GOP Convention Autopsy

GOP: We can change whatever whenever we want

As we get ready for the Democratic National Convention this week, the reviews on the just completed GOP version are in. Here are three of my favorites.

Bating lead-off are Jon Stewart and John Oliver, who explore the Rethugs’ magical mantram of “We can change that.”  Next up is Chris Hayes’ more sober take, “America Lost”,  which captures the overarching narrative of the Romney campaign’s pitch to the American voter. And finally, Bill Maher‘s New Rules segment “Recall Me Maybe” details all the former Bush Administration officials who weren’t invited; and calls out the Romney campaign’s playing of the race card.

In the Comedy Central clip above, picking up where the convention theme of heroic small business entrepreneurs left off, Oliver, who hails from England, tells a lie about how his parents’ own experience in opening a candle factory in America.  When Stewart points out the story is obviously untrue, Oliver enthusiastically agrees and launches into an explanation of how “We can change it” means the GOP is free to change the truth,  i.e. lie through their teeth, in order to serve their higher purpose of regaining control of the White House.

We can change it…And that is exactly what I’ve just done! In keeping with last nights speech [by Lyin’ Ryan], I decided to change facts, reality, and the meaning of words to make a much larger point.

When Stewart complains that you just can’t do that, Oliver responds:

“You can when you’re trying to save your country from a socialist tyrant.”

Stewart replies that Oliver is a terrible person, to which he replies:

“That doesn’t matter. I can change that.” 

Earlier in the clip, Rudi “9/11” Guliani explains Paul Ryan’s lie about the auto factory that was closed in his home town of Jamesville in 2008, during Bush’s term, but which Ryan attributed to President Obama:

“When people give speeches not every fact is always absolutely accurate.”

(Don’t miss Rachel Maddow blogger Steve Benen‘ 32 volume documentation of the 533 lies that Romney has told to date).

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 In his excellent MSNBC early morning weekend show UP, Chris Hayes recounts that the GOP delegates “gathered in Tampa to tell a terrible and tragic tale of American decline.” Their speeches were  “an orgy of imagined persecution, grievance, and doleful recollections of halcyon days gone by.

Accompanied by a montage of convention speeches compiled by Rachel Maddow‘s team,  Chris notes that most or all the speakers had an up by their bootstraps tale about themselves or their ancestors overcoming their humble origins to realize the American Dream. This “packaging of American greatness”  was meant to emphasize the upward mobility for which America was once known, but as Hayes points with some hard core statistics, is fast becoming a fading memory.

Re the absence of Bushies from the convention : “You’re not a political movement, you’re the witness protection program.”

My favorite parts of Bill’s monologue are the reaction shots of Ron ChristieDick Cheney former aide and foremost apologist, squirming in his seat as Bill reminds us of the Bush Administration‘s ineptitude; and the Rethugs’ playing of the race card to shore up their Southern white base. (Christie is African-American.) To see the shuffle, check out National Journal‘s Ron Fournier‘s breakdown of the racial dog whistles in current use by the Rethugs.

Finally, Bill Moyers and Bernard A. Weisberger tell us what all this means in the larger context of American history. (h/t Meteor Blades at the Big Orange)

We are nearing the culmination of a cunning and fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that were slowly and painstakingly built over decades to protect everyday citizens from the excesses of private power. The “city on the hill” has become a fortress of privilege, guarded by a hired political class and safely separated from the economic pressures that are upending the household stability, family dynamics, social mobility, and civic life of everyday Americans.

Socrates said to understand a thing, you must first name it. As in Athens then, so in America now: The name for what’s happening to our political system is corruption — a deep, systemic corruption.


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