Live-Blogging Tampa Day Two


11.12 pm. For the record, I loved Susana Martinez – substantive, charming, gutsy, funny. She would have made a great veep candidate. And her speech strikes me as a portent, just as it once was for Barack Obama. And if the GOP loses this year, they could use a former Democrat Latina woman to save them in 2016. 11.05 pm. Ryan runs over, but the crowd loves him – if not in the ecstatic way they loved Palin. If you ignore the details, and wipe your memory like an Etch-A-Sketch, it can sound like a wonderful return to fiscal responsibility. But slashing more taxes for the very wealthy, boosting defense spending, keeping Medicare intact for the current elderly, and gutting Obamacare’s savings is a return to supply side fantasy, not a serious alternative to getting us back to fiscal sanity. He’s not Tom Coburn; he won’t compromise; which means he cannot “get it done”. That’s my issue. 11.02 pm. The disciple of Ayn Rand publicly says that society should be judged by the way it treats its weakest and neediest. A man without shame or coherence. 11.01 pm. Suderman gets snarky:

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11 pm. Ryan and Romney are from the heartland and know what it looks like. Obama apparently isn’t and doesn’t. 10.58 pm. The first great joke of the night about Mitt’s elevator music on his iPod. 10.56 pm. He’s now on a roll. Focus on the here and now: don’t remember the past. And then the weird notion that people who are in distress right now should bear no personal responsibility for it. It’s all Obama’s fault. That is so completely contrary to the mantra of the night I’m baffled. 10.55 pm. Finally an honest description of why Obama’s “you didn’t build that” de-contextualized quote that explains coherently why it sounds so offensive to so many. 10.54 pm. “We need to stop spending money we don’t have!” I couldn’t agree more. But not in the middle of a recession, when it could be self-defeating, as it has been in Europe. And not by cutting taxes and increasing defense spending – both of which would make the debt worse. ANd Ryan, recall, would only cut Medicare for the post-boomers, leaving the current elderly spending all that money we apparently don’t have. 10.51 pm. The debt number is brutal without context. Ryan knows the context. Now Ryan is actually blaming Obama for the failure of Bowles-Simpson. But Ryan was on the commission and voted against it! 10.49 pm. So this is where I get really pissed off. He’s actually blaming the lower national credit rating – created by the Republicans, led by Ryan, in a completely unnecessary political maneuver – on Obama. 10.47 pm. So this is how they have decided to deal with the Medicare issue: Obama is the threat, not Ryan. Ryan is the Medicare prtector and Obama the Medicare raider – even though Obama’s Medicare savings are also assumed by Ryan in his budget. 10.46 pm. Fact check:

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Here’s the link. 10.44 pm. Now the lie that Obama pursued healthcare reform before the economy, i.e. the bank bailouts, auto bailouts and stimulus. 10.43 pm. The stimulus was only Solyndra. Nothing else – and crony capitalism. What did tax-payers get out of the stimulus? They got tax cuts! And remember: no serious economist believes the stimulus did not improve employment and growth at all. 10.40 pm. It’s very quiet in the room. I keep wondering why Romney didn’t pick Martinez as veep? That would have been a game-changer. 10.32 pm. Romney’s decency is so obvious it does not need to be substantiated. 10.31 pm. Ryan is there and looks a little like the head of the College Republicans. The cowlick and the hair gel complete the crisp, earnest appeal. It’s just that suddenly, looking at him right now, he does not seem like someone who could be president at a moment’s notice. I’ve never really felt that about him before. Maybe having his mom testify for him was a little too much. 10.30 pm. Martinez says that all the debt in the last four years – during the worst recession since the 1930s – is Obama’s personal responsibility. She’s extremely effective, I’d say. And again it’s just repetition of the bleeding obvious – “success should not be demonized!” – laced with misleading distortions of the past three years. And female and minority. 10.27 pm. Tweet reax to Condi is very positive – mainly about the tone, which was indeed a huge relief from the rancid anger in the air. Beinart makes a good point though:

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As does Ambers:

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Which means, given Romney’s neoconservatism-on-steroids, the speech was another lie. But the most effective. 10.25 pm. The Latina packs heat! And she worked at Catholic church bingos. What’s not to love? 10.20 pm. She mentioned neither Bush nor Obama. And she barely made an argument. It seemed more like Christie – a moment for self-advancement, rather than ticket-promotion. 10.17 pm. Twetort to Condi of the night:

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No she didn’t! 10.14 pm. If this was supposed to be the foreign policy speech, it’s pretty thin gruel. But she’s right that the debt is a geopolitical issue. Which is why Ryan’s budget – which would explode the debt even further by cutting taxes and boosting defense – is so dangerous. The crowd loves her – weirdly. But they went very silent when she mentioned “alternative energy sources.” They don’t like those. 10.12 pm. I agree with Rice about the debt and its impact on American power. So why did she not fund her own wars? Why was she a member of an administration that exploded the debt in relatively good times? 10.08 pm. Now I get it. We have no choice but to be a permanent global hegemon, just as we had no choice but to go to war against Iraq. But at least she does not lie about the free trade agreements under Obama – although she claims full credit for them. So who is right – Portman or Rice? They just contradicted each other. As for China’s trade agreements, I just wonder if they are just catching up. The fact checkers will doubtless follow up. 10.07 pm. Still no idea what Condi is trying to say. 10.06 pm. Tweet from the left:

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10.04 pm. My drinking game: can she get through this speech without mentioning Bush or Cheney, her former bosses? Or the wars she endorsed?

10 pm. “A mountain of debt and a pile of excuses”: this is the indictment. They want you to believe Obama inherited a surplus, that Democrats were in control from 2000 – 2008, and that for some reason, Obama spent like crazy, and wants more people on food stamps. It’s as if the recession and the debt bubble never existed. I guess they have forgotten – or are banking on the American people being felled by complete amnesia.

9.58 pm. Now Huckabee says that supporting Obama is like giving children prizes they don’t deserve. Again: children? The president can easily be reduced to a child needing more self-esteem? Again, the tone just rubs me the wrong way – and I tend to like Huckabee.

9.56 pm. Obama is attempting to prevent people from practising their religion. Lordy. Then Huckabee deftly slips in the line about not caring about what church Romney belongs to – a critical piece of reassurance for the evangelical base.

9.53 pm. That boring small businessman earlier, who claimed he did build his business, actually took $220,000 in stimulus funds:

“I think it would be irresponsible for an American manufacturer not to go after their fair share,” Cohen told The Associated Press this week. “The question is whether it was a wise investment. That’s for someone else to answer.”

9.51 pm. I can’t say I think this is going that well tonight. Ponnuru thinks last night was a bust too:

Republicans have two main tasks at this convention, it seems to me, and humanizing Romney isn’t one of the main ones. Their defensive message against the Obama campaign should be that they’re sensible people and not dangerous extremists. Their positive message should be that their agenda will make average Americans’ lives better. We didn’t hear anything on that second point from Chris Christie or Ann Romney last night. But if Paul Ryan really is Jack Kemp’s political heir, maybe we’ll hear some conservative grounds for hope tonight.

9.48 pm. Huckabee has now said that Obama believes he owns everybody else’s property. Communism has arrived! But he’s fizzling a little now.

9.47 pm. Mike Huckabee glides on like a large ship. Pity his first joke is about a screeching woman. Off-message.

9.44 pm. Is being a Senator and a state senator not a job, by the way? And doesn’t the notion that Obama has never had a job – but somehow became president – reflect obvious racial sentiment. I don’t think they’re all aware of this, although I may be naive. It’s just that there’s a tiny little relish in the notion of disparaging the first black president as someone who never held a job, can’t speak without a TelePrompTer, won’t release his college grades, etc. It’s the relish that grates.

9.42 pm. The argument, so far as I can tell, is: the economy sucks; Obama’s president; he destroyed it because he hates/doesn’t understand “America”; vote for us. I notice Pawlenty almost said the word “Bush.” But he stopped at “George”. Remember: the Bush administration never happened. And it was not a Republican administration.

9.40 pm. Obama is a tattoo?? A black mark on a body you eventually regret? Do these people hear themselves? But I thought Pawlenty was the kind ofguy who could appeal to Independents. Instead he’s the red meat sous-chef.

9.33 pm. The last video segment was also a cereal commercial bathed in platitudes with the slogan: “Believe!” You know these conservatives are not against self-esteem; Americans, simply by virtue of birth, are apparently, always awesome.

9.30 pm. The band now playing sounds like a Latino wedding band, by the way. But you’re probably listening to pundits or ads right now. Good call.

920 pm. Oh God. Another we did build this thing. And yet I’m almost immobilized with boredom. I can’t even get past it to anger. I’m post-anger. Bewildered boredom is perhaps the most accurate description.

9.11 pm. There is no argument here – just a recitation of various dogmas. And then, when needed, lies. Portman is repeating the constant lie that Obama has signed no free trade agreements. I’ve now noted this untruth in several primary debates. It is not an opinion. It’s a fact. Obama signed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. And yet they still keep saying this. In prime time.

9.10 pm. Portman predicts a recession next year based on the impact of sequestration – and makes it seem as if it’s a function of Obama.

9.07 pm. Portman is up now with another idiotic Manichean government or freedom choice. Romney is the entrepreneur; Obama the government drain. Except it’s hard to talk of Romney’s massive wealth as some kind of risky achievement, when there was no risk, and massive potential gain.

(Photo: A woman watches the program during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)