By Peter Galuszka
It seems so underwhelming. There was the hurricane that went elsewhere. A retrograde platform. A vice presidential candidate in search of a fact checker. A lame speech by POTUS-to-be. Even Clint Eastwood couldn’t make our day.
Flash back four years. John McCain stunned the nation with Sarah Palin, the tough hockey mom from Alaska who seemed so downright fresh and sexy even if she didn’t know even the basics about foreign or domestic policy.
This week, by contrast, we got a lot of milquetoast nice-guy platitudes about Mitt Romney, Mr. Excitement if there was one. If you got past the female speakers such Nikki Haley or Susana Martinez, you’d realize that the Republican platform would take things back to pre-1970s days, skewer women’s Constitutional rights and put homosexuals back in the closet. Speaking of the 1970s, they even want to take us back to the gold standard and undo Richard Nixon. How weird is that?
A smooth speaker, Haley served up non issues such as the big, bad labor unions that need to be kept in place and the crying need for new voter identification. I don’t know how things are in South Carolina, other than the Boeing flipple, but unions are much weaker than ever and Americans have a right to organize. Voter ID is a non issue. There is no evidence of widespread fraud but there is meat behind the complaint that the new campaign is designed to keep minorities and the poor from having their votes cast. Don’t believe me? Ask the U.S. District Court judges in Washington who shut down Texas’s voter ID law yesterday.
We had Paul Ryan blaming Barack Obama for shutting down a Wisconsin factory before he even took office. No big deal. I went to a New Kent County Tea Party rally two years ago and was intrigued to learn that Obama was to blame for the big bank bailout. The hard right — and our “Young Gun” — really need to check their facts. As for Romney himself, let’s just say I didn’t need to take an ambien Thursday night.
What about our Virginia boys? Zippo. Not only was Gov. Bob McDonnell left off the vice presidential list, he was nowhere to be found even though he gave a pretty good (at least substantive) speech that was not picked up by network TV. He was barely mentioned otherwise in the national media. Instead, we got Chris Christie whose ego is even larger than his abdominal girth. Did he mention Romney? I just can’t remember.
Four years ago, the Republicans gave us a lot of verve and excitement with McCain and Palin. She might have been a disaster but she sure was a fun disaster. Now we have The Book of Mormon.