RNC Convention day one: ‘Be afraid! Be VERY afraid!’

The conservative media entertainment complex and the modern-day GOP are built upon a foundation of ignorance, fear and hatred of “others.”

This was on full display on the first evening of the RNC Convention. The day’s theme was “Make America Safe Again,” which is just another way of saying “Be afraid! Be VERY afraid!” playing to the ignorance, fear and hatred of “others” that the GOP base feeds on daily from the conservative media entertainment complex.

A series of convention speakers informed us that (1) illegal aliens, specifically Mexicans, are crossing our border and killing Americans; (2) Islamist extremist terrorists are “in all 50 states” waiting to kill Americans; and (3) Black Lives Matter is the enemy and is killing police officers. The whipped cream and cherry on the top was a huge dollop of Hillary Hatred and Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Screenshot from 2016-07-19 11:35:32It was not clear to me who the “keynote” speaker was meant to be, but The most important moment at the GOP convention was Rudy Giuliani. An Energized Giuliani painted a dystopian picture of America, shouting loudly, wildly gesticulating his arms, and spittle flying from his mouth and dripping down his chin.

Hmmm, who did this remind you of? The people who make the Hitler Rants Parodies on YouTube really need to make one for Giuliani’s speech from last night. As Molly Ivins said of “Pitchfork” Pat Buchanan’s 1992 RNC Convention speech, “it probably sounded better in the original German.”

This fear mongering hate fest was the takeaway from the first night of the RNC Convention. But what are the feckless media villagers all focused on today? Donald Trump’s super model wife and a tweet from a reporter that exposed her speech for plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008. This combines the three things the media loves the most: celebrities, social media, and their supposed media ethics (riiiight). Comparing Melania Trump’s Speech With Michelle Obama’s ; ’93 percent’ different: The Trump team’s brazenly bad defenses of Melania’s alleged plagiarism.

HumphreyMelania Trump also said, “You judge a society by how it treats its citizens.” She was paraphrasing Senator Hubert Humphrey. It did not go over well with the delegates.

This distraction allows the media to avoid discussing the elephant in the room, the brazen racism, bigotry and Islamophobia on display in the convention last night, best exemplified by the leader of the Mass Deportation Party. Rep. Steve King wonders what ‘sub-group’ besides whites contributed more to civilization.

This distraction also allows the media to avoid discussing the GOP platform approved yesterday, GOP platform calls for recycling — of old proposals, for which The Washington Post editorializes today, The GOP’s backward-looking agenda:

The party embraced a startlingly backward-looking social agenda, much of it a reaction to the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. The party favors a constitutional amendment that would overturn the ruling, enabling states to ban same-sex unions once again. It proclaims that children should be raised by “a mother and father,” expressing disapproval of gays and lesbians as parents. It signals approval for the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy. It calls for the Bible to be taught in public schools. It supports allowing churches to organize politically while keeping their tax-exempt status.

The party’s allegiance to tax cutting and deregulation remains. Among other things, the GOP would curtail a variety of environmental protections and prevent a variety of species from being listed as endangered. It would abolish the Internal Revenue Service, a particularly silly bumper-sticker proposal.

But Donald Trump’s takeover has moved the GOP toward isolationism, anti-trade populism and a concomitant ambivalence on essential economic freedoms.

* * *

Filling out the picture, the platform adopts Mr. Trump’s call to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which would be an expensive (if ineffective) symbol of America shutting out the outside world. Where Republicans just four years ago proclaimed that they “will lift the torch of freedom and democracy to inspire all those who would be free,” Trump forces nixed a line from this year’s platform that called for arming Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The net result is a platform that is more reactionary than visionary, with an emphasis on social matters that is out of step with American public opinion and an isolationist turn that reeks of counterproductive nativism.

The New York Times‘ David Brooks commented on the PBS coverage last night that most conventions try to convey a positive message looking forward to the future, e.g. Ronald Reagan’s “a shining city on a hill” shtick, but last night the GOP was “looking in the rearview mirror” longing for the past. Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” is now an apocalyptic hell-scape of a city on fire.  The GOP “has become the party of grievance,” or more accurately, The GOP is now Trump’s party of white identity and white grievances.

This was clear to anyone who actually watched the convention speeches yesterday.

24 responses to “RNC Convention day one: ‘Be afraid! Be VERY afraid!’

  1. I thought it was very nice of the Repubs to have Michelle Obama say a few words.

  2. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will announce their endorsement of Hillary Clinton today in Cleveland:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hispanic-chamber-of-commerce-endorses-hillary-clinton_us_578ec883e4b04ca54ebf6f0b?section=

    I hope that the head of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lea Marquez-Peterson, heavily advertises this endorsement.

  3. Apparently when Melania Trump wants to Make America Great Again, she is referring to 2008. Perhaps she should tell her husband.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life”

      That’s the priceless part, that she stole a line about hard work, when in fact she hadn’t done the work herself.

      Clearly she learned her speech writing skills from Rand Paul.

  4. For Sure Not Tom

    I watched until it went to prime time, I couldn’t take anymore.

    How do conservatives even get out of bed in the morning, they’re scared of everything.

    And holy crap, the overt racism, so much for dog whistles.

    They were blaming Clinton for Melania’s plagiarism! Mrs. Trump gave a speech about the rewards of hard work, work she didn’t actually do herself, and they blame other people.

    America is already great, idiots. The party of tough talk and personal responsibility was on full display as the bunch of whiny little crybabies they really are.

    • Not Tom, you are doing a fine job lambasting the Republicans, but I really am curious what your “side” (I put that in parentesis not as a challenge but because I am not certain how many “sides” there are in this dog fight) offers as strength to resist ISIS, or police killings, or control domestic terrorism, or radical Islam, or, well, pick your threat. Or do you think none of these pose a threat?

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Steve, seriously, did you really just dump a bunch of different problems into one big pile and ask for a solution? Wow.

        People killed in the US by police so far in 2016 – 545

        Per the Washington Post, from January through May 2016 – 23 people were shot by toddlers in the U.S. — exactly 23 more than had been shot by Muslim terrorists over the same period.

        According to the FBI and hundreds of police departments across the US, you are in more danger from domestic, anti-government terrorists, than a jihadist.

        ISIS is 10,000 miles away from me, there are about 30,000 of them, barely enough to sell out a minor league baseball stadium. They are a bigger problem for Russia than the US.

        So you’re in more danger from the neighbor with the Gadsden flag, your 4 year old nephew, and the local cops, than you are from ISIS.

        But ISIS is what gets the eyeballs for Fox News and scared old white people to the polls for the GOP.

        My solution for all this? Stop selling arms to the middle east, train cops to de-escalate instead of murder, and stop letting little kids play with loaded guns.

        • I was trying to remember the issues being discussed at the Republican Convention which is what you were talking about. I wasn’t asking about all of them, that is why I listed them with “or” separators. I thought you could pick and choose the issue(s) you wanted to address. Or you could pick you own topics as you chose to do.

          “Stop selling arms to the middle east, train cops to de-escalate instead of murder, and stop letting little kids play with loaded guns.”

          It happens I agree with you on the issues you selected, both in terms of their being serious issues and in the solutions you set forth. I have to say, though, that if we stop selling arms to Middle East, it won’t change anything. The Russians have been sellings arms there since World War Two, and they would just pick up the difference if we stopped. The Chinese in recent years have also been selling arms extensively in the Middle East.

          The other points you made had some validity but I think you miss the point on ISIS. ISIS is only the current iteration of radical Islam. Whatever you call it, radical Islam does pose a threat to us that Liberals dismiss with dangerous flippancy.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            ISIS is hardly the only radical group.

            There’s still Boko Haram, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda, ISIS being the updated version of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, more or less created when the geniuses in the Bush White House fired the army, sent 140,000 men home unemployed and armed.

            Al-Qaeda is active in many countries, including the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia.

            And, in some recent years, 2014, Boko Haram was deadlier than ISIS. But they’re localized, and they don’t threaten oil supplies, so I guess we don’t care about them.

            Al-Qaeda’s stated intention was to break to US economy by engaging us in an expensive fight that cannot be won. People forget that fighting in Afghanistan helped lead to the breakup of the Soviet Union. People think St. Ronnie said tear down this wall and everything was all better.

            History is more complicated than that.

            ISIS is the same, but they also want to engage us in a battle that they believe will lead to the end times.

            Watching the GOP convention it seems the GOP is ready to give them exactly what they want, and every time someone yells ISIS!!!!! from the convention floor, what do you want to bet ISIS puts it on the web and says “Look! The US wants to kill all Muslims! Join us!”

            If we’d stop arming these people they’d eventually run out of bullets and go get real jobs.

            And I think even Fox News has been reporting that Iraqi forces took back Fallujah in the last few weeks.

            ISIS is scary, but the GOP is blowing them out of proportion, and they do it to keep the voters scared and get them to the polls.

          • “ISIS is hardly the only radical group.”

            That is kind of the point I was making, Not Tom. ISIS is only a manifestation of radical Islam which is the real problem. Liberals can’t bring themselves to even say “radical Islam”, much less do anything about it.

            “If we’d stop arming these people they’d eventually run out of bullets and go get real jobs.”

            I don’t know how familiar you are with weaponry, but have you noticed the weapons used by the radical Islamists? They are Russian and Chinese weapons and ammunition. We don’t have anything to do with the weapons they use. Their rifles are AK-47 and AK-74 variants, their pistols are Tokarevs and Makarovs, their machine guns are RPD series and 14.5mm heavy MGs, their artillery is 152mm soviet howitzers, etc.

            “And I think even Fox News has been reporting that Iraqi forces took back Fallujah in the last few weeks.”

            Yes, they have…with the direct support of more than 3,000 American advisors giving them guidance. The Iraqis do quite well when they ably led.

            “Oh, yeah, and for a good laugh, remember when Bobby Jindal said we should enforce a No Fly Zone on ISIS, and the interviewer had to tell Jindal that ISIS didn’t have any airplanes?”

            I remember something like that…it was extremely humorous.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            ISIS has killed more Russian’s than Americans. We could at least try to work with them to stop ISIS.

            The only way you defeat extremists is to take away the reason for their extremism.

            You can’t bomb the extremism out of them, because you are doing the exact thing that created them to begin with. You end up making more.

            You cannot stop a lone wolf attack, so you need to stop doing the things that are creating lone wolves.

            The thing that conservatives will not say is “oil”, and until you can admit that we don’t give a rat’s @$$ about the middle east beyond oil, we will need to find better ways to prevent violence and, and like Britain/Israel/most of Europe, learn to live with it.

            I’d rather not do that. I’d rather we told Saudi Arabia “Hey, you fund these SOB’s, bin Laden is yours, you encourage Wahhabism, we’re taking our toys and going home”.

            If we’d have learned our lesson from the oil crisis of the 1970’s, we wouldn’t be having this discussion now, but our politicians, mostly on the right, but even Dems from oil/coal states, fought this.

            Remember St. Ronnie took a perfectly good solar water heating system off of the White House just to shove it in the face of environmentalists.

            That’s the mindset we’ve been dealing with, and now ISIS wants your attention and you’re giving it to them.

            And the thing that you’re saying is specifically about liberals and words is actually meant for Obama, right? It gives a good talking point to fat old draft dodgers on the AM radio and Fox News, but Obama is the President of the United States of America, his words matter.

            He’d rather not end up in an ISIS recruitment video, and that whole discussion is a little childish.

          • That was very well written peice, Not Tom, and you made a lot of good points. Thank you for sharing it.

            “And the thing that you’re saying is specifically about liberals and words is actually meant for Obama, right?”

            No, it wasn’t. In fact Obama never even entered my mind during any of the things I wrote.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            I am learning so much from watching you work.

          • I enjoy exchanging postings with you. You are articulate, intelligent and tenacious. I like that…it makes the exchanges fun. I also learn things from you and get to see a different perspective.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Oh, yeah, and for a good laugh, remember when Bobby Jindal said we should enforce a No Fly Zone on ISIS, and the interviewer had to tell Jindal that ISIS didn’t have any airplanes?

            Good times.

          • Before we all forget everything, it was the US that created and trained Osama bin Laden to establish Al Quaeda (the list). We wanted to recruit jihadis to go to Afghanistan to fight the Russians. We also created ISIS by destroying the Iraqi army. Most of the ISIS leaders are former military officers under Saddam Hussein. The so called “surge” by David Petraeus mostly consisted of bribing these Sunni army leaders not to kill us. When the bribery stopped, ISIS began. Also, we allowed Syria to become a free fire zone for years, Turkey allowed free entry into Syria from all over the middle east, Saudi Arabia and the emirates have been funding the anti Assad movement, and much of the material ended up in ISIS hands.

          • This is an interesting response, Jim. Some of it is spot on and correct; some of it is pure spin.

            “…it was the US that created and trained Osama bin Laden to establish Al Quaeda (the list). We wanted to recruit jihadis to go to Afghanistan to fight the Russians.”

            So true! It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was recognized at the time that it might go the way it eventually did, but the Soviet Union was considered the bigger threat, so we went ahead and did it. And it did, indeed, hurt the Soviet Union. It hurt it badly, so in that sense it was successful. Unfortunately it also gave rise to Bin Laden and Al Quada.

            “We also created ISIS by destroying the Iraqi army.”

            Not true. The movement that eventually became ISIS was the beneficiary of our defeat of Saddam’s Army, but that defeat did not give rise to ISIS.

            “The so called “surge” by David Petraeus mostly consisted of bribing these Sunni army leaders not to kill us. When the bribery stopped, ISIS began.”

            This one was a surprise to me…and I think it would also be a surprise to the thousands of U.S. service members who went on a major combat offensive during the surge. I never read anything about bribery keeping them from attacking us and given that we were attacking them and destroying their units, I am not certain I see the advantage of bribing them not to attack. Also, given the timeline between the surge and the rise of ISIS, it is hard to make the case for the bribery. However, if it makes you feel better, who am I to judge…

            “Turkey allowed free entry into Syria from all over the middle east…”

            Your geography is a bit skewed here, Jim. Turkey is North and Northwest of Syria. The Middle East is South and Southeast of Syria. You don’t go through Turkey from the Middle East to get into Syria.

            “Also, we allowed Syria to become a free fire zone for years…”

            I only wish we had enough control over the Middle East to allow anything. If we did, we might be more successful. The sad fact is we really don’t have the control to be in a position to “allow” anything. We are more controlled by, than control, what goes on there.

  5. captain*arizona

    afraid enough to vote for hillary. that is all you got? she better pick warren. if she picks kaine the hillary supporters will gush with phony enthusiasm. she is lucky trump can’t bring up heriraq war vote now to remind the bernie supporters.

  6. Ha! Ha! Ha! What a frightened little rabbit you are…

    • Steve,
      For some reason I wasn’t able to respond to your critique of my earlier post. I’m responding to one particular point, the way that Turkey has been used as the main entry point for ISIS recruits to enter Syria:

      http://www.danielpipes.org/14486/turkey-isis

      While we may disagree about certain points, my main thesis is that much of the current events in the Middle East can be traced back to earlier actions by the US or our “allies”. Republicans think the entire problem can be solved by just calling it “radical Islam”, without acknowledging our role. They seem to think that this movement just sprung out of nowhere, whereas there is a long history. Osama bin Laden, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al-Nusra, ISIS, there is a historical sequence of events.

      Your last point about the US lack of power rings hollow to me. As the only superpower, we have lots of power and influence. We can do lots to influence Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and all the other states that have flamed the Syrian conflict and encouraged either ISIS or pre-ISIS jihadis. I hope you’ve read the Jeffrey Goldberg interview with Barack Obama in the Atlantic recently to get a clearer picture of the forces in play.

      • After quoting Daniel Pipes on why Turkey has served as a conduit for jihadi entry into Syria, I thought Steve would like it because Pipes was a Republican. Not any more:

        http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20160722_Daniel_Pipes__With_Trump_as_nominee__time_to_quit_the_GOP.html

      • Jim, thank you for taking the time to put together a well thought out and serious response to an earlier exchange. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

        I agree that much of what we are facing in the Middle East is the result of our interference and actions – and that of our Allies (especially Great Britain) taken years ago when we actually did have influence. That is one of the reasons I say we don’t have that much influence today (other than giving or witholding financial aid). We caused more problems than we solved and Great Britain left its colonies behind divided up into “countries” that made no sense and made promises that it never intended to keep.

        I am not certain what acknowledging our role in creating some of the problems is going to do in terms of dealing with them today. The leaders of the opposition will continue to use that history to inflame whatever passion they can and an apology and mea culpas out the wazzoo will not change that. In fact it will make it worse. In the world of the Arabs, and apology is a sign of weakness and subservience, not a sign of good manners or efforts at healing.

        The truth is, Jim, I don’t feel like a Republican any more. I feel kind of lost. I am conservative with no candidate to turn toward.

        Thanks for taking the time to set put forth some good points for my consideration…

        • Steve,
          I’m not advocating apologies. I do think that our foreign policy should be more reality based, instead of based on ideology. We both agreed awhile back that the invasion of Iraq was a very significant mistake, ultimately resulting in aligning Iraq with Iran. The $2 trillion for the war probably means it cost each taxpayer about $20,000 each. Very poor use of national treasure, to remove one person from power.
          The significance of the Atlantic Goldberg Obama interview is that Obama is very candid about the forces he faces, both foreign and domestic, to intervene militarily in countries before we know the consequences. Obama keeps asking those who want to intervene, “then what happens”. That is why he has not taken any more action in Syria than providing some support to a small group of anti Assad fighters.
          Syria has been ripped apart by our allies, so that in the final analysis, our best friends are now Russia and Iran. But because of the foreign policy establishment, instead we hear about Turkey helping us fight ISIS, etc.
          The reason I bring up old policies is so that hopefully we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. As Colin Powell told George W. Bush, the Pottery Barn rule applies, if you break it, you buy it. We are still paying an incredible price.

          • One of the things I do admire about President Obama is his caution toward the Middle East. Some say he being soft on Islam, but I sense he knows it is a proverbial tar baby where getting in is easy and getting out is hard.

            I forgot to address Turkey serving as a conduit for Syria. When you talk about europeans and westerners making their way to Syria, I agree that Turkey been the best route for them. Turkey has accomodated them because Turkey sees its best interests being with weakened Middle Eastern nations upon which Turkey could exercise some serious influence.