I've been a political junkie since I was a kid, working for my old man who, besides being a small business owner (home repairs), was part of what was called "the Democratic machine" of Essex County New Jersey. I've been watching the presidential nomination conventions every year ever since we got our first TV.
But this is the first year I've been tuning out. I watched snippets of Ann Romney's speech last night and a few others, and a good portion of Paul Ryan's tonight, as well as others. But pretty much every word they said was so predictable and so predictably untrue (except for the bromides, like we're for freedom or we love America etc.) and the obvious disgust, even venom felt toward our president seemed to me unprecedented.
Mocking the opposition, even getting snide about the opposition, is classic presidential politics in my experience. But obvious outright lies projecting and promoting the idea that the president is beneath contempt, the epitome of evil and deliberately trying to undermine our union and society and well being etc. etc. etc. No, that's descended to a new level.
Every speaker got elements of that justification for contempt for our democratically elected president into their speeches somewhere somehow, and some that's all they did (I learned later from watching analysis and The Daily Show and Colbert and reruns etc.). Like the chairman of the Republicans, who illustrated exactly the point I'm making when he answered a question about running ads and making speeches that tell lies about Obama's record by dismissing "fact checkers" as irrelevant and then went on to give a speech full of lies.
Ryan is the poster boy for this, including lies even about his home town and home state (as well as about Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts). The reality is though, that certainly Republicans themselves buy into the lies and like the chairman of their party dismiss facts as irrelevant to the story they're trying to convince voters about. And unfortunately so do a lot of others, like so-called "independents" who don't fact check and pick up their information from the media that gives equal weight to facts and fiction in their coverage because they want a horse race and one that's exciting and dramatic and close enough to keep people interested for the duration.
If the Republicans were not successful in getting laws demanding picture i.d. to vote in a majority of states now, that will repress the vote, for example in Pennsylvania by as much as 9%, enough to turn that blue state red, and if the media actually talked facts and not opinions etc. Obama would be reelected by a landslide. Just the media making it clear that the economy does not need to be "turned around"—that's what Obama did, turn around an economy speeding into the abyss of another Great Depression. The economy needs to grow faster, but it IS heading in the right direction, thanks to Obama and the Democrats in Congress whose attempts to make it grow faster have been thwarted every step of the way by an obstructionist Republican party that declared on the first day of Obama's administration that their top priority was making sure he failed!
But that's not reality. What's happening is the Republicans have more money, especially the undisclosed donor kind that can run nasty lying ads in more states and more times than the Dems, and they have their own media as well as the mainstream media cowed by their insistence that any questioning of their lies only proves their "liberal" bias, etc. and many voters will stay home out of disappointment in what they believe are Obama's failures because they have bought into the message of the rightwing lies in their ads and media repetition of those lies, or not be able to vote because Republicans have managed to get voter i.d. laws passed that mostly will keep the poor and the elderly from being able to vote. There's a very good chance Romney/Ryan can "win" this as a result.
Plus a lot of folks are just tired, probably feel battered by the relentlessness of the rightwing Republican machine's repetitive propaganda (and maybe of the Democrats failure to transcend these attacks) and have lost interest in the whole political process. Which will only help the Republicans. But if we want to avoid an even worse future than the one we have ended up with after Bush/Cheney moved the country further to the right than Reagan who moved it further right than Nixon, etc. we've got to buoy each other up with enthusiasm and encouragement to not just vote but to get the message out to anyone we encounter or can reach through any means.
Here's to rising to the occasion.
[In the meantime, to the poster I shared in my last post as a rejoinder to the right's idea that anyone can become wealthy if they work hard enough and a comment on the first night of the Republican convention, here's another poster to share as a rejoinder to the second night:]