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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US Republican Convention « Previous | |Next »
September 5, 2004

I only caught bits and pieces of the slick and nasty Republican Convention on the soundbites on national television last week. What I saw when the public mask of a smiling compassionate conservatism slipped was a mean-spirted, religious conservative party whose chief theme is embattlement. The body-language was about force and the central message was endless war.


The convention was a carefully choreographed marketing for a party’s nominee; they are rubber-stamps in the form of spectacles. The religious right had come Madison Square Garden to both acclaim Bush as the de facto leader of the religious right, and to launch vicious attacks on John Kerry's war record. Their's is a world of good and evil, white and black.

Sidney Blumenthal in The Guardian offers a good description of Bush's arrival at the Convention:

"George W Bush emerged between two gigantic American flags, walked down a runway to the centre of a stage emblazoned with the seal of the presidency. The proscenium behind him resembled a Roman temple, engraved with large gold letters: "The United States of America."The overpowering evidence of his authority did not foster distance between him and the crowd; instead his elevation excited charismatic deference. Standing alone on the image of the American eagle, he was thrust on his podium physically both amid and above the rapturous delegates at the Republican convention. His solitary presence brought him closer to them in fulfilling their dream of leadership - the president as lone ranger."

The level of venom that I saw did not endear me to the Republicans. This comment in the Washington Post captures my feelings:

"The GOP convention was successful because it was part of the overall Republican campaign. It was a loathsome affair, suffused with lies and anger, but also beautiful to watch, like a nature show about some wild animal, amoral and intent only on survival. Speaker after speaker stomped on Kerry because, really, he had made himself the entirety of the Democratic campaign."

The Republicans are holding onto power by throwing dirt at John Kerry and the Democrats in the name of a muscular foreign policy backing an unapologetic nationalism. Their political expression of the power of the military-industrial complex indicates that the Republicans want exclusive ownership of the politics of US defence, security and war. In doing so they are reworking the old strategies of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Can you imagine how vengeful and vindictive the Republicans would be if John Kerry won the Presidency for the Democrats?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:22 PM | | Comments (1)


Exactly...what if Kerry wins? The venom and heat from the fires of the vanquished Republicans will be spewing like never before. We just witnessed how they behave on offense. On the defensive, they will be insufferable.

Body language, political theatre and choreographed hyperbole are the trump cards of Bush and Co. They play it much better than Kerry's team. Karl Rove and the Gang understand the simplistic mindset of the average American. They know that tough talk and good photo ops translate into votes. I don't think we'll have the oppportunity to see Kerry in office. He doesn't play the role well enough for our hero-hungry society. To make matters worse, in the aftermath of the Republican convention, he has appeared downright wimpy.