August 31, 2012

The Cigar Store Mormon at the White Christian Coven

And yet, and yet...there was something oddly affecting about that sea of cheering, well-fed, and (above all else) pale faces in the convention hall in Tampa, as Mitt Romney took his turn at the dais, revving the crowd up with his promises to retain the sanctity of marriage (i.e., gays need not apply), to sanctify life itself (by making sure babies resulting from rape are allowed their chance at it), and even making fun of Obama's (former) preoccupation with that silly liberal hoax, global climate change. (The Know Nothings loved that one.)

It was a tour de force, of course.  The Cigar Store Mormon, clad, no doubt, in his occult undies, promised, as did his running mate, the creation of twelve million new jobs for the beleaguered American commoners.  How will this be accomplished, when growth itself seems increasingly impossible and when the White Christians, first and foremost, believe that charity must begin at home and must never flow from government taps?  These are details, my friends, sordid details which detract from the rousing forward momentum of these galvanizing White Christian speeches.

But back to that eerie feeling, that glow that somehow comes from listening to such tripe...and then the answer seemed plain.  Just as the audience looked like all the people in the suburban neighborhood I grew up in, the words themselves sounded like a convention speech from....about 1960!  That was it.  That is the game that Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan are playing.  Mitt talked about "turning the page" on Obama, but what he's really talking about is turning back the clock.

I admit that 1960 could be fun again.  I was very young, the country was hopeful, America was about to elect a youthful and optimistic President who promised to land a man on the moon and bring him back to Earth safely (and then delivered).  We now live in a country that isn't anything like that.  We've used up so many of the Earth's resources, and damaged so much of its fragile ecology, and so overpopulated its surface, that you can even say we don't live on a planet like that anymore (the world's population has more than doubled during that time period).

The White Christians are simply appealing to nostalgia, harking back to a day when even I was a White Christian (okay, not really, but I was going to church - under duress and all, but still).
 The GOP should consider doing their campaign videos in blurry 8 millimeter Kodak film, with everyone (especially cornball Mitt) wearing Madras shirts and tooling around in 1957 Chevy Bel-Air sedans.  Take us back, Mitt, to the days when we didn't have one-sixth of the American population on food stamps, when the federal government didn't borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends, when the wealth disparity in the country was not so vast that people, well, like you, Mitt, didn't live in a different economic realm from the hoi polloi.  When Big Government, with its bloated defense budget and endless wars, was not owned and operated by Big Business, when to be extremely rich did not mean total immunity from prosecution from any crime, no matter how egregious and damaging.

Because if you can't put together some sort of Time Machine to get us back to 1960, then you, Mitt, are going to be up against the same overwhelming forces as your predecessor, with a broken, offshored, robotized economy, with fewer than two people working to support every person on Social Security, with local governments going bankrupt and no way to print money to make up the difference (as the feds do), and with the negative effects of climate change (as with this year's epic droughts in the Midwest) right here, right now, in the actual year we're dealing with.

Bummer.  Those were the thoughts that intruded into my peaceful slumber as I awoke this morning.  It's 2012, not 1960.  That's why Mitt's fantasy doesn't work.  It's now, not then, and he's hoping to get elected before anyone notices.

August 30, 2012

From the Proceedings of the White Christian Party

Succumbing to pressures that exist only in my own mind, I tuned in to the proceedings of the White Christian Party in Tampa, Florida (with its delayed start because of the Jewish himacane which had passed through on Monday as some sort of Old Testament tocsin aimed at Southern smarm).  I watched the convention as narrated by MSNBC since the most enjoyment, for me, comes from the cognitive dissonance set up by (a) seeing and hearing something with your own senses as juxtaposed to (b) the immediate, contradictory spin put on what you just saw by the liberal talking heads, such as Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell.  This makes it fun, almost.  It's like a Spanish translation scene from Woody Allen's "Bananas."

The speeches were pretty dreadful, of course.  Mike Huckabee, an Evangelical like President Obama is an "Evangelical," bent over backwards to find common ground with LDS'er Mitt Romney and Papist Paul Ryan (if all of this sounds like a burning cross meeting in Macon, Georgia, circa 1925, well...).  The White Christians know they're up against it, and they've come out swinging.  They had their Show Negro, Condoleeza Rice, in a prominent role, as if to defuse the very obvious racist innuendo aimed at Obama all night long.  Former Secretary of Something Rice was praised to the sky by the liberal commentators, especially Matthews, because, well, she's black.  I chalk it up to Bush Nostalgia, something I thought could never happen.

On the other hand, Matthews, Maddow and O'Donnell, following a corporate script, couldn't find enough bad things to say about Paul Ryan.  The funniest criticism was that Ryan gave, in essence, a "stump speech."  Full of campaign phrases, such as "we can do this."  Well....yeah.  As opposed to, what?, a lecture with a large blackboard, PowerPoint, and differential equations squiggling from the end of Ryan's chalk?  One gets confused as to the nature of the criticism or what sort of game the commentators think they're playing, sometimes.

Actually, Ryan was pretty effective.  I had seen him speak extemporaneously on C-SPAN in the House, and he seemed like a dim bulb trying to live up to an unearned reputation as a smart, "intellectual" wit.  I'm sure that this impression was accurate.  However, when he memorized a speech written by others (Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist, gave their names), he did a good job delivering the words.  It made him look smart and sincere, no small task for this guy.  Thus, he has essentially the same talent as Barack Obama himself, that of projecting qualities which he doesn't really have through the medium of television to the 80 to 90% of the voting American populace who react only to these images.

Thus, what the liberal panel should have been talking about was Romney's "wisdom" in choosing such a mannequin (with his pretty, blonde, Catholic wife, and their adorable little brood of pretty, Catholic children) to tour the country with him.  Because Ryan, when given a script, can get the message across that Obama (his dusky doppelganger) wasted his first term by screwing around for a full year on a mess of a health care overhaul that no one likes, that forces American commoners to buy lousy coverage from private industry, and which can be portrayed (although inaccurately, but that doesn't matter) as negatively affecting Medicare.

Which is exactly what the Cigar Store Mormon needs, because Mitt himself is so uninspiring, conflicted, amorphous, and did I mention he was Mormon?  Which is a major strike against him with the White Christian Party, because Mormons believe in a fantastic variation on the mythology believed in passionately by the White Evangelicals.  The Republican factions do remind me often of the old Communist internecine factionalism involving Bolsheviks, Trotskyites and Mensheviks, with their fussy, doctrinaire little quibbles in the middle of a totally unworkable ethos. The quibbles, of course, providing sufficient cause to shoot each other.  It never occurs to the White Christian Party that with regard to Catholics, or Mormons, or Holy Rollers, that everything all of you believe is complete and utter nonsense so what the hell is the difference?

Just an existential take on political discourse.  Anyway, I'm hooked.  I just can't wait for the Tax Haven Meister himself tonight!