldier, than flagrantly shilling for himself they way he did ... and everyone else noticed.

7.) Condi's speech.

See #6. Her speech may have been much better received, but that's only because the last half was devoted to shameless pandering. The first half, the foreign policy portion -- you know, the subject she was brought on stage to talk about? -- was met with only the smattering of polite applause at best and crickets at worse. It was also a pretty shameless display of jockeying for 2016 position. As was the speech given by...

8.) Susana Martinez.

This was actually the best speech I've heard so far, but there was little attempt to mask it's ulterior motive, which was to further the speaker's prospects and not promote the nomine. That brings us to the the underlying current running between all the major speeches at the convention:

9.) The Praetorian Guard is Restless.

Admit it: all the up-and-coming GOP heavy hitters know Mitt Romney is going to lose and it's more than likely that they're going to play this election like a team of Chinese badminton players (here's the reference for those who have already forgotten). Don't get me wrong: they won't sabotage the campaign, but they won't put in the effort required to beat an incumbent. That's plainly clear given how little they seem to be discussing Romney in their speeches and how eager they are to talk about themselves. They see the writing on the wall: if Romney loses 2016 becomes the last chance many of these pols will have to make a serious run at the White House. It's basically in everyone's self-interest to see Mitt Romney lose.

10.) Scott Walker.

Anyone who thinks Walker has a career in national politics -- something we have repeatedly dismissed even as he defies us here in Wisconsin -- is getting a good look at just how unlikely that is this week. Walker's speech tanked. He was greeted with thunderous applause on Tuesday, but left the stage with only a tepid sign of gratitude. That's something a good politician can get over, but I doubt there will be any end of mockery to his "crocodile tears of joy" moment during Paul Ryan's speech. It just looked awful -- completely phony and obviously staged (was it just a coincidence that everyone standing within a 15 foot radius of him was a foot shorter than he was?).

Speaking of awful, do you know whom else's speech sucked?

11.) Paul Ryan.

Well, America: you finally got a look at the GOP's boy wonder and found out that he's  ... boring. Conventions are clearly not Ryan forte (yet, he still has time to add this skill to his repertoire). Ryan's speech was backloaded with the crowd pleasing lines that should have been sprinkled throughout the whole speech in a kind of call-and-response exchange with the crowd to keep them involved. Instead, he bored them damn near to death. The speech was excruciatingly long and felt even longer. The shot of Ryan's young son propping his head up against his hand wasn't just adorable because it's a cute kid, but because that's exactly how everyone listening to the speech felt. This was not a political speech, but a weird hybrid between a video dating monologue and an academic lecture. Ryan will surely be better on the stump during the rest of the campaign, but this was his golden opportunity to differentiate himself from the rest of the GOP 2016 pack and he did not do that last night.

There you go ... and that doesn't even include the grotesquely ugly nut throwing incident, the dubious factual ground just about everything being said seems to rest on or any of the myriad other issues surrounding the convention.

All of the above creates an enormous hole for Romney to dig himself out of tonight, because many of these issues are going to linger on, and quite possibly for a while. Now does anyone really think Romney is capable of digging himself out of that hole? He basically has to perform a flawless triple lindy with no splash. That's not going to happen.

What's worse is that when the smoke clears and the ashes settle and Mitt Romney is finally declared out for the count it is now obvious that he will be savaged by his own party harder than any losing Presidential candidate in living memory, maybe even history. My guess is that the off-the record back-biting will begin sometime in early October and probably won't end until well after Inauguration Day. We've already been given a preview of what that's going to look like. So far it's pretty tame, but it's still the kind of thing that usually doesn't happen in winning campaigns, and rarely happens to any campaign this early in the election.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Romney will unleash the fury and go Hulk on the art of oratory tonight? Maybe this is all just one giant rope-a-dope and the Democratic Party is just bobbing it's head gullibly, donning a shit-eating grin entirely unawares that Mitt the Mauler only sees a target the size of Lake Winnipesaukee? Maybe the GOP aligned Super PAC's and special interest groups will come to Romney's aide like Gandolph during the Battle of Helm's Deep? (Maybe I can somehow shoehorn a shout out to Battlestar Galactica to solidify my geek bona fides?)

I guess we'll find out tonight.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Wisconsin Blogger's Compendium of Paul Ryan Posts

Enjoy, America!
Paul Ryan: Cassandra or Chicken Little? (4/4/10)
Ignore the Wine and Focus on Ryan's Voting Record (7/10/11)
The Evolution of Paul Ryan's "Tipping Point" (4/8/10)
Paul Ryan's Budget (2/1/10)
Paul Ryan vs. Vermont (the Winner gets to Craft America's 21st Century Health Care Policy) (10/14/11)
Paul Ryan is Born Again!!! (12/14/11)
Paul Ryan's Presidential Ambitions (2/5/10)
Paul Ryan's "American Idea" is neither very American nor much of an Idea (11/21/11)
If Paul Ryan takes Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Seriously, should we keep taking Paul Ryan Seriously? (10/13/11)
Ron Johnson's 12-point Plan to Save the Economy and Achieve Relevance (8/30/11)
Tomorrow's Ron Johnson Talking Points Today! (7/22/10)
The Smartest Guy in the GOP (2/18/11)
Paul Ryan kicks off the GOP Vice Presidential Nomination Campaign Season (10/26/11)
More on the Ryan Budget (2/2/10)
Latest Conservative Buzz Phrase: "Tipping Point" (4/8/10)
Paul Ryan Tells It Like It Is (3/12/09)
Today's Edition of Hysterical Health Care Reform Hyperventilating (4/5/10)
Paul Ryan's Budget is Pretty Much a Catastrophe on Every Level (3/11/10)
Paul Ryan Delivers an Economic Speech at a Think Tank Named after Herbert Hoover (9/28/11)
Good Idea/Bad Idea (1/6/10)
The Apostle Paul (Ryan)'s Epistle to the Hillsdalites (1/15/10)
Republicans Who are Publicly Signing on to the Paul Ryan Budget, Vol I (2/9/10)
The Juiciest Paul Ryan Gossip You'll Probably Ever Read (9/27/10)
"In the past I had been a fan of Ryan. I am not a fan any longer." (12/11/08)