Live-Blogging Tampa Day One (Kinda)


11.10 pm. Oh, by the way, check out the Colbert Report. Think of my interview as a prebuttal.

11 pm. I like Christie and his presentation was terrific. But I didn't buy his case. Maybe others will. All in all, I thought Ann Romney was a stand-out star, and Christie did his job – mainly touting himself as a future nominee. But his physical presence does, sadly distract. His face seemed to pour like lava over his collar. But he was punchy, fun, female-friendly, and described a party that I wished exists, but doesn't.

10.58 pm. I feel as if I am behind the looking glass. Another statement:

Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth. Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.

So Christie is presumably for Obama. On the debt, the Republicans believe that some should be spared pain and not have to "share in the sacrifice": the very wealthy and the Pentagon. Only the poor and the old and the sick have to make sacrifices. The wealthy and the defense contractors can sleep soundly. No sacrifice for them. Obama, on the other hand, favors cuts in Medicare (and has enforced them), cuts in defense, and increases in tax revenues from the very wealthy. Only Obama wants to share the sacrifice.

10.56 pm. Another key sentence:

We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.

Which translates into no new tax revenues; increased defense spending; and Medicare cuts in the distant future. Where is the compromise in the GOP platform? The meaning of that sentence seems to me to say rather simply that "We believe it's possible to force Democrats to adopt every single GOP idea and refuse to offer them anything in return and that's bipartisanship."

10.55 pm. Key sentence:

Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power while we fall.

Why would anyone in politics want to do that? Christie is describing is not found in reality. Maybe Obama is misguided – but does he really want to wreck the country? Who believes that but Limbaugh fans?

10.50 pm. After a night of categorical lies, Christie tells us to face the truth.

10.49 pm. Chris Christie is attacking politicians who attack!

10.46 pm. As Christie proudly declares that he's a momma's boy, have you noticed how many moms there have been mentioned tonight? This is an entire evening geared toward narrowing the gender gap a little. And perpetuating lies.

10.37 pm. Well, I don't see how she could have done much better than that. But observe what she is really saying: Trust Him. He Will Not Fail. It's a form of leader-reverence, devoid of substantive content. Of course her job was not to talk policy and she definitely humanized her husband. But there was a sense of very Mormon deference to the leader.

10.36 pm. It is great to hear a sentiment of genuine Christianity from the stage: that charity is best done quietly without any hope of praise or reward. The opposite of Christianism.

10.33 pm. More "built this" bull. I knew it was the biggest error of Obama's entire career, given the cynicism of his opponents. But Romney was offered Bain Capital by Bain himself. And was assured that he would not lose a cent of his salary if he failed. He was the son of a successful businessman and governor.

10.33 pm. Is Ann Romney suggesting that the Obamas are bad parents?

10.30 pm. What she and Mitt have is a "real marriage." Who has a fake one, one wonders?

10.30 pm. Drudge has the Christie transcript.

10.26 pm. A great line (from memory): "We're not dumb enough to think there are easy answers; but we are smart enough to know there are better answers." Easily the most persuasive line of the night. And, of course, Obama could say: yes. But the Republicans blocked the better answers.

10.23 pm. Ann Romney just came out as a lesbian, I think. "I love you, women!" But she's pouring it on a little thick, don't you think? Not exactly nuanced.

10.19 pm. She really is a Mormon: she's so excited. This whole thing is just fabulous. And she wants to talk about love. The presentation is so far extremely effective. She really is a performer of real talent – and the GOP is betting corectly: she is by far the best way to soften Romney's image. And she is so well-spoken, with a Julie Andrews style and a Sarah Palin wink.

10. 18 pm. Why the right is so degenerate: because the intelligentsia endorses lying. Tobin at Commentary on "We Built That":

Americans know that the president who rammed ObamaCare and the so-called stimulus down the throats of a reluctant country is addicted to big government solutions. The president was only speaking from his heart when he gave his memorable critique of individualism. It wasn’t really a gaffe because it was just Obama discussing his core philosophy about society. “We built it” sticks because it is nothing more than an illustration of the real divide between the two parties. Journalists and maybe even some in the television audience may be weary of it, but not as much as the president will be before this campaign is over.

10.15 pm. Another Latina. Twofer.

10.12 pm. I can't say I found Haley that galvanizing – or her rhetoric persuasive. Seriously, Obama is also "destabilizing" the military? What part of the fictitious kitchen sink has been left behind. But we're getting Mrs Romney next. Btw, here's the final platform.

10.05 pm. Nikki Haley repeats the lie about how Obama said that small business owners "didn't build their businesses". The lie is now a premise for further lies. So Obama is actually chasing industry overseas.

10.02 pm. Another lie about welfare reform – adding that Obama "gutted" it secretly in the middle of the night. And another obvious lie: Not a single Republican idea in Obamacare? How about the individual mandate? Healthcare exchanges?

But here's what's staggering about this dude: he has turned his own lie into an accusation that Obama – and every fact-checker in the business – into an alleged lie by Obama!

This is what a cold civil war looks like: making shit up entirely to create an illusion of reality. No engagement; no real argument; no actual debate. Just fantasy.

10 pm. If this is the dude to talk black Americans into turning against Obama: no deal.

9.58 pm. A window view from New Orleans at 5 pm:


9.56 pm. While Artur Davis plays the Hollywood card, we discover this:

Screen shot 2012-08-28 at 9.57.30 PM

9.52 pm. A "war on small businesses"? Really? Why would any president want to do that? And what evidence does Cruz provide for it? None in the speech. And it wasn't that great an idea to get the Republicans to chant "Yes, We Can!" ironically. They don't do irony very well, these peeps.

Still I can see why Cruz is going places.

9.50 pm. I find my mind digressing to Santorum's hand gestures.

9.48 pm. Cruz is not attacking Obama directly. "Extremely talented"? Wow. I thought he was an affirmative action fraud. Amazing line: "Government takeovers of great parts of the economy." You mean rescuing the auto industry?

9.46 pm. Both Santorum and Cruz are hyping the immigration theme. It's a faint gesture toward the kind of Latino inclusion Rove once dreamed of. And given the extremism of the GOP position on illegal immigration – 11 million people must self-deport – a little, well, ironic.

9.45 pm. This Cruz guy can sure deliver the platitudes, can't he? He's got a great ease on the stage – but, man, the script is painful.

9.40 pm. Santorum was movingly genuine in his pro-life fanaticism. But he also critically played up  the welfare lie. Next up: the base's new star: Ted Cruz.

9.38 pm. The fact-checking of Boehner's speech is brutal as well. This is a convention based on lies, it appears. Kessler:

House Speaker John Boehner’s speech starts out with just about every out-of-context quote used by Republicans to bash President Obama. Two of his examples were featured in our Gaffe-check videos: “The private sector is doing fine” and “If you’ve got a business, “you didn’t build that.”

Such gaffes are effective when they reinforce an existing stereotype—in this case, the notion that Obama is hostile to private enterprise. But as our videos show, both of these quotes were taken out of context.

This seems a natural next step for a fundamentalist party, inventing its own reality, insisting on its own truths, and simply refusing to acknowledge reality. There is a case to be made against Obama; but what we have been hearing so far is an attack on a president who exists entirely in the imagination of the GOP base.

9.34 pm. Santorum is saying that Obama has "waived the work requirement for welfare". This is a lie – spoken by the runner-up for the nomination. It is a lie. The waivers have been routine for state experimentation. Many were sought by Republican governors. They were designed to ensure more efficient ways to get work as part of the welfare requirement.

Santorum is a devout Catholic. So why is he lying out loud on national television? And why is he stirring up racial division by lying? If you ever thought the guy had some integrity, you now know he doesn't.

9.33 pm. A reader writes:

Tonight's theme at the RNC is We Built That. The Republicans should also post that under the national debt counter they have above the podium.


One of the RNC's "We Built That" profiles of American small-business owners includes a short spot with Sam Sakata, owner of Sakata Farms. Sakata is a plain-spoken, laconic guy who expresses disappointment with Obama but little vitriol. But one sentiment he never expresses? A sense of gratitude or humility for the $79,430 worth of Federal subsidies he received during the first five years of his business.

9.31 pm. Santorum speaks as if Obama needs to be taught what it is to be an American. The whole night so far has been reiterating every bald-faced out-of-context lie about the president.

9.30 pm. First tweet of the night:

Screen shot 2012-08-28 at 9.30.20 PM

9.28 pm. The "thick strong hands" bit of Santorum's stump speech is now under way.

9.25 pm. Jesus. They're taking a quote from Obama about bumps in the road toward recovery and having regular Americans complain that they are not "bumps in the road." Cheeseville. But here's Rick!

9.20 pm. Apologies for the late start. The car taking me back from the Colbert Report got completely lost and I had to get out and walk. Anyway, I'm back here and all I am hearing are minority voices. A Latino businessman is up now and complaining that the stimulus didn't create a windfall.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty.)