It is difficult to imagine witnessing another speech during this convention as substantive and motivating as that given by Sec. Rice. Rice critically affirmed that essential to the United States foreign policy is its fiscal health, that the country is failing the international community by not being more proactive regarding Syria, that the American education system is in disrepair, and that immigration is central to the very nature of American life. She concluded with the wonderful line that, “a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham can become the Secretary of State”. “America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable,” Rice appealed, “it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values”. It was an address that spoke not just to the hall, to Republicans, and to Americans, but everyone around the world who believes in the idea of the United States of America.
Rice and Paul Ryan electrified the convention floor. Ryan is akin to a demigod to the modern Republican Party of cuts without consequences. Naturally, the audience didn’t mind that his speech was riddled with lies and half-truths. The GM plant in his constituency closed before Obama was in office. He said Obama did not endorse Simpson-Bowles — neither did he. He sighted his love of Jack Kemp, who was if nothing else a traditional big government Republican. He provided no information on how his ludicrous and dangerous Medicare plan might work. Who are these central planners in Washington dictating the course of everyone’s life? Who doesn’t believe our rights come from nature? What I took away from his speech is that Ryan’s understanding of America is not grounded in the real or tangible, but in the nonsensical constructions of fanatical libertarian thinking and the fantastical works of one Ayn Rand.
“We built that” fails again. Steven Cohen, president of Ohio-based Screen Machine Industries, spoke yesterday and also hosted a Romney fundraising event in July this year. He received stimulus contracts worth nearly $220,000 during the Obama presidency. And on that note, I will be glad when the time comes when I no longer have to hear the refrain, “Yes, you did build that!”
I’ve always found Mike Huckabee to be an amiable and pleasant person. Maybe I was wrong. To begin with, he said in his address that the Founding Fathers believed “God gave us unalienable rights”, which just isn’t true since they were Enlightenment deists and atheists, and introduced Bible-bashing to the proceedings when he argued that Obama “supports changing the definition of marriage and believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb or even beyond the womb”. Huckabee also indulged in a little race-baiting stating, “Barack Obama seems intent on enrolling more people on food stamps”, and made an odd off-colour joke about DNC chair Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, calling her the “awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine”. I’ll let you the judge of that last one.