Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Random Republican Ramblings

I caught some of the Republican Party's conference last night on News 24. There are many bad things that one can say about them, but you've got to hand it to them that they're brilliant at squaring circles.

For instance, their slogan this time around is "Country First". Who would have thought that a party practically dedicated to dismantling all of the infrastructure that gives a country definition (bar, tellingly, the military) would have the nerve to so baldly use the opposite sentiment in their campaign?

And, of course, a perennial bugbear of mine is the Republican Party's relationship with Jesus. It's difficult to understand how any organisation as avaricious and dedicated to personal/corporate selfishness could conceivably wave Jesus around as a totem. Does the lesson of Jesus and the money changers say nothing to them?

While I obviously have no truck with of the deification of Jesus, the guy said a lot of interesting and valuable things; things that are difficult to square with (at least as I perceive them) touchstones of the Republican Right. Gun-totting, gated communities, corporate greed, a blatant disregard for the less fortunate, "environment? what environment?", et cetera.

So, hats off to them. They're able to carry off with aplomb the political equivalent of having their cake and eating it. Wrapped up in a flag, and hand-in-hand with a presumably reluctant Jesus, they're able to barefacedly trumpet policies that, in part, constitute the reverse. But it's all up-front, so one can't reasonably complain about it. Kudos.


quaintance said...

You say more than me, although I listened to opening statements on the radio. They seem intent on reclaiming "Hope" and "change" for themselves. They have engaged in tokenism, allowing McCain to select the 20month governor of Alaska to be his running mate, without fully vetting her, leading their campaign straight into Troopergate and Hurricane Bristol. At least Obama and Biden have the good sense to emphatically declare that family is off-limits, but the woman was unclear, a mere month ago, what the Veep does on a day to day basis, besides shoot hunting buddies in the face. They imply she knows about foreign affairs since Russia and Canada are her neighbors, but if "Ice Road Truckers", "Tougher in Alaska", "Deadliest Catch", "Northern Exposure" and "Never Cry Wolf" can be used to triangulate real Alaska, that place is not like the rest of the USA. And the woman has apparently travelled very little outside of the USA.

The are a party of the religious right and the wealthy, and somehow, yes, those don't go together. The scary thing is that enough bigotry still exists in America that Obama doesn't have a larger lead over His Ancientness.

Plumbago said...

First, I must confess that my exposure to the conferences has been restricted to the edited highlights of speeches, and the digested commentary that follows.

I think you're right about the over-use of "hope" and "change". They seem to be getting used as if no-one has ever used them before, rather than every single election campaign (US and UK) that I've been a witness to. Still, perhaps they're like publicity, and you can never have too much of them?

Obama's immediate declaring of Palin's family life as off-limits, was definitely the right thing to do. While I'm cautious about ever taking a politician at face value [*], he seems to have been fairly consistent about avoiding making below-the-belt hits. It's probably just my prejudice, but I'm not so sure that the Republicans would be quite so principled were the shoe on the other foot.

Anyway, after a bit of stumbling about, Palin seems to have found something of a footing. It may be that her relative inexperience comes back to haunt the McCain campaign, but she seems to have "rocked the base" with her speech last night.

As a pop-cultural aside, having watched a report from Alaska last night, my Northern Exposure-inspired fantasy of a quirky but free-spirited and tolerant state kind-of evaporated. That's another thing the Republicans have taken away from us! ;-)

[*] Which I don't mean in a strictly cynical way. I appreciate that politicians serve many masters, and that statements made today in front of one audience may be discarded tomorrow when up in front of another. Like an iterated game of prisoners dilemma, one can still sum up statements to determine their worth.