The RNC had its ups and its downs.
I think that no matter what political walk of life you’re from, if you saw Condoleezza Rice’s speech, you’d have said to yourself, “It’s a damn shame this woman isn’t a candidate.” Agree with her or not, she commanded respect up there. She gave an important speech. And, if you were watching the convention through eyes and ears like mine, you might have also noticed she was talking WAY over the heads of the people at the convention. She was leading an intelligent discussion, making salient points, and the people in that room didn’t know what to make of most of it.
But such is the price of responsible, adult politics.
Then, of course, there was the Paul Ryan speech, which was so full of blatant untruths it was practically fact-checked out of existence. And I’m not just talking about your normal news organizations. I mean it was rocked by Fox News’ website, which posted: “…to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. “
I’d like to applaud Fox News for allowing that content to grace the untamed wilderness of their website, as that was certainly not the place I’d expect to locate such a commentary. On the other hand, once I read that, I began to wonder if I should ask my doctor if Thorazine was right for me.
Because the human mind can only handle so much irony in one moment.
Still, whether you consider conventions a parade of liars, or attack dogs, or simply empty, ra-ra rhetoric, the big story was Clint Eastwood’s speech. I’ve never seen anything quite like that. A lot of people will tell you it was bizarre, or batty, or just plain weird. But I totally disagree.
I think Clint Eastwood’s speech was the most lucid thing at that convention.
Clint Eastwood stood next to an empty chair, and pretended to have a humorous (?) conversation with an invisible Barack Obama.
And you may have found that funny. Or you may have found that odd. Or maybe you found it demeaning to the office of the Presidency. But I found it to be the absolutely perfect representation of the GOP at that time and place; and I don’t think it should have been surprising to you at all.
Because the Republicans have been campaigning against a Barack Obama they’ve created out of thin air for four years now.
They say he’s a Fascist. They say he’s a Communist. They say he’s a Socialist. That he’s leading a government take over of health care. That he’s raised taxes on the middle class during a recession. That he’s going to put your grandma in front of a death panel.
They say his early records are all “sealed.” That he’s planning a Gestapo-like security force. That there will be a civil war if he’s re-elected. That he “raided” Medicare. That he “gutted” welfare of its work requirement. That he told business owners they “didn’t build” their businesses.
And they say he wasn’t even born in this country.
Put simply, they have been running against a fictional candidate made entirely out of BS and fear for the entirety of his presidency. And these are not typical we said/he said policy lies, either. These are bizarre, hyperbolic, fear-driven, questioning-the-man’s-identity-as-an-American and a decent human being type of lies. All of them fact-checked by multiple sources, all of them blatantly untrue.
And what’s worse, the GOP electorate are eating it up. They are now literally distrustful of multi-sourced facts, because they believe a second delusion that the media is part of some absolute, left-wing conspiracy to promote the Presidency; which leads me to a serious concern that we have bigger problems in this country besides our political divide. Because it doesn’t matter what party you identify with; if you’re going to be so purposefully ignorant of fact and truth that you actually manifest your fear into a totally new creation, devoid of reality, that’s not politics anymore.
That is approaching the literal definition of insanity.
And so, to me, Clint talking to the Invisible Barack Obama was the most truthful moment of the convention. Clint Eastwood simply brought along a visual aide to match the fictional reputation many people in his party believe in. He finally introduced us to this man that frightens Republicans so very, very much.
And there he was(n’t)...
Right there on the stage.
Swearing at them.
In words only they can hear.
So, I say, good for them. At least the delusion is starting to congeal into something representing reality, even if it’s not quite tangible yet.
That’s therapeutic. That's progress.
You can follow/yell at Patrick on twitter: @PatrickinPublic