Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Republican National Convention

I finally got a chance to watch the Republican National Convention.  I have had to resort to transcripts and excerpts before today.

We started the evening by spending Date Night watching the new movie 2016.  I was unfamiliar with the "anti-colonial" model of President Obama, and it certainly makes more sense than "Muslim" or "Socialist", although these might yet be true.

We made it home just before 10PM in time to catch the introductory speeches.  Clint Eastwood did indeed show up and made a few well-placed extemporaneous comments, plus a small comedy routine with an empty chair in which President Obama was imagined to be sitting for an interview.  I wasn't sure if he was prepared enough, but he seemed to remember his outline and stuck to it.  This speech was unusual in that it was not squeaky clean and polished, and so represented a big risk of flopping on the most important night of the convention.  Kudos to the RNC for taking the risk, and kudos to Eastwood for pulling it off without "screwing the pooch."

Eastwood was followed by Senator Marco Rubio, who delivered an excellent defense of the philosophy that is America.  I am familiar with the term "American Exceptionalism", and I believe that Rubio is one of the finest evangelists of this philosophy.  I have read in many comments written to online articles in which many Europeans question the validity of American Exceptionalism.  I think they miss the fact that today their nations are more like America, and so what was once exceptional now seems less so.  Yet there are many nations still who have not achieved the systematic freedom we take for granted, and so it takes someone like Rubio, whose family's life story treads the path from tyranny to freedom, to remind us of our virtue.

What most resonated with me was Rubio's description of his father and mother working long hours following emigration from Cuba so that he and his siblings and their offspring might have a better life.  My wife Kathy's grandfather emigrated from Hungary following World War 2.  The story of their departure on foot from Budapest as the Soviets closed on the city is one of fear, of utter fatigue, of the strength of kinship, and of total sacrifice.  Her father and uncle made that trip as children, riding in a cart pulled by their uncle's cavalry horse.  Her grandfather had been a respected attorney in Hungary, but could not find any such work in the United States.  Yet he persevered in whatever he could do, and his children built incredible families and futures, and their childrens' destinies are secure after three generations of accumulated hard work.  In America, it is possible to succeed, even if you start with nothing.  It takes education and industry and time, but America holds open the wide gate of opportunity to all comers.  The element of time is what I think the Liberals miss; it's as if they want everything for everyone now, even though it takes one or more lifetimes to build and maintain success.

Romney's speech was good.  Reagan might have given something more stellar, but I will not complain.  In many ways, Reagan spoiled the speech-giving process for many politicians that came after, because he made it look so easy and did it so well.  But Romney hit all the bases, used a dash of humor here and there, and got his audience participating in a few back-and-forth sessions.  I learned a few things about him tonight, specifically about his father and the impact that his immigrant heritage had on him.

Kathy has really grown politically.  I saw her nodding vigorously a few times during 2016, and Rubio's speech clearly moved her as well.  She does not have the time to follow the news, so her dad and I do what we can to send her online news.  As a result, she learned a great deal about Romney tonight, and is far more comfortable with him than with Obama.  She is a small businesswoman through and through after seven long years.  She still doesn't have a salary--hopefully next year--and she doesn't want to be demonized when she does.  We've put a lot of effort into our business, and no one can give us back those years or take credit away.  We are pleased that Romney and Ryan praise us for the work that we put in, and the jobs that we created, and the customers that receive valuable goods and services through and from us.  We grow the economy; we don't take from someone else in a zero-sum game.  If Obama understood this and communicated it through his words and actions, then his policies would look radically different and would be more likely to succeed.

We're looking forward to the debates.  We're hoping that Paul Ryan can keep Joe Biden from disarming him by turning everything into a joke.  If he can, then Ryan will clobber Biden.  As to the Romney-Obama debates, we hope that the they are not a complete farce like all the rest have been over the last several presidential election cycles.  We really liked the format that Mike Huckabee used for the Republican candidates, by using states' attorneys general to ask the questions and press them home one candidate at a time independently.  The field could be widened to have questioners include business people, skilled and trade laborers, state and local government officials, educators, retired military, and so on.  We'd find a lot more about the candidates than letting them spar under the most artificial rules and time constraints.

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