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(Scene opens in an apparent ghost town, gusts whipping tumbleweeds across deserted, dusty streets. Turns out it's not dust but sand, and palm fronds not tumbleweeds, but nevertheless, an evil wind has sent the moderates in town for cover, leaving a band of extreme, gun-toting republicans, jostling for control of the party. It's a lawless scene, where women are second class citizens, gays and lesbians are unforgiven, and people of color dare to show their faces. Camera flies in from the back of a boisterous gathering, where, a fresh-faced, strong woman, a kind of a ANNIE OAKLEY has the outlaws captivated with her words. She must be a craftsman of some type because she is obsessed with 'building'. )
NIKKI HALEY: "I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants...My parents started a business out of the living room of our home(stead)...So President OBAMA, with all due respect, don't tell me that my parents didn't build their business."
(Given the authority of her tone, and the rapture with which the cowboys in the room are listening, the business to which she refers surely must be the saloon.)
NIKKI HALEY: "If the President refuses to secure our borders, refuses to protect our citizens from the dangers of illegal immigration, then states have an obligation to take it on ourselves. We said in South Carolina that if you have to show a picture ID to buy a Sudafed and you have to show a picture ID to set foot on an airplane, then you should have to show a picture ID to protect one of the most valuable, most central, most sacred rights we are blessed with in America..."
(Apparently illegal immigrants are cattle rustling in this town.)
(Another speaker takes the podium, this one a radiant, gleaming beauty, blonde hair, big smile. She is warm, and speaks of women in a kind manner.)
ANNE ROMNEY: "And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it? It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It's the moms of this nation -- single, married, widowed -- who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters. You know it's true, don't you?"
(Camera pans the room; men not quite sure what this speech is about. Women mildly entertained.)
NARRATOR/(VOICE OF GOD): "The Republican National Convention came to Tampa, with the goal of 'introducing' MITT ROMNEY to a captive audience, longing to adopt this man as the next great white hope for America. ROMNEY obliged by nominating Wisconsin congressman PAUL RYAN as his running mate, just prior to the start of the festivities in South Florida. The two look like a Brooks Brothers advertisement.
Why ROMNEY needed to be introduced to the country is baffling, since the man has been running for the presidency for the last 6 years, if not all of his life. But this was the week when the script would be written, anointing MITT for the top job. It would take some doing, since the country, and particularly Republicans, didn't take to the man. How could they? The Republican party has gone from the party of Lincoln, and the liberation of minorities, to a mob just to the left of the Taliban. The Tea Party want to roll back health care, women's right to choose, gay rights, and only God(I) knows what else.
ROMNEY, in past incarnations, was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. He was a moderate, with a strong business background. But over the course of the primary season, he had to tact, like a sailor in a hurricane, to get right of the right running field, and emerge the conservative zealot he now professes to be. I'm not buying it. Naming RYAN did nothing to attract women's votes, or Hispanic votes, or black votes, or gay votes. It was a desperate attempt to shore up the right wing of his own party. That's how bad things are for him.
But after Tampa, things went from bad to ugly.
First, Hurricane Isaac gobbled up one of the precious nights in which to pull this Houdini routine.
Next came a floor fight, where ROMNEY muscled his way into the rules committee and pushed through a change to how delegates are seated, that not only infuriated RON PAUL delegates, but many of the other 'grassroots' delegates and other party officials. They could be reasonably described as the 'moderate' wing of the Republican party, and ROMNEY swept them under the rug.
Then came a thoroughly disjointed opening night, with an uninspiring, and less than genuine ANNE ROMNEY trying to convince watchers that MITT ROMNEY "would not fail." It was kind of like the wife of the husband and wife team selling snake oil at the carnival. It was not real. It did not feel authentic. It did not seem to be coming from the heart. And if anyone could have given an impassioned, and believable testimonial of MITT, it should have been his beautiful wife. But her stiff performance, along with her recent role as the bulldog fending off inquisitors on the tax return issue, completely neutralized any genuine value she could add. You can't complain about people wanting to see your tax returns, and then use the defense that people will just attack you for their contents, when you are multimillionaires with known off-shore tax accounts, in this economy! Have you no shame? I've got my finger on the lightning bolt.
The lack of shame continued, with the keynote speaker New Jersey Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE. It was widely speculated that CHRISTIE turned down the role as vice-president in a ROMNEY administration, and then came out and spoke for nearly 30 minutes before mentioning the man's name. But for the total bomb of a presentation, no doubt because CHRISTIE is much better at contemporaneous speaking and not teleprompter reading, one would have thought it was CHRISTIE running for president, not MITT. It didn't help that ROMNEY was in the hall, looking on like he was reconsidering his choice of the New Jersey governor for the plum role of opening the convention. I thought nominees didn't show their face until the big closing night. MITT would have been better off it it were so."
CHRIS CHRISTIE: "We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C. We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.
NARRATOR/(VOICE OF GOD): "Clearly, this man hasn't been around Washington D.C., for I haven't seen any compromise from the conservatives. Do you want me to hit the lightning?"
(Fade out. Fade in to a young warrior, holding command of the podium, kind of a cub scout, just given his first rifle.)
PAUL RYAN: "I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power. They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left...President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory. A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight."
NARRATOR/(VOICE OF GOD): " Holding President OBAMA responsible for a GM plant closing in his district was a nice touch, Paul. In fact, the plant was scheduled to close during the BUSH administration, and actually closed in December of 2008, before President OBAMA'S inauguration. And if it were up to you and your leader, MITT, GM would be bankrupt. You just asking for lightning, aren't you?
And how could these folks put minorities front and center position on this stage. There was MIA LOVE, a black woman running for congress in Utah. There were Latinos and women, and even a democrat, all espousing the virtues of MITT ROMNEY vis-a-vis whatever constituency they were there to represent. There was MARCO RUBIO, looking every bit the part like the young gun biding his time for a future carrying of the torch. His speech also touted the rights of minorities.
MARCO RUBIO: "America was founded on the principle that every person has God-given rights. That power belongs to the people. That government exists to protect our rights and serve our interests.
NARRATOR/(VOICE OF GOD): "Where do gays and lesbians fit into that plan Marco? Aren't they my children too? The party that is trying to deny minorities all over the country, the right to vote, is not minority friendly no matter how many tokens they can line up to deliver speeches. The party, whose vice-presidential nominee has been trying to redefine rape, take away women's right to choose along with women's health care services, is not a friend of women, despite their crocodile tears about Missouri congressman TODD AKIN'S statements about rape. And the party that is trying to eliminate health care for millions of Americans, convert medicare to a voucher system, and increase the tax burden on middle class, is no friend of the middle class, despite top loading their convention with middle class Republicans.
And then there was the closing night mystery speaker. No it wasn't MITT ROMNEY despite the still mysterious nature of his silhouette. No it was Dirty Harry, in all his glory. Ruff voice, mad scientist hair, going bat crap crazy, improvising in precious primetime. The now infamous dialogue with President OBAMA was not so much funny, as it was pitiful. It was not so much clever, as it was desperate. And when you realize it was coming from a Hollywood liberal, who in the past has supported same-sex marriage, and the right to choose, you have to wonder, what was ROMNEY thinking? Not only did EASTWOOD force the moving biographical piece on MITT out of the broadcast, but it also upstaged ROMNEY'S 'speech of a lifetime'.
All the coverage the next day was about CLINT, and that empty chair. Very little of the soaring rhetoric, that was actually, one of ROMNEY'S best speeches ever. He really came through when he needed to, but to little dramatic effect. Blame Dirty Harry for that one, not me.
No need to talk about the absurdity of the claim by MITT that he really wanted the president to succeed. RYAN, his running mate, was one of a handful of conspirators who met on inaugural night to plot the overthrow of OBAMA. He and MITCH McCONNELL, and the rest of the Republicans did all they could to deny OBAMA from any achievements, without regard to the welfare of the country. I really should set this lightning off.
But I suppose CLINT took care of that. He closed his stealing of the show with a line the rabid audience finished in tune, "Go ahead" CLINT prompted. "Make my day," the Republicans replied. Not a bad movie. I love that line.
MITT ROMNEY: "...may God bless you, may God bless the American people, and may God bless the United States of America."
(Camera slowly flies to back of room, RYAN joins ROMNEY on stage, balloon drop, music-"Living in America" swells. Then, a gruff voiced, shadowy figure with a rifle comes from back of the elaborate, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT stage contraption, toting a rifle. Shots are fired. The audience flees for the doors. When the smoke clears, the man with the bat crap crazy hair is the only one standing on the stage. Camera slowly zooms into his wry smile. Famous riff from "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly"-the whistle like a howl of the wind-plays. Whip cracks. Fade to black.)
(to be continued)
|INTERNATIONAL MR. LEATHER 2011 CHICAGO IL.|
|DINAH SHORE WEEKEND PALM SPRINGS 2011|
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