The Republican National Convention starts on August 27 in Tampa, Florida.
If you’re thinking of attending, you’d better make reservations now.
Or rather, you should have started making reservations about six months ago.
The best hotels in Tampa have been booked solid for months along with the convention halls, rental cars, rental tuxedos, and
RentBoys escort services. You can probably find yourself a Motel 6 out in Plant City, but anything closer than that is likely booked up by now including the campground at Lettuce Lake.
It’s going to be big – not, you know, Rush Limbaugh big, but big. Husky sized.
The first Republican National Convention in 1856 was a dinky little affair held in Pittsburgh. That convention was mostly about electing a national committee and getting things organized. The party was formed out of a diverse bunch of anti-administration types (think 1800’s version of Tea Parties), disaffected political groups, and a large number of folks opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In that first convention, Republicans established a platform that was anti-slavery but interestingly enough called for increased federal sovereignty in US territories and specifically demanded federal assistance to the transcontinental railroad (A private business who at that time was struggling financially and needed a bailout, but I digress).
Also, ironically, the new party platform was quite explicitly anti-Mormon.
Republicans met up again later that same year in Philadelphia to nominate a candidate for president, John C. Fremont, who handily beat the Know Nothing (American Party) candidate Millard Fillmore but soundly lost to Democrat James Buchanan. They did win a number of congressional seats however. Four years later, the 1860 Convention nominated Abraham Lincoln and they won their first White House. The rest, as they say, is history.
Republican National Conventions since then have been notable for certain contentious events.
For example, former Republican president Teddy Roosevelt showed up at the Republican National Convention in 1912 and challenged the incumbent William Howard Taft for the nomination in a move that nearly broke the party in half. Roosevelt, despite being my favorite of all presidents, was engaged in a pretty blatant bit of assholery. See, at the end of his second term Roosevelt had personally chosen Taft to be his successor, but was so disgusted with the resulting administration that he challenged his former protégé for the nomination. Taft won the nomination and Roosevelt stormed out of the GOP to form the Bull Moose Party and compete against the Republicans for the Oval Office anyway – and thereby spit the party and handed the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
In 1964, Barry Goldwater beat out a bunch of Republican candidates who were much more popular with the conservative establishment and won the GOP Nomination at the convention - and suddenly presidential primaries became almost as important and hotly contested as the general election.
At the 1976 Convention, Ronald Reagan directly challenged the Republican incumbent Gerry Ford for the nomination – and very nearly won. Given the events that transpired during the last years of the 70’s, I have to wonder how very different the world would be today be if it had been Reagan vs. Carter that year. I strongly suspect the Iranian Hostage Crisis would have had a different outcome if Reagan had beaten Carter for the Presidency in 1976 (Note that I didn’t say a better outcome).
1976 was also the last contested Republican National Convention. Contrary to early predictions, 2012 doesn’t look like it will break that string and devolve into naked mud-wrestling for the nomination – though there may be a bit of that going on in the Tampa Airport bathrooms, but I tactfully digress.
Reagan was back in 1980 and the Convention that year was about as joyful as conservatives ever get outside of a book burning. They had a sure winner that year and they knew it, nobody wanted poor hapless Jimmy Carter reelected – not even the Democrats.
By 1992 the glory days of the Reagan Revolution were emphatically over. George H. W. Bush stumbled into office on Reagan’s coattails and promised no new taxes. Instead he delivered four bemused years of material for late night comedians and talk radio hosts, both on the left and the right. The only thing Bush had going for him was that he managed to get the hell out of Iraq in under six months without killing more than a handful of American troops, a lesson apparently lost on his idiot progeny. After raising taxes, even if it was the right thing to do, Bush couldn’t have gotten himself reelected if he was running against the rubbery preserved brain of Blondi, Hitler’s own pet German Sheppard, in a pickle jar full of onions and formaldehyde. It was pretty obvious that a liberal was going to be the next president, and not just any liberal either but a hayseed bumpkin from Arkansas with a ball-busting dyke-bitch feminist lawyer for a wife. Predictably, conservatives began uncontrollably pissing themselves in earnest and forlornly heralded the coming of the Horned One. They went back to their do-it-yer-own-damned-self homemade backyard bunkers and furiously stocked up on generators and canned beans to await the End Times. The Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas, was notable that year for the pervasive stench of desolate panic and for Pat Buchanan’s speech where he basically told progressives, moderates, and less extreme members of the GOP to fuck right off to hell, sooner rather than later. Sane republicans could have marginalized that message right then and there, instead in their Clinton-induced panic they embraced Buchanan’s extremism and thundered hard right en mass waving their bibles and automatic rifles like talismans against evil.
They’ve been stampeding in the same direction ever since, hell bent for leather and trampling the memory of Lincoln beneath their churning hooves. At this point they’re not going to veer aside until they hit a wall or charge headlong over a cliff.
The 2012 convention is unlikely to change the course of the Republican Party. Just like 2008, they’ve ended up with a lackluster candidate who reminds me of one of those cardboard cartoon cutouts they have at fairs. You know, you stick your head though the hole and somebody takes a picture of your face on the strongman’s body, or the clown, or the Wall Street executive, whatever. It’s hard to tell who Mitt is going to be this week, the guy is a chameleon in a thousand dollar suit. Conservative enthusiasm is more than a bit forced again this year. The spiritual descendants of Pat Buchanan don’t much care for Mitt Romney, just like they couldn’t stand John McCain, but Romney’s the guy they’re stuck with like it or not.
As a result, the Republican National Convention this year isn’t going to be about Mitt Romney. Indeed, the convention this year is much less about getting Romney into office than about getting Obama out.
Conservatives don’t have much love for Mitt, but they sure as hell embrace the idea of “anybody but Obama” even if they have to vote for Hitler’s pickled dog brain.
This year’s convention isn’t about how much conservatives love Mitt, it’s about how much they loathe Obama.
Seriously, it’s the only goddamned thing these people have talked about for the last three years.
At the 2012 Republican National Convention, you’re not going to hear the modern analog of Abraham Lincoln “talking like a giant inspired” about all men being equal. Instead you’ll hear about those lazy minorities and those filthy immigrants and the poor with their entitlement mentality.
You’re not going to hear a Ulysses S. Grant imploring his own party to reach across the political divide and heal the nation. What you will hear is how America is for Americans and how they’re going to take “their” country back.
You’re unlikely to hear a Theodore Roosevelt, winner of both the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize, pounding the podium and thunderously demanding the progressive regulation of business and power, you won’t hear him speaking about the obligations that the wealthy and privileged classes owe to the nation. No, what you’ll hear instead is how rich people and Fortune 500 companies shouldn’t have to pay taxes because they’re going to create jobs, eventually, probably, real soon now, and how regulations are bad because business has learned its lesson and will be self regulating, just like JP Morgan demonstrated yet again last week, and HSBC Bank USA is demonstrating this week before Congress. Self regulating, right.
Nor will you hear a Dwight D. Eisenhower, the great Republican president who planned and commanded the defeat of Nazi Germany and who was the first Supreme Commander of NATO, who created the Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare, extoll the virtues of expanding Social Security or the Interstate Highway System. However, if you’re really lucky, Dick Cheney might speak about his five draft deferments, after which Glenn Beck can explain how taking care of old people and helping the poor get access to healthcare is the first step to Marxism.
You’re not even going to hear any big Reaganesque ideas for restarting the economy or creating jobs or restoring America’s supposed lessened place in the world. You’re not going to hear about bringing Americans together, or about a shining city on a hill or even about ending a Cold War. But what you will hear is how we maybe ought to start another Cold War, with China this time or maybe India. You’ll hear all about how shitty America is nowadays and how we just need some more tanks and stealth bombers and maybe a war with Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood to pull us out of our downward spiral.
And you’re going to hear a whole lot about that traitorous Kenyan socialist who’s stinkin’ up the White House. He’s the Anti-Christ, you know, End Times, Armageddon, Last Days and all of that. Ook ook!
Hell, it’s already started, today Romney declared that this election is for America’s soul.
Frankly I thought the guy was creepy enough when he was just into magic underwear, now he’s after our souls.
Accordingly, everybody who’s anybody in conservatives circles will be at this year’s Republican National Convention.
Well, everybody who’s anybody except for Sarah Palin that is.
Seems she didn’t get an invite.
Not that she’s sulking or anything.
It’s her own fault, for tellin’ the truth.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one accepting consequences for calling out both sides of the aisle for spending too much money, putting us on the road to bankruptcy, and engaging in crony capitalism. In accepting those consequences, one must remember this isn’t Sadie Hawkins and you don’t invite yourself and a date to the Big Dance.”
This isn’t Sadie Hawkins and you don’t invite yourself to the big dance?
Uh, actually, Sadie, you sort of do invite yourself to these things.
And, what? She can’t get a date? Todd’s busy that night with, um, fishing? Hunting? Dancing with the Stars? What?
Of course, Sorry Sarah is all soggy and hard to light because so far she hasn’t been invited to speak (What? Now, now, let’s not be making jokes about asking the pit bull to speak. Speak, girl, speak! Good doggy, yes you are… er, I mean that would just be petty and juvenile).
I’m not really sure why this is a surprise to Ol’ Sadie. The Tea Party has made no bones about disliking Romney and neither has their Princess. Palin basically ran Romney over with her Paul Revere I’m-Not-Campaigning Campaign Juggernaut of Patriotic American Freedom here a couple months back. Palin herself never forgets a slight or an insult, ever, so, you know, not asking her to speak at the Republican Convention just seems like returning the favor to me.
And seriously, what’s she going to say in her big speech? Hey, I’ve been bashing the hell out Romney for the last year, but, uh, now, uh, pit bulls, lipstick, everybody, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!
Here’s the thing, Romney doesn’t need Palin. The Tea Party is going to grit their yellowed teeth and they’re going to hold their noses and they’re damned well going to vote for Mitt Romney, because, well, anybody but Obama. You can bet money the Tea Party will turn out to vote, they don’t like Romney, but they purely hate Obama and just like sex they won’t get any pleasure from it but they’ll do their duty nonetheless.
No, what Romney needs are the fair-weather Republicans, he needs the undecided vote, he needs the moderates – and frankly, Palin and her simple-minded word salad rhetoric and her legion of tea-maddened flesh-eating zombies turns those people right the hell off.
Add to the fact that Romney makes more than enough verbal gaffs on his own, he really doesn’t need Palin muddying up the waters.
Not that she isn’t busy doing it anyway.
Yesterday she told Fox’s Greta Van Sustren (because, really, who else, right?) that she thought Condi Rice would make Mitt a “wonderful vice president.”
“She has much more experience than our sitting President does today.”
Really, Condi’s got more experience at being a president than Obama? Really? OK, obviously some of us haven’t moved past 2008.
Sustren asked Palin what she thought about Condi’s well known pro-choice stance.
“We need to remember, though, that it’s not the vice president that would legislate abortion, and that would be Congress’s role. And we’ll keep that in mind.”
Suddenly Palin’s all, hey, it’s OK to be pro-abortion because, you know, it’s like Congress that’ll be doin’ the legislatin’ and shit. So, we’re all good with that baby abortiony stuff now.
Seriously what the fuck?
Oh yeah, that’s what Mitt needs, right there.
Mitt Romney should be damned glad that Palin is right, this ain’t no Sadie Hawkins Day.
See in the Li'l Abner comic strip, Sadie Hawkins was the "homeliest gal in all them thar hills.” When she didn’t get invited to the dance, her father declared Sadie Hawkins Day and called together all the unmarried men in Dogpatch for a footrace. At the threat of being shot, the men started running with Sadie close behind. The one she caught and dragged over the finish line had to marry her.
Then again, maybe that’s not such a bad idea for picking Candidates after all.
It would sure make this year in Tampa a whole lot more interesting, that’s for sure.
Run Mitt, Run!