THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY—TAMPA EDITION

The Republican National Convention has ended leaving Romney/Ryan as the Party’s 2012 ticket, hundreds of strippers flush with cash, and the impression that Clint Eastwood may be beginning to show his age.

I will be very candid with you. I did not watch one iota of the “action”. Thus I am uniquely qualified to comment. Action at a politcal party convention these days is more reminiscent of a Sergio Leone film. The look is stark with bursts of violence but little talk. What talk there is comes from characters ill-suited to mouth it.

THE GOOD?

Well Hurricane Isaac shortened it by a day and that had two redeeming features. Delegates had more time to stimulate the local economy and a planned appearance by Donald Trump was cancelled.

THE BAD?

A succession of speeches presented a very misleading view as to what the GOP…and this year’s nominees…are all about. Distortions and misrepresentations abounded, but I guess such are to be expected in partisan venues. The Democrats have their shot next week.

But many of these misrepresentations and distortions morphed into lies due to the fact that the folks promulgating them had already been challenged by a plethora of fact checkers and the semi-official Romney campaign position was, in essence, fuck the fact checkers, we’ll say anything we want.

(A little aside. One of the leading fact checkers is Politifact, which the right is always slamming for its “liberal bias”. Politifact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. The convention was held in the Tampa Bay Times forum, named for the newspaper.)

Paul Ryan’s speech was such an egregious example that even a commentator on FoxNews called him out about it.

And poor Ann Romney. Not only has she had to ride in a car with the candidate while dogshit and barf were dripping down from the roof, she’s had to live with him thirty-eight years believing his tale of bravado in establishing Bain Capital and relaying her admiration for him doing so onto the convention goers and a national TV audience.

Alas, just as it’s always the wife being the last to know her husband’s been out of a job for 8 months while leaving at the same time each morning as when he was working, it’s revealed that the Mittster had an agreement with Bill Bain to take him back into Bain & Co.and protect both his salary and reputation if Bain Capital should fail.

That’s hardly emblematic of the pioneer and entrepreneurial spirit Romney wants to project that he possesses.

And now we come to Clint. I would not call myself an unmitigated fan of Mr. Eastwood, but I’ve generally liked his movies, especially after he moved past the Spaghetti Western phase of his career. And I don’t give a rat’s ass about his politics. Paul Newman was a liberal but I never went to see his flicks due to that.

It’s even ironic that Clint should have been afforded such a spotlight given the frequent GOP rhetoric against “Hollywood elites”. Is there anyone in Hollywood more elite than Clint Eastwood?

Anyways Clint spoke…unscripted…to an empty chair supposed to represent President Obama. Word is that he rambled on to the extent that the media air was atwitter afterwards with even conservative commentators viewing his speech as weird. You can find a sampling here.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/80501.html

THE UGLY

Two features come to mind and oddly neither was under the control of the Republican Party or any of its representatives nor of the delegates en masse.

The first was the disgusting incident.

“Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, ‘This is how we feed animals.’

“Multiple witnesses observed the exchange and RNC security and police immediately removed the two people from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.”

I do not suggest or imply that this action is indicative of a general Republican mindset. And party officials were quick to both condemn the action and work with arena people to deal with it. The camerawoman herself expressed that this was not unexpected in the deep South, but that no partisan hay should be made from it.

This last item again is not the fault of the GOP, at least so far as its’ handling of the convention. But the 105 workers cleaning the arena are paid minimum wage for Florida—$7.67 an hour. That comes to just under $16,000 a year gross, before any taxes are taken out. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/rnc-convention-workers-minimum-wage_n_1844836.html

One of the workers reported his rent is $575 a month which would be more than half of his take home pay.

 Their employer, Cleanevent, contracts for these services.

This is a prime example of the income and wealth disparity in this country. If all these 105 employees work forty hours per week for a full year, their total pay would be $1,680,000. In contrast Mitt Romney made roughly $20 million each of the past two years by not having to work at all, let alone forty hours per week.

Collectively those folks would have to toil for over eleven years to equal one year of Romney’s earnings.

What is wrong with this picture?

For these workers and the camerawoman another movie title comes to mind, Heaven Can Wait

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