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Friday, December 2, 2016

Republican National Convention – Night Two: @LOLGOP Liveblog

BREAKING: Republicans Accidentally Nominate The Guy Who Wants To Replace Medicare With Coupons

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Tonight’s speakers will include the guy who beat Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in 2008 – John McCain – one of the architects of the Iraq War – Condoleezza Rice – and the man whose only foreign policy credential is voting for George W. Bush’s wars – Paul Ryan. You’ll also have the man who coined the phrase Obamneycare – Tim Pawlenty – and the Republican who probably could have beaten Romney this year – Mike Huckabee.

But tonight is really Paul Ryan’s chance to prove that his moderate demeanor can outshine his extreme policies. Ryan uses the debt he helped create as an excuse to propose the most radical redistribution of wealth in American history. You know he wants to change Medicare into a program where you get a voucher to help you buy insurance, while passing the costs on to seniors. But this barely shrinks the cost of Medicare.

Where Ryan gets most of the money he’d used to give more massive tax breaks mostly to the rich is by gutting Medicaid. Medicaid is the program the elderly and the poor rely on most for health care. While the Affordable Care act grows Medicaid by millions, Ryan caps the money the government spends and sends it to the states. This would leave millions of Americans without care, suffering and dying to pay for tax breaks for people like Mitt Romney.

Why does this make Paul Ryan so popular that Mitt had to pick him? (If you don’t buy the theory the Koch brothers purchased his nomination.) It’s the GOP’s strategy of attacking “subsidization.” This is code for helping “them.” The sour economy has created an economy that the GOP is using to stir resentment against people who get government aid – instead of bankers who actually crashed this economy.

Here’s a reminder for Paul Ryan and the GOP. People on welfare didn’t cost the American people 15 million jobs and trillions in savings. People on Wall Street did.

Tonight, we’ll see how the GOP’s resentment politics mesh with Paul Ryan’s attempt to seem moderate. It should be interesting.

Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments.

***

7:32 PM EST

Rand Paul is now lecturing America on what you’d read in a Ron Paul message board.

Apparently the GOP is going to stick with the theme of purposely misunderstanding the president. What would they be talking about if they didn’t have one vague pronoun to abuse?

Paul tells a story of Vietnamese refugee greeting Americans with “Hello, Mr. Freedom Man.” Great Van Morrison song. Paul will be the one Republican to take on defense spending. Credit him with that.

 

This portion Paul’s speech in no way reflects the the GOP platform, which thinks the PATRIOT Act is way too liberal. But he veers back to GOP normalcy with an ode to the man who created our long-term debt problem — Ronald Reagan.

***
7:48 PM EST

George W. Bush makes his only appearance of the convention via video with his dad. Light hearted joking about how George W. Bush was the black sheep of the Bush family — before he became the black sheep of the human race.

“There’s no doubt in my mind Mitt Romney will be a good president.” — George W. Bush. Expect to see this in an Obama commercial.

***

8:00 PM EST

John McCain (R-Arizona) makes an appearance to remind Republicans how nominating a guy the conservative base doesn’t trust always works out.

I’m assuming this is going when they’ll criticize the president for getting bin Laden, Qaddafi and ending the Iraq War.

McCain doesn’t mention the president by name but makes the familiar blast against “leading for behind.” He airs out the unproven charge that the White House leaked defense secrets. He goes on to blast the president for defense cuts that his party voted for him.

This is the conflict in the Republican Party — ceaseless hawks like McCain versus actual smaller government conservatives like Rand Paul. And because the defense contractors help keep the GOP in business, expect the McCains to win.

McCain makes a list of all the wars we could be in. Keeping this man out of the White House is why the president won the Nobel Prize.

But McCain seems to be Romney’s most sincerest surrogate. Four years ago he humiliated Mitt in the primary, but the way Romney fell behind him must have won the senator over.

Chris Matthews: “This was a frightening, frightening speech.”

***

8:19 PM EST

More Ron Paul drama:

 

This is what happens when you try to build a party based on the premise that rich people should pay lower taxes.

***

8:33 PM EST

 

I’m assuming the speakers aren’t very interesting because no one is covering them. Newt Gingrich was just on MSNBC repeating every GOP talking point on Medicare. It seems that Gingrich is the architect of many of the attacks Romney and Ryan are running on. No wonder this campaign feels as if it’s taking place in the 90s.

***
8:54 PM EST

Rob Portman (R-Ohio) speaks with the conviction of a local attorney who is promising you a huge settlement.

 

As Rob Portman speaks I can feel Mitt Romney’s humanization slowly draining out. Like the last chapter of Flowers For Algernon.

They say Rob Portman plays President in debate prep, apparently they couldn’t find a cardboard cutout of Obama. As badly as Romney needs to win Ohio, you can see why he didn’t pick Portman.

***
9:07 PM EST

Luis Furtuno (R-PR) speaks. Gets three whole sentences of air time on Fox News.

***
9:24 PM EST

Imagine if the Democrats based their whole convention on Mitt Romney’s “I like being able to fire people.” That’s what the GOP is up to. The Democrats should make their slogan “We Hire People!” and endlessly show that Mitt Romney quote only if to hear how Republicans would cry.

***

9:30 PM EST

Tim Pawlenty is speaking. Remember when he called the Affordable Care Act “Obamneycare?” Yeah, that’s the last time he was interesting.

***

9:38 PM EST

Next up, Mike Huckabee (R-Fox News). He has genuine affability, which makes him a true loner in this Republican Party.

Huckabee keeps hitting the theme that “We can do better.” He seems as if he’s going to defend Mormonism. Huckabee points out that the only evangelical on either ticket is Barack Obama. Goes on to say, “An attack on my Catholic Brothers is an attack on me.” Huckabee says, “I care less about what church Mitt Romney brings his family to than where he brings his country.” He brags about the 16 percent Mitt Romney has given in charity, without pointing out Mitt Romney’s tax rate.

This is a huge favor Huckabee is doing for Romney in making the evangelical case for the nominee. But the crowd doesn’t seem to be riled up. Maybe they just aren’t miked properly.

***
9:55 PM EST

Condoleezza Rice opens with 9/11. Classic Bush-era politics. But she quickly bridges into the financial crisis. It is amazing how the very same people who brought us the Iraq war are well regarded, at least in the GOP. I love it when the people who couldn’t prevent 9/11 and couldn’t get bin Laden tell us what we should be doing.

Imagine if at your old job you accidentally invaded the wrong country. Would you ever expect to be taken seriously again?

“I know there is a weariness,” Rice says, then adds, “There is no choice.” My rule is when someone who was for the Iraq War says there’s no choice, there’s a choice.

Her most political moment is when she says we have never been jealous of each other’s success. Again, how did rich people crashing our economy and laying off millions of workers turn into into an opportunity to call the middle class jealous?

But Rice’s speech is by far the most composed and least jingoistic of the convention thus far.

***
10:17 PM EST

Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) is next. Opens with her family’s business’ story. Admits her parents had help, but returns to the “they built it” refrain.

Martinez is definitely a star. Republicans like to point out that GOP has more elected Hispanics. I’m not sure if that is statistically true. But Governors like Martinez and Brian Sandoval of Nevada would definitely be a part of a Mitt Romney Administration.

***

10:29 PM

Paul Ryan (R-WI) comes on following a video introduction from his wife. He says Romney has prepared his whole life for this job. Paul Ryan says his opponents are desperate to cling to power and throwing away money with attack ads. But he says Romney’s character is so unquestionable that he cannot be dragged down.

Ryan introduces his family — all torn from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. Ryan has great optics. And Republican love him with a passion they reserve for a very few — like Sarah Palin.

Ryan’s speech is plodding and pedantic. He blames the President for a factory in Wisconsin that closed during the Bush Administration?

Ryan makes the same attack on stimulus that Fox News has made for years, ignoring the millions of jobs it created. Is this really his appeal to moderates, to repeat a best of the Hannity show of the last three years?

The crowd doesn’t know whether to boo or cheer Paul Ryan. This is a dour speech that’s like a kid correcting his grandparents at Thanksgiving dinner.

Ryan attacks the president for not implementing a debt commission report that he, Paul Ryan, voted against — after criticizing Medicare cuts that he also voted for.

This may be the most cynical, hypocritical speech I have ever heard in my life. Romney did find his soul mate.

He heads into his crescendo repeating the “You did build this!” and “leading from behind” choruses that must have focus grouped extremely well. But this speech is a job creation program for fact checkers.

If this speech works, I’ve overestimated the American spirit.

He wraps up saying that we will not duck the tough issues. “We will not replace our founding principles. We will reapply the founding principles.”

His closing refrain is “We can do this.” By “this,” he means winning an election by relying on false charges, distorting his opponents’ words and record.

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