GOP Convention Over Shadowed

It is hard enough to run for a political office without the interference of uncontrolled outside influencers and negative headline. Yet, that is what the Romney campaign and the RNC experienced during their quadrennial celebration.

Of course the biggest story was hurricane Isaac and its “double tapping” of the Louisiana coastline, caused the first day of partying to be cancelled. However, there were other stories that seem to be suppressed and possibly “not important enough” for the evening news, or just ignored by conservative talk-head sows.

For those who are curious, here are but a few.

Be there or be Fired!

“Murray Energy Miners Allege They Had To Give Up Pay To Attend ‘Mandatory’ Romney Rally.” This is Huffington Post’s version, but the story was also in the N.Y. Times, the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It goes like this…

Mr. Romney’s campaign went to Beallsville, Ohio and used one of Murray Energy Corporation’s mines as his backdrop. However, the entrance to a coal mine is not enough, the picture needed people. It is alleged that the mine’s bosses required all miners to attend, however “they were forced to give up a day’s worth of pay to attend the event, and they feared they might be fired if they didn’t, according to local news radio WWVA.” Romney needs to fight the “be happy faces for a candidate you may nor support” syndrome.

Who is this old guy?

I love the headline; “Ron Paul Delegates Cause Mayhem At Republican Convention.” On the Monday the RNC opened and closed the first day of the convention (all within 60 seconds), Ron Paul and his supporters braved the threat of Isaac and held their own rally. Because the RNC decided to take the side of caution, the multitude of reporters had nothing else to do but cover Rep. Paul’s gathering.

As part of their coverage, ABC and CBS news (the only two I watched) indicated that the Paul supporters were place in the back of the convention floor, reportedly to keep them out of the picture. And though I am not a Paul or Libertarian supporter, I believe the RNC and the DNC need to engage in something the public has not seen in decades, a good and honest floor fight.

They did what?

Another black eye occurred Tuesday when two delegates of the GOP convention “were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, ‘This is how we feed animals.’”

The CNN and related columns were fairly short, considering the RNC is making a run for the black vote, though flailing badly. This incident had brought into play accusations of the RNC discriminating against minorities.

That led to the heated exchange between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Newt Gingrich. I do agree that Matthews was out of line with the question, but believe that Gingrich also went beyond reason and should have answered “No” and left it at that.

The joke is GOP really means Gray Old Party, and is usually depicted as 95 percent white. I can say the party has made head roads against discrimination. After all, it was Nixon who extended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and coined the term “affirmative action” in a presidential order.

The Skinheads are back?

When I saw the headline on Wednesday morning, I could not help but connect it to the incident above, though it is not. But it was a diversion from the GOP’s presidential candidate gala of 2012.

19-year old Zachary Tennen, a Jewish student at Michigan State University was, according to the Detroit Free Press, attacked by two men who identified themselves as neo-Nazis, gave the Third Reich salute (verified by a third-party) and beat Mr. Tennen, breaking his jaw and then, according to Tennen, “stapled me in the back side of my bottom teeth, starting in my gums and going upwards.”

Wednesday’s follow up reported a contradictory  statement from East Lansing Police Captain Jeff Murphy, who claimed though there were witnesses who saw Tennen “punched and pull a piece of metal from his mouth afterward, no witnesses have confirmed any evidence of stapling or a hate crime.”

Illegal, ah, Undocumented Immigrants

This is a little confusing, mostly because the original story can only be found on the Wall Street Journal’s Pay-to-View online edition and it appeared that the HuffPo was one of the few reported on the column.

When one goes to WSJ.com, they will read,

Does Kobach Speak for Romney? ‘The good news is that the Republican National Committee’s 2012 platform will include language supporting a new guest-worker program for foreign nationals. The bad news is that it will also include gratuitously harsh language on border enforcement.’

This again goes back to the lack of diversity and anti-minority allegations against the GOP. I believe the allegations of a new level of Republican racism are mostly false. Maybe a new conspiracy theories, but certainly I do not believe it is their intent. However, as I have written many times, it is not the intent, it is the perception.

Another Shooting

There was yet another shooting, this time by a 15-year old student at a school in Maryland who killed one. If that was not bad enough, the student’s stepfather was arrested in unrelated charges of drugs and weapons possession.

I am sure there were a few more I missed, but that is not the point.

The point is issues such as Afghanistan, Right to Choose/Right for Life, gun ownership/gun control, voter rights, and immigration were, somehow, completely missed by the GOP. Church/state issues appeared leaning heavily towards religion and not the neutral position of the Constitution.

Conventions are designed to put the candidate in the most positive light possible. It should also provide the public with the direction of their chosen party and its candidate. The Tampa convention did no such thing.

I will be watching the Democratic convention with an equally critical eye and listening with a critical ear. James Carville was right in 1992 and is still right today. It is about the economy and the middle class. It is also about the lower-income classes, how we treat each other, how we honor those rights enumerated in the Constitution, and how we treat and protect our neighbors regardless of the differences, real or perceived.

It is about providing, “for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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