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The 2012 Democratic National Convention

Barack Obama, America’s 44th president, loped into the arena last night applauding himself. When he stepped up to the podium, his eyes looked tired and his eyelids were heavy. He said next to nothing, really, which is what he stands for. It’s what his presidency ultimately redounds to. Nothing has been accomplished with his wars, nothing has been gained and much has been lost by those rich, poor and middle class – anyone who creates wealth – in terms of Obama’s government-controlled economy and nothing has united us as a nation since he was elected. Nothing is what Obama seeks in every sense.

He spoke in a familiarly practiced cadence which is clearly not authentic – the way he spoke was rehearsed, forced, as fake as everything he’s said, from his comments on TARP and bailouts to the maligned policeman in Cambridge and the ObamaCare law – as if he’s got himself convinced that street talking while tearing down capitalism and millionaires is a divine duty. He acts as if he has a grudge against anyone he perceives as falling outside his pre-judged parameters of what he considers “fair”. The closest he comes to looking like he stands for something and gives a damn is when he’s talking trash about people who work hard to make money – very hard in terms of effort – especially lots of money. Denouncing the productive who become rich, whom he reduces to “those with the most”, he lies, preaches duty and “citizenship” and he mocks parents giving children money when they’re down and out.

The act is getting old and his vacancy is becoming clear. As Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer, who foolishly raved about Obama’s wife’s speech the other night, said of Obama’s speech: “There was nothing in it.” No one represents the nothingness, the nihilism – evidenced by today’s sneering comedy, vile TV programs and depravity everywhere – spreading throughout America (with religionists waiting to fill the void) – more singularly than Barack Obama, who deserves to be called the Nothing Man. He was right in the first few minutes that this is a choice between two different paths, but he has the audacity to claim that his is a legacy of opposing fascism – he used the word fascism – though his is a record, according to facts, of seriously advancing fascism in the United States.

Even one’s most basic accounting of his record shows that he’s a fraud: speaking of veterans and the poor who have been hurt by his policies, he pulled a bait and switch from his 2008 theme, announced that the people’s suffering inspires him and declared: “you were the change.” His biggest applause line is a euphemism for power-lust that says everything crucial about Obama; he deadpanned, staring vacantly like a zombie into the void: “I’m the president.” If the left criticizes Romney, the rich and Republicans for being callous plutocrats looking down upon the little people, and they do, there is no better example that it’s Obama, the New Left and Democrats that hold America and Americans in contempt and seek to command them shut up, kneel and obey government control. It was the ultimate appeal to authority: the power-lusting Nothing Man might as well have said “I’m the dictator.”

With Michelle Obama having preached envy in a hateful speech and Bill Clinton having paid his petty dues in a rambling rationalization, Obama threw out another big lie when he declared that “our commitment to Israel must never waver” knowing that it already had in a voice vote in which Democrats, doing damage control over their inbred hatred of Jews and Israel (and they say it’s the Tea Party that hates!), blatantly ditched democracy (watch the floor vote here). In a convention in which a young woman seeking government birth control subsidies declared her opposition to a public figure trying to silence a private citizen with slurs – about the radio host whom the Obama administration has tried to silence – and the keynote speaker is the child of the founder of the radical multiculturalist group La Raza (the race in English), the fact that Democrats dropped their provision acknowledging Israel’s capital fits the party’s appeal to tribalism. After all, this is the party that welcomed an Arab terrorist into the White House and appeased – and appeases – Islamicists around the world. As the Democrats wrap their gig in Charlotte, North Carolina, their nomination of the most anti-American U.S. president in history tells the independent voter everything he or she needs to know about how they propose to govern. In the words of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, according to Bob Woodward’s new book: “We have the [congressional] votes. F— ’em.” That is exactly what Democrats aim to do to you, too. Whether you know it or not.

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Clinton’s Anti-Climax

I don’t know how the ex-president Bill Clinton will be remembered, though I suspect his main legacy may be how he embodies the narcissism of our times. Tonight’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, in which he nominated a lousy American president whom he race-baited four years ago, certainly fits that possibility. He was, as usual and like Oprah, centered upon himself the whole time. There was very little room for the Obama administration, merely a reactionary defense in which he managed to invoke his own presidency as a constant, condescending stream of rambling consciousness, including his own wife, long-suffering Hillary, Obama’s chosen secretary of state, a sad figure who arguably would have made a better president but fell victim to her husband’s narcissism. The moment in which he mentioned the woman who is legally his wife was best captured by a camera pan to their only child, Chelsea, sitting and declining to approve her father’s perfunctory, faintly demeaning citation of her mother by sitting stone-faced and withholding applause. Their long, national psycho-drama continued tonight with his wagging finger – the same finger which was instrumental in his pointedly and pathologically lying to the nation about what was frankly a sordid and unbecoming exercise of his power.

Clinton overstayed his welcome yet again, as he did in 1988, droning on to no particular effect, firing up the rank and file by sounding passionate without being passionate. His speech was both an apologia for the dreadful Obama, whom he probably can’t stand, and an off-key aria about himself. He stepped out and promptly mocked the American self-made man, preached cooperation and, in what was his best moment, offered that this year’s presidential election is a contrast between the Democrats’ philosophy that we’re all in this together vs. the Republicans’ view that you’re on your own.

The speech’s theme rings partially true. The GOP this year, because it is not the nihilistic New Left, does represent a small move away from being lumped into a collective against one’s will, being smothered and suffocated by government control – imagine being on the Titanic with someone telling you that “we’re all in the same boat, you know” as comfort – toward something closer to a society in which one may be free to think, speak, associate, love and act of one’s own free will, pursuing happiness according to your own vision for yourself and your chosen friends. Clinton’s right that Obama versus Romney is a contest between stepping up to working on the chain gang – we’re all in this together – and liberating oneself from the shackles of Big Government to be free to think, create and make money – you’re on your own.

But Clinton strayed from the theme as he often does, losing focus, becoming distracted, winding his way back to Clinton and insisting that the put-upon hall of delegates and assorted Democrats “listen to me now.” He warbled. He rationalized. He lied – declaring that Obama would bring “lots of new wealth for innovators” was the real whopper – and, of course, adopting his smarmy, signature gesture, the impeached and disgraced president waved his finger as he did when he lied about his White House affairs when he should have been taking down the pre-9/11 Osama bin Laden, whom he refused to kill when he learned he was hiding in a mosque. The latest Clinton convention speech – his seventh if you’re keeping score – was a conventional rundown that, with any luck and common sense among the American people, amounts to a defensive pre-emptory plea not to blame Obama’s defeat on him.

Bill Clinton’s speech was anti-climactic, nominating a failed president I call the Nothing Man, who was like a ghost tonight even when he loped onto the stage. He rattled off lies, half-truths and disconnected facts, statistics and assertions that don’t begin to explain why we’re approaching the brink of economic collapse. “… I want you to listen,” the college-bred huckster from Hope, Arkansas said, talking for 48 minutes about himself and the college-bred activist-lawyer from Hawaii, Indonesia and the South Side of Chicago who once promised hope and change and instead delivered us deeper into a nightmare. That Clinton said so little of substance raises the stakes for Obama tomorrow night.

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Michelle Obama’s Tirade

Today, the Democratic Party opened its convention in Charlotte, North Carolina by appealing to those who hate capitalism, Jews and the rich. It started with news of a refusal to acknowledge Israel’s capital in the party platform and ended with a scathing speech which is one of the most vitriolic denunciations of American ideals in a major political speech. The invective was delivered by the woman known as the First Lady, who lost any right to that term with an assault on the United States of America.

Watch the speech and make your own judgment. After nearly 30 minutes of watching Mrs. Obama denounce making money, ownership of material possessions and everything self-made, I’ve made mine. Michelle Obama came out of the closet, as the saying goes, with her unfiltered hatred of capitalism and individualism and the moral basis for both: egoism. In a speech preluded by an artist who has in recent days apologized for offending gays, climaxed by an unemotional spurt of emotionalism to induce unearned guilt, and finished by her not so much walking as storming off, she gave what was unanimously declared brilliant, ingenious and moving by those fools that pass for intellectuals on Fox News and other TV outlets.

The hate speech was coded, but the hate was there, like the blowing of a silent dog whistle, which we keep hearing so much about: she wants to take down and destroy what’s left of capitalism and kill it. Let there be no doubt who she aims to attack: anyone who creates value, produces wealth and makes money and lays claim to have created, produced and built it, rightfully owning it, or those who want to. There she was praising her husband for “turning down high-paying jobs” and being altruistic, i.e., “giving back” to the community, which means sacrifice for the sake of the collective, or race, or gender – anything but acting for one’s own pursuit of happiness, a noble ideal which she and her husband detest – while presumably dastardly Mitt Romney had the audacity to have a Swiss bank account, another idea she hates. All this while grimacing and letting a forced, hostile smile repeatedly turn to a sneer. Hers was a diatribe against America and the Americans she hates. The intellectuals accepted it as harmless, every last word of it, and non-controversially successful.

But the Michelle Obama speech was hateful, not successful, by any honest measure; contemptuous of those who make money. Moreover, hers was an attempt to pass her husband off as a deity based on what she considers the virtue of poverty – being penniless, poor and deliberately depriving oneself of wealth – hailing his digging through dumpsters and looting someone’s trash while driving a beater as evidence of his moral superiority. Like her predecessor, a forgettable keynote speaker named Castro who sounded more like the Communist dictator than the mayor of a city in Texas, Michelle Obama lied. She said she supports a woman’s right to choose to control her own body, an assertion which contradicts her support for her husband’s devastating two-year-old law ObamaCare, which negates every American’s right to his own body, health, property, and life.

In the most vicious moment, she railed against America as a place where her father had to work to pay off her government student loans, a fact she clearly resents, though she pitched the resentment differently, distorting the facts and casting an inversion of her father in the role of the self-made man, who knew, she said in a swipe at real self-made men (and women) who created, forged and made this country, “what it meant to be a man”. In warped Michelle Obama’s primitive, thick-headed macho version, a virtuous man is one who is proud merely to have made a payment on (not even paid off) a government loan, as against the man who earns enough money not to have a loan, the type of man she regards as an unfairly advantaged man whom we should envy, resent, hate, tax and take down. There is the meaning of and forecast for a second Obama administration, in what amounts to this wrong, wretched woman’s middle finger at the United States of America: a bitter, hateful pitch for self-abnegation and envy.

Some foolish pundits, such as MSNBC’s pathetic Chris Matthews or Fox News’ vacant Brit Hume, were content to condescendingly pat her on the head and tell her she did a good job and wore a pretty dress (how far feminists such as her have set back women). But none of the commentators bothered to notice that the presidential Mrs., wife of Obama the Nothing Man, expressed pure hatred for the productive individual. On the day the Democrats stripped our ally Israel of recognition of their capital, their leading female comrade, praising poverty as virtuous, mocked and denigrated our nation for its highest principle: the right to life, liberty and the inherently selfish pursuit of happiness. Some of us already knew that the Obama administration was leading us to poverty. Now we know that Mrs. Obama is leading the way, poking her preachy middle finger with an attitude that says ‘up yours’ to any honest moneymaker. Let the intellectuals rave about who she’s wearing and genuflect over the empress and her new clothes. Some of us see Michelle Obama for what she is: a cruel, callous, backward woman with archaic and rotten ideas.

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Romney, Son of Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was an apt preview of his prospective presidency, which at this point – and I say this barring any major developments such as an Obama smear or Romney meltdown or external event – looks like a solid possibility if American voters have any decency left.

The son of one of the party’s major proponents of pragmatism, the late Michigan Governor George Romney, who was also a Mormon, made a real show of his religion and the speech was intellectually empty – preceded by an anti-intellectual rant/performance art exhibition by Clint Eastwood – churchy, folksy and simpering. Romney, who wore too much make-up and blinked too often, came off as petty and negative and utterly devoid of ideas, despite a couple of good lines. As usual, Mitt Romney tried too hard, throwing in lines about Cuba, Israel and repealing ObamaCare, which the father of RomneyCare contradicated by pledging replacement, to score political points, not to make an argument on principle, was was left to his running mate Paul Ryan, also a Big Government pragmatist, though one who at least claims with some credibility to govern by principles. The anti-intellectual evening was classic Romney, the consummate politician (as I’ve said all along) and his vacant, pseudo-patriotic speech reminds us how low we should hold expectations for his presidency, which I think is likely to face catastrophic foreign and domestic crises.

But Romney, a businessman like his father, is not Barack Obama, a fundamentally dishonest president whose Democratic National Convention convenes next week, and at least some of Romney’s decisions, such as his naming Ryan to the ticket and his economic proposal, are an improvement over a nihilistic president who has contempt for capitalism. Keep the barf bag handy for the Democrats, who are sure to lie, smear and sneak their way through the campaign, and the parade of scoundrels who have made life miserable these last four years – have they ever – but when you start to feel good about beating Obama this November, watch Romney’s acceptance speech to sober up and get a fix on what lousy shape we’re in.

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The 2012 Republican National Convention

I have attended exactly two Republican National Conventions, both in the north – in major industrial cities – both nominating conservative Western governors. My first took place 32 years ago, when, as a teenager, my brother dropped me off at a suburban Chicago bus stop where I boarded a bus bound for Detroit, Michigan, I bunked at Eastern Michigan University’s dormitory in nearby Ypsilanti, painted posters urging Americans to dump Jimmy Carter and was thrilled to see one of my heroes, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, address the convention at Cobo Hall and, as former California Gov. Ronald Reagan was nominated and almost named former President Gerald Ford as his running mate, debated issues with other kids, adults and politicians for four days before taking the bus back home. I’d been an activist since the age of nine, when I organized a union of my fellow elementary school students to counter a gang of bullies from a rival Catholic school. When I returned from Detroit, I was ready to roll.

A lot happened before I attended another convention; I’d worked on Capitol Hill for a congressman I respected, I’d read Ayn Rand and learned that politics is among the last, not the first, steps in a series of applications of ideas to reality, and I’d struggled as an artist in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Then, 12 years ago, I became the only freelance journalist granted press credentials at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, where I wrote reports, columns and interviews for several newspapers. It was a sobering experience. By 2000, the press had become an industry entrenched not with independent-minded intellectuals but with me-too cynics, wannabe celebrities and sycophants. The politicians were worse, much worse, speaking in bland platitudes and implementing horrible ideas. Renting a room from Philly’s most gracious hostess (who became my friend), an immigrant and small business owner named Hadassah, and hanging out with her delightfully individualistic four kids, I could see that, while the conventions had become showcases for the worst in U.S. politics, an American sense of life remained among the middle class.

Yet life in America deteriorated and became more urgent at the end of the 20th century, those dark days when we seized an immigrant child at gunpoint, forcing him to return to a dictatorship, did nothing to unequivocally end states that sponsor Islamic terrorism after the worst attack in our nation’s history, engaging instead in wars with no goals, purpose or end, and we increased the size and scope of government after an economic collapse. Which brings us to this moment in American history and these two political conventions – the Tampa, Florida, Republicans’ this week and the Charlotte, North Carolina, Democrats’ next week.

So far, and pragmatic nominee Mitt Romney has yet to speak, the Tampa Republicans have shown that the GOP, which has been dominated by religious conservatives since 1976, may be moving toward secularism. Fundamentalist religion is strong in the GOP and, with platform provisions prohibiting abortion and gay marriage, and religious morality threaded throughout convention speeches and themes, the altruist mentality runs rampant and could kill the GOP or transform it into the party of religious dictatorship. But in 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan’s forceful, intelligent and poignant vice-presidential acceptance speech, there were signs of progress for the immediate future; Ryan, who praised his mother in terms of the Objectivist virtues of pride and productiveness, contrasted the GOP ticket with Obama/Biden and spoke of the rightness of people to be focused on “here and now”, as against the “afterlife”, pointedly rejecting Obama’s “government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.” Ryan, who has renounced Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, while expressing admiration for her novel Atlas Shrugged, is also to my knowledge the first major party candidate to explicitly voice a positive view of selfishness, telling the delegates and attendees:

When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.

In today’s rapidly declining culture, economy and nation, this is a stark alternative to Obama’s administration, which puts self last if at all. The choice in politics is still very much the lesser of two evils, as I have learned over and over since 1980 and 2000. The elections of two optimistic Republicans who lacked any moral grasp of capitalism and individual rights seriously harmed the U.S. So, I do not think that Paul Ryan, a politician who votes for Big Government and whom I have criticized on this blog, is going to lead the legislative repeal of ObamaCare or be a radical vice-president for capitalism, which is what we desperately need. And it must be noted that Republicans in the arena refused to rise for Ryan’s call to repeal ObamaCare – but they sprung to their feet for his pledge to save another form of goverment-controlled medicine for old people. But Paul Ryan’s speech at this week’s convention bears the mark of a rational and moral argument for capitalism and is therefore a small change for the better. For now, it’ll have to do.

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