Sunday, September 7, 2008

Impressions of the Republican National Convention

The Grand Old Party may be on its death bed. America’s demographics are changing rapidly. Caucasians are no longer a majority in states like California while the Southwest is becoming Hispanic (Think Reconquista). Yet this convention was a sea of white faces. 51% had annual incomes over $500,000. This is not the wave of the future.

President Bush and Senator McCain understand this reality, but the Senator dared not raise the “I” word, immigration, at the Convention. President Bush, or was it Karl Rove, ensured non-whites had prominent roles at the 2004 Convention, and seats were distributed liberally to minority Republicans. Senator Mel Martinez, former Lt. Governor Michael Steele, Michael Williams, and Rosario Marin were provided minor speaking opportunities in non-prime time this year.

Only 36 delegates, out of 2380, were African Americans compared to 24.5% of the DNC delegates, and 6.8% at the 2004 Republican Convention. Understandably, in light of Senator Obama’s nomination, the DNC would have a disproportionate number of African American delegates this year, but that doesn’t explain the absence of Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians in Minnesota. Youth were also missing in action.

If Senator Obama wins, it will be because of record turnouts by African Americans, Hispanics, and the young. The GOP is seemingly forfeiting these votes this year.

Hurricane Gustav, and its disruptions of the GOP Convention, indicate either God/Allah wants Barack Hussein Obama to be President, or did not want President Bush to attend the Convention. Gustav was “An Act of God” that provided Bush a timely excuse to miss the festivities.

Gustav also proves that the 4 day, 4 night, seemingly interminable conventions can be reduced to three nights. Monday night was a rainout, and Tuesday was non-confrontational. Two nights of red meat is sufficient to rouse the base of either Party.

The Bush Dynasty in the Republican Party is probably over and we will not see 36 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush Presidencies in our democracy. Thank God.

President Bush is now “the man whose name shall not be mentioned.”

Win or lose this year, Governor Palin’s speech established her as the future of the GOP, just as Ronald Reagan’s 1964 “It’s Time To Choose” televised speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater, anointed Reagan as the Republican leader, leading first to the California Governorship and then to the Presidency. Hard to believe in this election, but the Republicans actually have a chance of retaining the White House because of Governor Palin.

The Republicans, supposedly a well functioning machine, displayed basic inexcusable mistakes. First, Mayor Giuliani and Governor Palin spoke through teleprompter problems.

Second, the big screen was supposed to show pictures of Walter Reed Hospital during Senator McCain’s presentation. Someone must have Googled “Walter Reed” and found a picture of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood. To not test run the video is inexcusable while the presentation was incongruous.

The conclusion, of showing prerecorded fireworks on the big screen, fails in comparison to the DNC spectacle.

Indeed, the Democrats had a much better choreographed and organized convention than the Republicans.

President Bush literally phoned in his flat speech. Bush is not a naturally gifted orator, but he is capable of better.

Where was this Fred Thompson during the primaries? He might have been the nominee if he had campaigned for the Presidency with that intensity.

Senator Joe Lieberman is a modern Profile in Courage, a rarity in the 21st Century.

Mayor Giuliani provided red meat to the delegates, but his timing was off. He had a number of one-liners, but his comment to Senator Biden to get Senator Obama’s nomination in writing because of all of Obama’s flip-flops, would have been more timely 16 years ago with Governor Clinton’s well known proclivity to play fast and loose with the facts.

Senator McCain is not a speechifier, and his speech will not stand as a landmark. It does not, could not, compete with either Senator Obama or Governor Palin for soaring rhetoric, but it was from the heart. McCain did something dangerous for a politician. He opened his soul to Americans. We know McCain the man; we cannot say the same about Obama.

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