“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”
—Rick Santorum, January 1, 2012
kay, it took about a twelve pack, but I made it through the night watching the evening speeches at the Republican National Convention.
Hopefully, you all had better things to do than spend an evening gazing at a sea of white conservatives, listening to sometimes angry white speakers tell us that the Scary Negro in the White’s House is robbing all the nice, hard-working whites and giving the booty to other lazy, scary Negroes.
That, my friends, was the one coherent theme of the night, once you cleared away the fog.
I will offer up a few observations on what I saw, after John Boehner declared that President Obama should be tossed out of the White’s House Bar and Grill for, uh, offering health insurance to those who don’t have it, or something like that. It was that kind of night.
Chris Christie‘s delivery of the keynote speech was, I think a fair-minded observer would say, at best angry and at worst pissed off. As was noted by many a commentator, he spoke mostly about himself, which is probably why he was in such a foul mood.
He said, less than lovingly,
We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down…
He said that just before he started tearing down Democrats.
Christie also said,
Our seniors are not selfish.
He better hope they are if he wants Republicans to win in November, since his party is selling its Medicare overhaul to them by assuring the geezers they won’t have to suffer its effects but their children and grandchildren will.
Ann Romney, God love her, did her best to tell us why Mittens was fit to be president and why he will work harder than any human being in the history of the planet to ensure that, well, that, uh, uh….I’ll have to go check the transcript on that one. I’m not exactly sure why she thinks Mittens ought to be president.
The various governors who spoke spent most of their time noting their personal economic achievements, which is funny since those achievements came under a president they claim is asphyxiating economic achievement. More tortuous Republican logic I suppose.
Rick Santorum‘s speech was very special. It was special in this sense: If an atheist wanted to advance incontrovertible evidence that there was no God, it might be the fact that Santorum managed to tell that fact-checked lie about Obama gutting welfare reform without being struck by a rather large and deadly bolt of heavenly lightning straight from the hand of the being who reportedly said,
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
But—I am now speculating—that since Santorum was not fried by divine outrage, there must have been some Talmudic technicality employed here, like, say, that Barack Obama, not being born in America, is not really a “neighbor.” God, as we all know, is a stickler for technicalities like that.
In any case, my favorite, and I assert most representative speaker of the night, was someone named Janine Turner, an actress and “talk show host” I confess I had never heard of. Her presentation pretty much set the tone for this night at the convention, and it nicely sums up what most Republicans actually think about government and the president who leads it.
She began my evening of beer-enhanced entertainment with what can only be described as a call to arms, delivered in a very creepy manner. When a Republican begins an address with, “Hello my fellow patriots!” then you know Democrats are about to be assaulted with both barrels.
Ms. Turner commenced her attack on Democrats with a lie, the substance of which was repeated in some form or another by nearly every subsequent speaker and a lie that deserves some space to refute. First the lie:
Our Constitution guarantees us a republican form of government in Article 4, Section 4, but our liberal brethren, they don’t feel constrained by our Constitution—that’s convenient for them—by ignoring constitutional limits they do what ever they like, don’t they? Yes! Like grow the government to unbelievable and unsustainable heights and accumulate historic and catastrophic debt.
Now, I’m not exactly sure how high liberals would like to see government grow. It is entirely conceivable that they would like to see it grow to “unbelievable and unsustainable heights,” although Republicans have set a standard that Democrats will have a hard time surpassing.
But the problem for Ms. Turner’s thesis that liberals have accumulated “historic and catastrophic debt” and that they want a very tall and unsustainable government is that it so happens the very right-wing Washington Times, which I am sure is part of Janine Turner’s bathroom reading regimen, began a story in October of 2008 with this wonderful paragraph:
George W. Bush rode into Washington almost eight years ago astride the horse of smaller government. He will leave it this winter having overseen the biggest federal budget expansion since Franklin Delano Roosevelt seven decades ago.
The story goes on to note,
Mr. Bush already is the first president in history to implement budgets that crossed the $2 trillion a year and $3 trillion a year marks. His final budget, which comes to an end Sept. 30, conceivably could near $4 trillion, depending on the final tab for the financial rescue.
The Washington Times article also included this:
…federal budget numbers show spending under the Bush administration rose from 18.4 percent of GDP to 22.5 percent – a 4.1-point increase – and could end up even higher.
The only presidents to approach that level of growth were President Carter, who grew spending as a percentage of GDP by 1.5 points, and President Ford, who grew it by 1 point. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan and Clinton all decreased spending relative to the overall economy.
Measured in dollars, “Federal spending has grown twice as fast under President Bush as under President Clinton,” said Mr. Riedl of the Heritage Foundation.
Hmm. But there’s more:
As a result of all this spending, the country has gone from a $128 billion budget surplus when Mr. Bush took office to a deficit of at least $732 billion in fiscal 2009, according to OMB. The final 2009 deficit likely will be even higher.
Of course the deficit was higher—much higher—and it is that trillion-dollar-plus deficit that Mr. Obama inherited and with which we still live today, thanks largely to Republicans, who cut taxes and went on a spending binge.
So, that’s that.
But Ms. Turner’s real point—and the subtextual theme for the night—was yet to come:
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Yes. But today Obama enabled an entitlement society that says, “Give me liberty and gimme gimme.” Why? Because Democrats depend on dependence. America was not born with a gimme-gimme mentality and American liberty cannot survive with a gimme-gimme mentality. America was built with her hands at work, not with her hands out…
Free enterprise has paved the way for Americans to earn their own success and it has created an America that has yielded an unprecedented level of progress. This progress has lifted up humanity to greater heights of living and a greater level of dignity. Mitt Romney will preserve this exceptional American legacy.
Barack Obama? Barack Obama will destroy it. Obama is stifling the American Dream primarily because it isn’t his dream. His dream is not of an independent people. His dream is of a dependent people based on the failed principles of antiquated government.
You see? Obama, the “food stamp president,” doesn’t dream the same kind of dream those white folks in that Tampa convention center dream. In fact, he not only doesn’t dream their dream—the American Dream—he is actively seeking to “destroy” their dream, to take what they have worked so hard for and give it to those lazy folks with their “gimme, gimme” hands out, their greedy, undeserving—and pigmented—hands.