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“Poor Donald Trump”: His RNC Prime Time Billing Goes To The Other Clowns

Donald Trump, a television character in a 1980s-era satirical dystopian future SciFi movie, was supposed to have a big “surprise” on Monday at this week’s RNC, which he wasn’t invited to (he says otherwise but he is delusional), but then the Republicans were “forced” to cancel because of Hurricane Isaac. And they didn’t reschedule it.

What they did make time for at the convention included a song by the guy your grandma liked on “American Idol” a few years back, a speech by former Hooters promoter Connie Mack and an old man yelling at a chair.

The old man yelling at the chair was, of course, legendary American actor and director Clint Eastwood, who was invited because I think the organizers assumed he wasn’t as crazy as every single other Republican celebrity, but then he went and did the craziest thing of the week. (I don’t think Eastwood is crazy, actually. He’s just … eccentric.)

That had to be particularly galling, for Donald. This totally unvetted rambling piece of absurdist theater got prime billing right before the nominee, but the dumb video he made was just ignored completely.

Poor Donald didn’t get any attention this week for his craziness, because he wasn’t invited to Tampa. Because he embarrasses the Republican Party. Because he is basically a giant national joke. Donald Trump, object of fun for all Americans, was too embarrassing to be allowed to go to Tampa and ruin Mitt Romney’s party.

You know who was in Tampa? And not just there but constantly being followed by a gaggle of reporters eager to listen to every statement he uttered? Jon Voight. Jon Voight was a special guest at the Republican National Convention, because he is less embarrassing than Donald Trump. Jon Voight, who was in “Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2,” and who is, in 2012, most famous for being Angelina Jolie’s embarrassing estranged father, was on Fox like every 10 minutes while Donald Trump was in New York being ignored by everyone.

Also Stephen Baldwin. He was there too! Everyone said he was super nice.

Those two people — both of whom are completely insane, by the way — are less embarrassing than Donald Trump, who for real thinks he is a well-respected and feared businessman and not a TV clown. I feel so bad for the guy.

By: Alex Pareene, Salon, August 31, 2012

September 1, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Empty Chair, Empty Promises”: GOP Convention Fails At Principal Political Goal

Going into the Republican Convention, Mitt Romney had one major political mission: to convince swing voters that he isn’t just the guy who fired their brother in law – that he understands their lives and is on their side.

Given his record as Governor of Massachusetts – 47th among the 50 states in job creation – and his history at Bain Capital – Romney can’t really make the case he has any experience creating jobs.

But the thing that really stands between Romney and swing voters is the perception that he has zero empathy – no comprehension of what life is like for everyday Americans.

So the Republicans tried very hard to tell stories that humanized the otherwise robot-like Romney. But here is the bottom line: when multiple speakers have to testify how authentic you are – you’re not.

The first night of the Convention did feature Ann Romney delivering a simple message: you like me, I love Mitt – so he must not be so bad.

But it also featured a cast of Governors doing auditions for 2016 – saying very little about Romney – and a great deal about their own “successes”. When Chris Christi gave the Convention’s Keynote address he didn’t even mention Romney until the very end of his speech.

Night two featured Paul Ryan whipping up the right wing base and delivering brazen lies about the Obama record. Ryan’s speech was a feast for fact checkers. From his assertion that Obama failed to prevent the shutdown of the GM plant at Janesville – which was closed before Obama took office – to his attack on the Obama for failing to take seriously recommendations from the Debt Commission which he himself voted to oppose.

Most egregious was Ryan’s claim that ObamaCare “cut” Medicare by over $700 billion. In fact, of course, far from “cutting” Medicare benefits, ObamaCare actually improved Medicare benefits and achieved $700 billion of savings for the Medicare program by cutting huge overpayments and subsidies to big insurance companies. Not one Medicare recipient has had his or her guaranteed benefits cut by ObamaCare – and Ryan knows it.

Of course, all the while Ryan was lying about the fake “ObamaCare” cuts in Medicare, he and Romney are planning to eliminate Medicare. They have made clear they want to replace it with a voucher program that would provide a fixed amount of money per person and require that seniors shop for coverage on the private insurance market. Their plan will raise out of pocket costs by $6,400 and eliminate the guaranteed benefit that defines Medicare and has meant that American retirees haven’t had to worry about their health care costs for over half a century.

The final night of the Convention, the Republicans made a concerted effort to “humanize” Mitt Romney. They put up a string of former friends and associates to tell stories aimed at trying to make him seem more caring and human.

Then, Bob White, the Chairman of Romney for President, and former Partner in Bain Capital talked about his business experience. White told the story of how Romney was asked to come back from Bain Capital and return to Bain Consulting to save it from collapse. Of course White ignored the fact that, as a new article in Rolling Stone indicates, he achieved that recovery through a federal bailout.

The essential role of the government, by the way, is a consistent, though never mentioned, theme that continued when it came to Romney’s “turn around” of the Salt Lake Olympics that receive a larger federal subsidy — $1.3 billion – than all of the previous Olympics combined.

Then came Tom Stemberg, the CEO of Staples, that had been funded by Bain Capital who argued – in one of the stiffest, least “everyman” speeches ever – that when the Obama campaign contends that Romney is out of touch with ordinary people, “they just don’t get it”. In fact, Tom led the assembled delegates in the chant: “they just don’t get it”. Multi-millionaire Tom Stemberg is a strange choice to serve as cheerleader for how Mitt Romney understands ordinary people.

Ray Fernandez, the owner of Vita Pharmacy, who told everyone how important Bain Capital was in creating his business, followed Stemberg. By this time the Convention was beginning to sound like a business development seminar.

Then came Kerry Healey, Romney’s former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, to tell us about Mitt’s Massachusetts record. No mention of the three quarters of a trillion dollar increase in fees on everyday people. No mention of the fact that on his watch Massachusetts was 47th out of the 50 states in job creation. No mention of RomneyCare. No mention that his policies increased student class sizes, or that when he left office, Massachusetts had the highest debt per capita in America.

Next was Jane Edmonds, Romney’s former Massachusetts Director of Workforce Development, who testified to Romney’s “authenticity”. Edmonds went on to argue that Mitt believed in promoting women – particularly to “senior” positions. No mention of his refusal to endorse laws that would require equal pay for equal work.

Edmonds tried to convince us that Romney was not one of those leaders who “focused only on his own success” – but rather would work hard – selflessly — to make life better for other people. Now there is a tough sell.

Then came Olympic athletes to testify about how Romney turned around the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. Forgot to mention those Federal subsidies.

There were videos and home movies. Romney saying that when he traveled a lot, he would call home and find Anne exasperated from five active little boys. Caring guy, he told Anne: “Just remember that what you’re doing is more important than what I’m doing.” Really?

After the videos, we were treated to a “surprise” guest — Clint Eastwood — who argued that the Obama Administration failed to do “enough” to eliminate unemployment. Clint forgot about the fact that when Obama first took office, he confronted the worst economic disaster in 60 years. He forgot that Obama staunched the loss of 750,000 jobs per month that had resulted from the failed trickle down policies of the Bush Administration and that Mitt Romney hopes to revive. He forgot about the last 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth — over 4 million jobs – and, most importantly, forgot that the Republicans in Congress have done everything they can to sabotage the economy including refusing to pass the American Jobs Act that independent economists say would have created another million plus jobs.

Then Eastwood rambled through a bazar, awkward dialogue with a faux Obama during the first fifteen minutes of live primetime network Convention coverage. His presentation will be the most talked about event of the convention. And the Republican Party put out a statement distancing itself from Eastwood’s strange presentation just minutes after the Convention adjourned.

When Eastwood finally withdrew, Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced Romney recanting stale rightwing bromides – whipping up the Republican hard core. Never a mention of the need for immigration reform, or the fact the Mitt Romney vowed to veto the Dream Act, and is the most anti-immigration candidate for President that of a major party in modern history.

Finally, came Romney – stiff and awkward as ever. Touting his record at Bain as a “great American success story”. Once again he blamed Obama for presiding over the “worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.” Let’s remember that the policies that he and Paul Ryan want to reinstall in Washington – tax cuts for the rich and letting Wall Street run wild – caused this economic catastrophe. Romney reminds you of an arsonist complaining that the fire department hasn’t done a good enough job putting out the fire. And in the course of his speech he never offered one idea to create jobs other than reinstating the failed Bush economic program.

Romney went on to attack the Obama foreign policy – apparently forgetting about his own recent disastrous foreign policy tour.

But most importantly, Romney did nothing to “Etch-a-Sketch” his image of the out of touch, prep school educated, son of a corporate CEO.

At the close of this Convention the most memorable stories that everyday people remember about Mitt Romney the person still have to do with a dog strapped to the roof of his car, or the way that, as an 18 year old, he led a gang of teenagers to bully another student. The most memorable facts about Mitt Romney remain that fact that he “likes to fire people” and did exactly that as CEO of Bain Capital.

Mitt’s convention fell short in its attempt to convince everyday Americans that he understands who they are and how they live and that he’s on their side. That is one of the major reasons, that those ordinary Americans will not elect him President of the United States.

By: Robert Creamer, The Huffington Post Blog, August 30, 2012

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Half-Time In America”: It Isn’t Political, It’s American

Many Republicans want President Obama to fail. That’s  completely understandable and defensible, if one is talking about success or  failure in his re-election campaign. It’s stunning when that’s extended to the  performance of the economy as a whole or any of the nation’s job-supplying  industries.

Thus we have uber-political operative Karl Rove  complaining about how offended he was by a Super Bowl TV ad, sponsored by  Chrysler, which  extolled the recent resurrection of the nation’s auto industry.  The ad  featured tough-guy actor Clint Eastwood talking about the remarkable   comeback of the auto industry, and underscoring the qualities which  truly  characterize the best of America—resilience, optimism, sacrifice,  and hard  work. The script of the commercial, “Halftime in America,” is  as inspiring as  any speech made by an actor in a movie or a political  candidate in a campaign:

It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of  work and they’re  hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to  make a  comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.

The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They  almost  lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting   again.

I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And,   times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our  heart  at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it  hard to see what  lies ahead.

But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and   acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough  times, and  if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one.

All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind?  How do we come together? And, how do we win?

Detroit’s showing us it can be done. And, what’s true about them  is true about all of us.

This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right  back  up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our  engines.

Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to  begin.

Really, could anyone have a problem with that ad? It featured   scenes of Detroit, and of middle-class people, working hard in a  struggling  economy and trying to make their city and their lives  better.

Yes, Rove had a problem with it. He said he was “offended” by  the spot, adding on Fox News:

I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an  extremely  well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have   Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his   political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy  corporate  advertising.

Rove seems to be referring to President Obama’s bailout of the  auto  industry, and suggesting that somehow that money was used to pay for a   thinly-disguised campaign ad for the Obama re-election campaign. A lot  of  Republicans were opposed to the bailout, saying the companies should  be subject  to the rules of capitalism. GOP presidential contender Mitt  Romney famously  penned a New York Times op-ed  entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

What is it about Detroit that so many conservatives despise? That   it’s a still-breathing example of the “old economy?” Is it Motown music  they  hate, or the fact that it’s full of labor union members? Is the  distaste for  struggling Detroit so pronounced that people actually want  the city to fail?

Had the auto companies indeed failed despite the bailout, Rove and   Romney would have looked brilliant. But the companies are recovering  nicely,  paying back their loans (with interest), and making profits, in  part because of  concessions made by the labor unions so despised by  conservatives.

There is surely a legitimate philosophical argument to be made  that  the government should not bailout out big businesses (an argument not   often extended to include huge tax breaks for profitable industries).  Pure  capitalism indeed stipulates that businesses should succeed or  fail on their  own. Critics can legitimately argue that government  should not prop up any  industry, no matter what the implications for  employment. They can be angry  that the auto bailouts happened, but it’s  unconscionable to be angry that the  bailouts worked. Comebacks—as the  New York Giants proved, winning the Super  Bowl after an uneven  season—are about as American as it gets.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, February 7, 2012

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Auto Industry | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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