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The time spent on Romney's biography was a waste. That was supposed to be their main goal

It's remarkable that the Romney campaign thought that his image needed to be softened by an entire convention gushing over life experiences which most folks will assume are the advantages of his wealth.

This bland and rambling convention was an attempt to establish Mitt Romney as some Reagan-like figure who should be regarded as some kind of icon, rather than a politician accountable for the details of his ambitions and endeavors for the presidency. Romney spent the week ducking behind this poorly erected diversion -- with a tedious line of folks trying to fill in the blanks of his tepid, vacuous campaign -- and emerged to accept their nomination with the gravitas of a wet slice of bread.

With all of that done and over, the question is still directly on his finances and the tax returns he's hiding. There wasn't enough in his curiously empty speech to the convention to recall, past the lies and distortions, to distract from the questions that followed the mostly unknown republican candidate.

He's been effectively defined by the Obama campaign and others as the worst of what we've come to expect out of capitalism. That's still the referendum here: Vulture capitalism and taxpayer-enabled greed, vs. the vast majority of working American families without access to the benefits Romney enjoyed to his financial success. He's a poster for the speculation, scheming, and manipulation of our financial industry by slick insiders which most Americans rightly blame for our present economic struggle and collapse.

NONE of what just occurred in that convention hall obscures ANY of that.

Think about it . . . at this time in our nation's history, with our first African American president

Republicans have been scrambling since this president's nomination in 2008 to find a way to disenfranchise and disqualify the legions of African-American voters from voting for Barack Obama. States have put regressive and discriminatory laws in place to deny the black vote this very November.

Our nation's first black Attorney General is well and timely placed and is having NONE of it! Att. Gen. Holder has blocked voter ID laws in several states, including Texas, and has effectively preserved the rights of African-Americans (and others) in Texas to free and unencumbered access to the voting polls with the court's decision to reject Texas' insidious attempt to suppress the minority and poor vote in their state.

What a perfect storm of antagonism and forceful resistance at the very top levels of our nation's government. What a thing of beauty, in my lifetime! I know we'll be looking back on this as an integral part of a transformational era in civil and voting rights for African-Americans (like me).

A Most Dubious Republican National Convention

Mitt Romney's campaign is torn between a panic that they have to, both, define their candidate for the majority of American voters, and their desperation to spend their time hollering at us from their podium what a scary, liberal, and un-American president they believe Barack Obama is.

That first ambition of Romney's campaign -- presenting their version of who Mitt Romney is in a way that connects and resonates with voters -- won't tolerate or bear well distraction of the blistering negativity that comes with each and every one of their desperate attacks on the record and character of President Obama.

That cynical balancing act was on display this morning when RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, speaking on 'CBS This Morning,' explained to Charlie Rose that the purpose of their convention was to "tell Mitt Romney's story." Preibus immediately stomped on that ambition by declaring his republicans' need to 'prosecute' Barack Obama:

"We need to prosecute the president on what he promised and what he delivered...we need to remind the American people that said if we pass a trillion dollar stimulus, we would have unemployment at this point below 6%. We need to prosecute the president who seems to be in love with his own voice...," Preibus said.

Is this the same republican party that complained all this week about how much they objected to what they saw as a 'divisive' Obama campaign?

There is no question that the Romney camp will feel that their time was wasted and their money disappeared down a rabbit hole if they didn't use this moment when they had the eyes and ears of the most Americans possible before the election to put Barack Obama down hard.

Yet, that destructive ambition will likely serve to reinforce and widen the negative perceptions of Mitt Romney that have already been generated and deepened by a withering primary battle with his republican opponents; and by an advertising campaign which hasn't yet found room in their increasingly defensive posturing to present their candidate as anything other than a caustic critic of Barack Obama.

It's not as if there aren't a bevy of substantive issues that Mitt Romney wants to represent in this campaign. Mr. Romney has offered his opinion on the stump about taxes, welfare, Medicare, Afghanistan . . . He just hasn't found a way of presenting them as anything other than an attack on his opponent. He's even raised a few issues just to defend against, and deflect from, charges by the Obama campaign about his personal financial conduct; or to defend the legislative record of the congressman he chose as his running mate.

In all, the atmosphere going into this republican convention is more full of animosity toward their Democratic opponent, than it's vibing on excitement about 'telling Mitt Romney's story.' Their candidate has presented no tax plan for them to cheer; no budget plan for them to celebrate. What's left to tell about Mitt Romney that work-weary American voters are interested in hearing?

"Enough talk about Barack Obama . . . let's talk about Mitt Romney, and how much he's against Barack Obama."

Despite all of the calculated complaining from republicans this week about divisive politics, divisive politics is just what their convention is all about. That's not, in and of itself, such a damning indictment on republicans. Campaigns usually get their best traction by being as abrasive as they can be without turning more folks off than they attract.

Is Mitt Romney's campaign at that point? I dunno, but, I don't think he can come out of a convention which is angry and mean and successfully cast himself as a hope and a promise. I think our media is as anxious to broker and amplify every juicy insult and slam they can manage; and, I think there's enough of a contingent of republicans attending the convention determined to be the eager 'prosecutors' of those opportunistic and ad hominem attacks.

"I think we're going to be able to have a great convention, tell the Mitt Romney story, prosecute Obama and his promises made and promises delivered," Preibus said in and interview on Fox News Sunday. "We're not where we need to be. We need to -- we have to fire Obama and save this country. We're going to make that case, but we're going to make Mitt Romney case this week as well."

Hope springs eternal, but this republican convention is a boiling crock of hate; ready to explode in an orgy of recrimination, taunts, and arrogance. The first salvo of the republican convention was rumored (then abruptly cancelled at the last minute) to be coming from the antics of the nation's most prominent birther, Donald Trump, who, reportedly, in a surprise opening, will 'fire' Barack Obama in a typically autocratic sketch which (would) surely mirror most republicans' most recurring and reassuring dream.

Ah, well . . .on with the show!

High Five!


. . . Romney's birther remark -- I want to say this

That type of ignorant flirting with racism, bigotry, and xenophobia is in a pandemic stage these days; elevated and amplified by this election and the term of our nation's first black president.

We have had an undercurrent of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia in America, in this decade; decades beyond the point where our legislative remedies were met with a majority sense that these expressions of superiority and hatred would not be tolerated; especially in our public debate. There have certainly been many, many political and public figures who have made a point of denigrating one group of Americans or some individual they saw fit to posture as if the target of their divisive remarks was somehow beneath them and undeserving of respect and dignity because of differences from our nation's 'white' majority.

Yet, there is something surging right now which is related to the wide access to communications -- such as the internet --, perhaps a more willing and permissive media which has found room to broadcast hateful remarks and petty slurs as if there was something in them that deserved even a moment consideration of their appropriateness or acceptability.

Regular surfers of internet-published news and opinion are certainly familiar with open racism and vicious slander presented in news form and available right alongside of the mainstream and alternative press. The proliferation of hateful, bigoted, and racist media is certainly a product of a subculture in America of regressive and throwback beliefs among many of our citizens.

The willingness of that subculture to embrace any and all deliberately divisive rhetoric offered by demagogues and opportunists has not gone unnoticed by republican politicians who regularly employ subtle and recognized language which gives comfort to, and encourages those Americans who would have us divided among ourselves along the often fine lines of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation; all for some political advantage.

It's pretty standard with republicans; at least from the point of view of those who have been the repeated targets of their political rants and ire.

We look at the statement Romney made yesterday:

"No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

The Obama campaign summed up my reaction:

"Take a moment or two to think about that, what he's actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney."

Mitt Romney was not merely making an ignorant observation; he was suggesting to his mostly-white audience (those who would give him a second-thought) that he shares with them an affinity that he doesn't believe others -- like our nation's first black president -- can or should be considered equal and integrally part of.

At the very heart of the affinity that he's presuming to parcel out among those he chooses is something basic to each and every American; our citizenship -- that special bond to our land and nation which is conferred on us through geography, relations, or application.

What Mitt Romney is saying is that few, if any, should assume that he wasn't born in America, because he happens to have fair skin.

Conversely, fully aware of the slander and bigotry about the President's birth certificate coming from the very top of his chain of supporters, like Donald Trump -- slander which he took time to explain to Americans he did not share --Romney is suggesting that there is something about President Obama which is visibly foreign to this country. He's allowing that there is nothing that he can find recognizably American about Barack Obama.

That means that Mitt Romney must not recognize the rest of our non-white citizens as equal and integral to our country; as he does those who share in his affinity and appearance. In this new century, that is an amazing regression from the efforts of our collective population to recognize ALL of our men, women, and children as individual reflections of the pattern of our nation.

What possesses this man to openly encourage such divisiveness and derisiveness? It almost doesn't matter; until you consider what he's aspiring to at the moment. This isn't mere ignorance; but a deliberate, political tactic. It's much more pernicious than just a belief that someone holds somewhere. It is part of a movement to project such bigotry from the elevation of the highest office in our land for the petty purpose of furthering Mitt Romney's corporate-driven, political career and ambition.

In the ultimate happenstance of his election to office, Mitt Romney won't be engineering his oblique politics against minorities alone. Nothing that subtle. He's going to be content for his followers to expand and deepen his deliberately-generated animosity in their communities to pave the way for the next divisive campaign. All the while, Romney will be using his position in government to deliver his promised tax-cut booty to his money-soaked benefactors; all at the expense of the 98% of Americans of ALL races, religions, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation who lack any affinity at all with his tax-evading, wealthy lifestyle.

Fortunately, we are still a nation which is making strides in the ways we relate, work, and live with one another. Most of us can't and won't accommodate actions and rhetoric which only serves to separate us from each other. It's dysfunctional; as well as, just plain wrong -- and we know it.

That tells us a great deal about Mitt Romney . . . doesn't it?
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