Even when you know the story by heart, where the villains are classic WWF-styled heels and the good guys are us, thank Christ, and not them, a political convention is compelling stuff. Talking heads babble and party flacks coo about how only their gang really ‘gets’ the American people. It is a riveting event, like a train wreck in slow motion, or a fat guy falling over the third base railing trying to snag a foul ball and keep his beer from spilling. It holds viewer attention, time after time.
To be sure, the Democratic Party effort to keep the wavering and the wayward elements of the 2008 Obama coalition under its now recession-tattered tent was attractive theatre. There was a clever scripted unscriptedness to the whole affair, enough rag-tag insouciance and ‘Transgendered Brazilians for Obama’ signs to leaven the bread. The President pitched it strong and reasonably well to these eyes and ears, aided by America’s most brilliant, most roguish Rhodes Scholar, and as the confetti fell, the forces of Democratic good were finally unleashed against the evil Republican foe. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings meets Raising Arizona – perfect.
The visuals alone tell the tale. The rainbow hues of contemporary American society on display in Charlotte give this Canuck comfort that – just maybe – for all of the incessant yammering about ‘middle class America’, the lame and unpersuasive story line for both party conventions, where true policy debate was not only a stranger, but an outcast, the crew that looks least like the white on white Founding Fathers is most attuned to the fundamental Constitutional values the raging right claim as their private preserve – individual liberties, democracy, opportunity, and the pursuit of a better society where the efforts of all are valued, and no deserving soul is turned away.
I observed last week from this soapbox that if the GOP convention was the best and brightest Republicans available for display, President Obama ought to wax these sad sacks in his sleep. No need to get into the ‘he said, she said’ schoolyard shite that too many U.S. liberals embarrassingly equate with issue analysis when in full on, wide eyed, breathless attack mode. No true citizen gives a rat’s ass about Ann Romney’s ironing board dinner table, or how Ayn Rand makes Paul Ryan especially evil – it is not just Atlas that shrugs, kids. Stick to the facts, Democrats – easy enough, one would think – and pound away at the tried and true. Do you want to cast your lot and your vote with the supply siders, trickle downers, and every man for himself outfit (women being, y’know, wives and wombs only for all but the most deep thinking red staters) that ensured the 2008 Great Recession is the gift that keeps on giving, or take a harder, longer, but surer road?