Is it me, or has the cast of characters really changed in the GOP at the convention this year? Also, what about the subjects that have been the keystones of Republican focus for over a decade? Listening to the speeches last night, I was more struck by what is not being said and who is not present rather than who is there and what is being said. Who’s missing? Only former president George W. Bush, former vice president Dick Cheney, former Republican majority leader (and convicted felon) Tom DeLay, and 2008 vice presidential candidate and tea party favorite Sarah Palin. Former presidential candidate John McCain appears to be the only political survivor, and will be given a minor speaking role tonight on the agenda. Is everyone else in a secure, undisclosed location?
The subjects missing from this year’s convention, as compared to 2004 and 2008, are almost more striking: hardly any mention of the Iraq war and the longest war in US history, the Afghan war, both started by Bush and Cheney. No mention of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, killed under Barack Obama, and no mention of the Patriot Act and the fight against Islamo-Fascism, whatever that is.
It’s pretty remarkable that the key figures and key issues in the GOP for over a decade are suddenly invisible to the electorate this year. Is it because they are so unpopular? Or, will they drive independent voters away? Hard to say, since Republicans seem to be happy to drive away women, seniors, minorities, and moderates with the extreme positions taken by the current standard bearers. It’s more likely that the new nominee, Mitt Romney, doesn’t like to talk about them and that their usefulness has eroded to the point that they are no longer needed to whip up the base.
After years of huddling under desks to protect ourselves from airliners fully of radical Islamo-Fascists, I don’t quite know how to act with the GOP back to its normal race baiting and sexism of years gone by.
It’s familiar territory, though.