Last night our senior editor and editor-in-chief liveblogged the second day of the Republican National Convention. The pandering was still there, but the target shifted from women to Hispanic voters. The RNC still relentlessly praised the sacrifices of our military, a trove of female speakers who didn’t talk about the harmful anti-women legislation, and reinforcement of President Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” speech in all of its taken-out-of-context glory.
Having had such a rousing success with their first night’s theme of “We Totally Built This With No Help Ever”, the host of the RNC – who is inexplicably a representative of the farthest continental corner from Tampa, but okay – announced that night #2 would have a new theme: “We Can Change This”. It’s not clear to us if this was too similar to ”Change We Can Believe In” for the likes of Mike Huckabee and Paul Ryan, or if no one told the speakers, or if everyone just forgot, because the entire night none stuck to the theme and some even started making up their own.
By far the most entertaining group was the Sore Losers, who seemed to have been given the opportunity to unleash their mini-manifestos on the crowd as if they were told by someone from Romney’s campaign, “Hey, if you come talk and endorse Mitt Romney you can complain and whine about how you didn’t make the ticket.” No one likes a sore loser, but there were a lot of them at the RNC last night. Here are the ones we were taken aback by:
Rand Paul came out and basically threw a tantrum over health care reform for ten minutes. It boiled down to him claiming that he knows something is unconstitutional better than the justices who have been appointed to determine whether or not something is unconstitutional. Come on Rand, you lost – can’t you stop regurgitating the Constitution bit and admit that you just don’t like it?
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio made a weird and awkward joke about making it onto Romney’s “shortlist” for veep nominee, saying, “It wasn’t short enough!” Sure, he was joking, but it seems like kind of a rude joke to make on the night that is literally meant to honor the guy who actually was chosen.
Mike Huckabee, who was introduced as “Arkansas’s own governor” even though he hasn’t held the office for half a decade, decided to bring up the fact that he had run against Romney in the 2008 primary, referring to himself as “a failed presidential candidate.” For Huckabee to even mention it is comparable to if Santorum had made a bunch of jokes about the acrid competition that went until April. In 2008, Huckabee attacked Romney on everything from his religion to eating fried chicken without the skin, and their awkward rivalry really would have been better unmentioned.
It’s All About the Businessmen, Baby
One theme that just wouldn’t die was the idea that “business experience” is somehow a prerequisite for being president. Amazingly, the fact that President Obama has never had a “real job” came up time and time again. But Obama hasn’t worked in government his entire career; he was also a professor at Harvard. If “business experience” is literally confined to the corporate business world, and not law, medicine, or academia, Obama isn’t an outlier. Here are some Republicans without business experience:
- Paul Ryan, who has hung around or worked in the government for his entire adult life
- Mike Huckabee, who has worked in tv, radio, a church, and government
- Senator Rob Portman, who practiced law, was a lobbyist, and is now in government
- Senator Ron Paul, a medical doctor, who has worked in government for the last 35 years
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been working in the public sector for 45 years
- Rick Santorum, whose only job outside of politics was four years of practicing law
- George W. Bush
- Dick Cheney
Sure, Republicans had W talking in a video about how he dealt with Hurricane Katrina as Hurricane Isaac left New Orleans with major damage, but even they can’t actually believe that having a businessman in office does anything good for the economy.
Actually, they might really believe it. Because the next unintentional theme of the night was cognitive dissonance.
The GOP is no stranger to cognitive dissonance. In fact, they seem to thrive on it. Here’s some of the things that caused us to do a double-take:
RNC Chair Reince Preibus, who we’re pretty sure was completely drunk the entire time, kicked off the anti-Obama rhetoric with some more “he never ran a lemonade stand” nonsense. Mother Jones did an article about some of the places Obama worked before law school (which includes Baskin-Robbins and and a deli), and then about some of the places he worked after law school, but if the GOP is going to discount his Senate experience and only refer to him as a community organizer then there’s really no point in mentioning all this.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got a few minutes to make some terrible jokes about President Obama and the PGA Tour, and then proceeded to accuse Obama of “missing in action.” This is odd, because McConnell is the guy who told Biden the day they took office that they wouldn’t support anything Obama would put on the table. Later, McConnell is talking about a hypothetical college grad who graduates with a mountain of debt because of Obama but forgets to mention that Ryan’s budget slaughters the Pell Grants, and in a final stab at taxation, he said that Obama doesn’t care about the “looming tax hike” which is a fancy Republican way of saying “the Bush-era tax cuts that were supposed to expire ten years ago.”
Senator John McCain made a garrulous attempt at explaining how important it is to lock up our borders and have a strong military, including off-hand remarks about how scary and terrible the world is out there and how we need a president who will represent us abroad (which obviously Mitt Romney excels at). Mind you, this is the same guy who praised immigrant contributions to the armed forces.
Condoleezza Rice reinforced how scary our world is and how important it is that we have a capable and confident leader. Although she never directly attacked President Obama – making her the most dangerous person in the Republican Party – she did say that the whole world has no idea where America stands and on whose side we are on. Unfortunately – and contrary to the great rhetoric she employed – that’s just not true: “[A] Pew Poll, released just this week, about global attitudes toward President Obama as a leader makes Rice’s concerns seem ridiculous. As summarized by CNN, 87 percent of the Germans, 86 percent of the French, 80 percent of the British, and 74 percent of the Japanese have confidence in Obama—in each case, more confidence than they have in their own leaders. More striking still, 92 percent of the French, 89 percent of the Germans, 73 percent of the British, and 66 percent of the Japanese want Obama re-elected” (Slate).
As a side note, Mrs. Rice most likely rubber stamped her candidacy for the 2016 elections if the Romney/Ryan ticket is unsuccessful. Aside from all the sexist “cat fight” comments that are bound to fill the airwaves, a Rice v. Clinton -come on, Madam Secretary we need you! - election will be the first time in many years that candidates will actually talk about policy and not make jokes about golfing.
Tune in again tonight for the Lawsonry Liveblog of the RNC!