The “media elite” (as named by the Republicans) have dubbed Sarah Palin a “star”: “Palin delivers star-turning performance for GOP” (AP). "A very auspicious debut, (Tom Brokaw of NBC), “A star is born” (Wolf Blizter and Anderson Cooper on CNN, Chris Wallace on Fox Noise). Yet, we know that the Republicans will continue to blame the “media elite” for everything that goes wrong in their campaign, and despite the warm afterglow, plenty has.
Not surprisingly, I’m not at all impressed with Palin or any of the other speakers yesterday night. The speeches were filled with lies and distortions or the usual mean-spiritedness for which Republicans are becoming renowned.
The biggest lie of the evening: Huckabee claimed that Palin had received more votes for mayor of her little town than Joe Biden did for US President. The truth is that Palin received 616 votes in 1996 and 909 in 1999 for a total of only 1,525. Biden on the other hand, received 76,125 in 23 states and DC. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, ought to know that he shouldn’t bear false witness.
Romney issued a battle cry to “change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington—throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin." Trouble is, the rightwing Bush-Cheney regime has been in control for nearly eight years. Republicans controlled Congress up until a year ago. So, if people want change in Washington, voting for Democrats is the only way to get change.
Palin shaded the truth, too. She claimed to have “championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress” in which members of Congress get little-noticed cash for local projects. However, that’s not exactly true: As mayor, she hired a lobbyist for her town and frequently went to Washington to get more federal money. As governor, she got more money in earmarks per capita than any other US state got. The most famous earmark debacle was the “bridge to nowhere”, but she only opposed it after it became an object of derision.
She claimed that Barack Obama hadn’t written “a single major law or reform—not even in the state senate." That’s simply not true, and Republican Richard Lugar co-authored one of Barack Obama’s major bi-partisan pieces of legislation. He also sponsored major legislation in Springfield. She ridicules his voting “present” on a few dozen votes out of the thousands he cast in the Illinois State Senate, somehow forgetting to mention that this is a common tactic for Illinois legislators—including Republicans.
So what did I make of this day and it’s activities? The speakers were attack dogs spewing all sorts of nonsense and even lies without offering a single proposal for how to deal with the very real problems of ordinary Americans, or even seeming to understand the problems of ordinary Americans. We heard them ridicule community organisers—the people who help ordinary Americans to deal with the ruin caused by the Republican power elite. Of course they ridicule community organisers: They’re helping the people who Republicans care the least about, namely, everyone outside the Republican power elite.
The best antidote so far to this particular Republican spin: “Jesus was a community organiser; Pontius Pilate was a Governor.”
So far, the Republican Convention has been nothing more than a bunch of people screaming hate at the other party and offering nothing positive. If I were still a Republican, this convention would have been enough to make me quit. I don’t want more smug, cynical arrogance from the Republicans, I want change in America. I’m voting Democratic.