Friday, August 31, 2012

"I love the way he lights up around his kids" and other Republican speech thoughts

First, let me take something totally out of context, the way the Republicans are running with Obama's inept comment about entrepreneurs. 

Here's Romney's comment about his running mate Paul Ryan:
"I love the way he lights up around his kids . . ."
Wow, I thought when I heard this.  But it makes sense from a man whose religion forbids smoking.  It must be thrilling to see someone have the freedom to light up around his kids.  Of course, I'm assuming it meant tobacco and not that medicinal herb, cause then we'd need to know about Ryan's health issues. 

Fortunately for the Democrats, they don't have to take an out of context comment like this and run ads riffing on it, because Romney and his colleagues like Rep. Akin say enough real stuff to give them serious political ammunition.

I heard Marco Rubio and part of Romney's speech.  A few quotes from Rubio I thought worth commenting on:
"Our national motto is "In God we Trust," reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all."

It's interesting that Romney, a little later would say:
"And I will guarantee America's first liberty: the freedom of religion."
Let's remember exactly what the First Amendment to the Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Given the first Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion by Congress, it seems strange to claim 'faith in our Creator' as the most important American value of all. I understand the First Amendment was to get government out of the religion business and letting people practice as they please.  I would think justice and freedom would be higher on the list.

 Wikipedia reminds us "In God we Trust" was not the motto of our founding fathers. 
Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States[citation needed] until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H.J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto.[4]
And reports tell us that the convention protestors were not allowed to assemble any closer than 10 blocks from the convention.

Rubio spoke movingly about his dad.
My dad was a bartender. . . A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.
But I couldn't help think that if everyone in the US shared Mitt Romney's values about drinking alcohol, Rubio's dad wouldn't have had a job.

And then there was the homage to the convention theme of American exceptionalism:
"For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it's easy to forget how special America is. But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of the world, because he knew what life was like outside America."
Rubio's granddad, as I understand it, before coming to the US only knew Cuba - the country the US has been boycotting since Castro came to power over 50 years ago.    I have no doubt that Rubio's grandfather loved his life in the US, and his gratitude for living here is appropriate.  But I'm not buying his expertise on how things are in all the rest of the world 'outside America."  There are a lot more options than Cuba. 

The US is an amazing country and has been an inspiration to people around the world.   But so was Germany before WW I. After the humiliating Treaty of Versailles,  Hitler promised Germans he'd regain their former greatness.  Rubio suggests Romney, too, will restore the US to its former greatness and beyond:
Mitt Romney believes that if we succeed in changing the direction of our country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish the world.
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  Given that Rubio had already ranked faith in the creator as his number one value, you'd think he would remember this line from Proverbs:
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

I hope you realize this has not been a review of Rubio's (and certainly not Romney's) speech.  I've just taken a few lines.  Some of my comments are more serious than others.

I hope enough Americans realize, when they hear speeches like this analyzed by the media, that they too are taking what they see as the most interesting lines or the lines most likely to gain hits for their online articles.  Listen to or read the speeches yourself.

Rubio's speech.
Romney's speech.

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