If there was one theme that was found throughout the Republican convention last week, it was this: America is awesome and everything would be great if only our guys were in power. Now, this is certainly not a new idea. It is common for partisans to see their opposition as the source of all our societal ills. But in the Republicans’ case, this is amplified into the concept of “American exceptionalism,” the idea that America is not only a great nation, but one that is uniquely blessed and, thus, obligated to spread freedom throughout the globe.
Now, this would be one thing if it were just a bunch of overblown nationalism. Pride in one’s country is perfectly fine, of course, but the concept of American exceptionalism takes that to an even further extreme, arguing that the normal rules don’t apply to the US and we have a special role unique in history. It is an attitude that causes one to overlook America’s numerous failings and sins, and to excuse actions that, if undertaken by another nation, we could rightly condemn. It is a worldview that calls anyone who questions it unpatriotic and part of the “blame America first” crowd.
Last week, I went to Tampa for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. This was sort of an odd experience for me, being a libertarian and all. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to conventions and conferences before. The oddest experience was BlogCon in Denver last November, when the local Occupiers showed up to protest us. But the RNC was a much, much larger scale event.
Tropical Storm Isaac: While I understand why Republicans saw fit to scale back events for Monday, the storm really didn’t do much to the Tampa area. It rained some, but it wasn’t near what everyone was expecting. Truth is Republicans could have gotten away with more than gaveling the convention to order. By the time the storm actually hit, everyone was more concerned with what could happen to New Orleans and the rest of Gulf Coast than Tampa.
Grassroots v. the Establishment: Over at FreedomWorks, Dean Clancy has put together a great synopsis of the fight over the new rules implemented, which won’t start until the 2016 process. We went over some of this earlier last week, but at this point many grassroots activists are disenfranchised. Many Ron Paul supporters who attended the RNC as delegates may now be looking for an alternative come November because of the rules changes.
Rule 12 would allow the Republican National Committee to change the rules if 3/4 approve. As Clancy explains, “The new Rule 16 requires that a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge to a candidate under state law or state party rules shall be deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention must record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.”
One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors said recently that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke needs to “get every consideration” for another term when his current term expires in 2014. When I saw that headline, I had to go read (and re-read) it for myself. Did he really say that?
Yes. Yes, he did.
I take a little comfort in the fact that Romney has previously said that Bernanke wouldn’t likely be returning as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve if he’s elected president. But Glenn Hubbard (no, not this guy) is a top advisor to Romney, and in that YouTube video I just linked to, one of the possible nominees for Bernanke’s job was Hubbard.
While I’m not very concerned about Romney keeping Bernanke around (he’s been a failure under Bush and Obama…it’s time for him to go), the thought that his replacement could be somebody who thinks Bernanke should be considered for another term scares me.
It’s worth mentioning that Hubbard and Bernanke are friends and have been for a long time, so there’s a chance that he’s just trying to be nice and not call his friend a complete miserable failure in the news. But there’s also the chance that he’d continue in Bernanke’s dollar-destroying ways.
Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.
Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.
In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…
…and then lose disastrously in November.
There was a great deal of excitement among conservatives and libertarians about the pick of Rep. Paul Ryan, particularly among those who were rightfully leery about Governor Romney’s credibility when it comes to cutting spending and reforming our entitlement programs.
They say no one votes based on the Vice President, and now we are seeing why. The GOP establishment is already urging Paul Ryan to drop his support for his own Pathway to Prosperity budget plan – and it appears Ryan himself is already backing away from certain components.
It feels like Sarah Palin all over again. In 2008, McCain chose the maverick, buck the system Alaska Governor and then promptly tried to shove the square peg in the circle hole. The results were predictably disastrous. What is the point in picking Sarah Palin if you don’t let Sarah be Sarah.
One has to wonder whether the Romney campaign is about to make the same mistake. The reason conservatives and libertarians love Paul Ryan is BECAUSE of his budget plan not IN SPITE of it. Take away Paul Ryan’s ideas and you have a very nice, telegenic, young Congressman from a swing-state, but you don’t have a game-changing VP pick. What is the point in picking Paul Ryan if you don’t let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan?
Mitt Romney should adopt the Ryan Plan, not the other way around. It would certainly be easier for Romney, a man who has been on almost every side of every issue, to move to the Ryan position than it would be for the principled Congressman to abandon his signature proposals.
If Mitt wanted a yes man, there were plenty of them. He didn’t pick a Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty, he picked Paul Ryan. He should let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan.
Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading.
I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine who is a very “progressive” guy. He’s the type that buys into all the horror stories about Republicans and libertarians. You know, we don’t care about the poor or women’s rights or worker’s rights and we’re cruel, intolerant etc etc. He started off the conversation by claiming “Romney panders to stupid people. Obama does not…Obama doesn’t bend his beliefs to fit an uneducated and sensationalistic base.” If you didn’t fall out of your chair just now at the sheer stupidity and myopia of a statement like that, then I ask you to read on, dear Reader, because what follows may be of interest to you.
It’s still far too early in the game to take polls seriously, though it’s hard to ignore them either. Polls really matter around 60 days away from an election. But given how Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his running mate was supposed to be a political loser from the word “go,” polls are showing that he has received a bit of a bounce.
While Gallup may not show a bounce for Romney in its national tracking poll, other polls aren’t backing that up. Via Hot Air comes numbers from Ohio and Virginia, two very crucial states in the upcoming presidential election, showing good news for Romney. The numbers, however, also show positives for Obama in Colorado and Florida:
Romney has seen the largest gain in Ohio, a state we have seen bounce between the campaigns over the last few months. Today, the GOP ticket leads by 2 points (46% to 44%), compared to July when President Obama led the state 48% to 45%. Romney also gained ground in Virginia – today, he and Paul Ryan hold a 3-point advantage in the race (48% to 45%), while Romney trailed by 2 points in July.
However, President Obama has seen improvements in Colorado and Florida. In Colorado, the Obama-Biden ticket now leads 49% to 46%, an increase from a 1-point lead in July. In Florida, the Democratic ticket trails by just 1 point (48% to 47%), compared to a 3 point deficit in July…
On Saturday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Anecdotal evidence seems to show that the enthusiasm has definitely increased among conservative voters for the Romney campaign. The crowds have gotten larger at Romney-Ryan events. However, similar anecdotal evidence seems to show that the left is just as fired up and more motivated to defend Obama. Meanwhile, reading the Tweets and Facebook posts from my libertarian friends show that the Ryan pick has not made them more willing to consider the Romney ticket. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Ryan selection.
The biggest positive about the Ryan selection is that this campaign may actually wind up being a debate on the future of our country. The Obama campaign is already seizing on the Ryan budget plan and is attacking it as destroying Medicare, Social Security, and just about every other government program under the sun. Now is an opportunity for the Romney-Ryan campaign to articulate an argument for limiting the size and scope of government as a means of reviving the economy. The American people would be well served by a debate over the size and scope of government. Also, ultimately, given the other choices that Romney was considering, Ryan was probably the best pick. Romney needed to pick someone who would fire up the ticket.
So often these days, we hear complaints about the divisive nature of partisan politics and a longing for a time when candidates were more genial and our politics more civil. Alas, in doing so we seek for the equivalent of the elusive white unicorn, something spoken of in hopeful measures but rarely seen in our nation’s history. Even our Founding Fathers, for whom I have the deepest respect and utmost admiration, were not always paragons of virtue in these matters. For example, the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two men who had enjoyed fifteen years of friendship “without the smallest interruption,” was, shall we say, a most discourteous one. In the New England states, the Federalists warned that Jefferson was an atheist, and people would have to hide their Bibles should he be elected. By contrast, Alexander Hamilton wrote that Adams was a man of “distempered jealousy…extreme egotism” with an “ungovernable temper” which produced a natural tendency towards “detriment to any cause of which he is the chief…”
Still, an attack ad released last week by Obama surrogates at the super-PAC Priorities Action USA, which essentially implies that Romney is responsible for the death of a man’s wife, show just how deep in the mire Obama (who somehow obtained sealed divorce records of at least two prior opponents, which he used to destroy them) is willing to go to win re-election.
The ad features the bitter and forlorn visage of one Joe Soptic, a steel worker at GST Steel, one of the many companies invested in by Bain Capital. Soptic’s wife died of cancer, and he blames Mitt Romney for her death. With a tone meant to evoke in the viewer sadness for his loss and anger at Romney’s heartless complicity in her death, Soptic laments:
This weekend Mitt Romney announced that his running mate would be Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Ryan gained a lot of notoriety recently with his better-than-Obama’s budget proposal, which aimed to balance the budget in the next 3 or 4 decades.
It’s a sad day for conservatives when the hero to save them from their budget woes needs 30+ years to balance the budget.
Still, Ryan is the latest non-libertarian making waves about balancing the federal budget, so I would like to believe that Romney’s pick of Ryan is more about sending a message that he is (or that he wants to be) serious about fiscal issues rather than a pick to appease the Tea Party folks who don’t really care for Romney.
I am, however, a bit confused over the Tea Party excitement of Ryan. Sure, Romney could have made a worse choice, but Tea Party leaders are acting like the problems with Romney have vanished now that Ryan is on the ticket.
Let’s remember this is the same Paul Ryan who not only supported TARP but went to the floor of the House to beg his colleagues to do the same. This is the same Paul Ryan who supported the auto bailouts. How do those positions qualify anyone as a fiscal conservative?