Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Watching RNC painful; reminder of lessons learned

Mitt and Ann Romney on December 22, 2007, at a...
Mitt and Ann Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I felt great anticipation; I knew this was going to be painful.

That statement might refer to sitting in a dentist's chair awaiting a root canal. Or it might be the moments just before the start of the Republican National Convention. I knew it would hurt, but I didn't realize how much.

For me, the agony was in reliving the past. I have a little understanding of the political process, due to my long history battling Illinois politicians over their foolish notion to build a third Chicagoland Airport 40 miles south of the city near rural Peotone, Illinois.

I know how feudal it can be to try to have a decent conversation with politicians who have their minds set and their marching orders in hand. I know it can be infuriating when they refuse to listen, even though that is, or at best should be, part of their job description. I know truth is often buried beneath surface rhetoric; sometimes it is buried so deeply that it cannot be recovered. I know there are mean-spirited people with humongous egos who talk down to everyone around them. I know there are always questions that will go unanswered. I know that perspectives can be skewed, the thought process rarely strays from the pre-approved talking points, and the opposition is the enemy.

I learned these things at the hand of the GOP in Illinois. This may sound confusing to some who may recognize that the loudest voice on behalf of the Peotone Airport is U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The Peotone project may appear to be a Democrat-inspired battle.

Although it may no longer be widely known, the Peotone Airport began with the Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly. It was definitely a GOP airport. In fact, for years I kept an article in the top drawer of my desk from the Chicago Sun Times, Oct. 1988. The headline read, "Du Page plum for GOP pals // Political ties bring profits in airport expansion," The article detailed an aggressive plan, by the DuPage Republicans who at the time were the leaders of the state. They planned to expand the DuPage Airport, located at the edge of the county. This is the same county as O'Hare neighbors and foes, the municipalities of Bensenville and Elk Grove Village.

The DuPage Airport was a completely self-serving project, paid for by taxpayers to the tune of $90 million. That was not chump change in 1988. I have long maintained that this project was a model--a how-to method--to build a third airport. Remember, the Peotone plan was hatched by the DuPage GOP as a means of  resisting expansion at O'Hare--or so they thought.

Though Jesse Jackson, Jr. happened to be a Democrat, he brought his own skill set to the table. He was a community activist of sorts who knew how to turn everything he touched into a racially-charged issue. He was a shoe-in as a congressional representative. And he had a rebel-rousing, well-known black activist father. DuPage Republicans didn't have much experience with race relations, since DuPage was predominantly white in 1988. This would need to be a numbers game. The more people to sign on the better.  If it worked, Jackson could make a really big name for himself. That was very appealing to him. His strong dislike for then Chicago Mayor Richard Daley gave him a kind of kinship with his GOP pals. He teamed up with the late Congressman Henry Hyde, a DuPage GOP kingpin. Hyde died and Jackson became the front man of the project, while still cooperating with those DuPage GOP. He made the project his obsession, still wanting to make that name for himself.

Given that kind of base, watching the shenanigans at the RNC was all pretty predictable.

I heard governors talk mostly about themselves and their accomplishments despite their facts being largely exaggerated at best. Much of what they said failed this morning's fact checking. It was easy to recognize the pattern when I heard it. The main point they wanted to get across was based on their need for self aggrandizement.

If all these wonderful statistics were true and the governors who spoke turned their states into such job havens, why wouldn't those great benefits fall under the umbrella of Obama's economic policies? If their states were doing so well, wouldn't the numbers for the whole country look better? Trying to look at only a partial picture is a pretty typical political move. I know it to be one the GOP uses all the time. Politicians are largely one-trick ponies. They learn one trick and use it over and over and over again, even when it ceases to work.

Nikki Haley's harangue about Obama suing South Carolina over Boeing was only half the story. She forgot to mention that all those new jobs from Boeing in South Carolina, a right to work state would have saved Boeing lots of money that it was paying its workers in Seattle, who incidentally got laid off. That is another typical political move--cherry-picking information, using only what makes you look good and hoping no one notices.

It is really nice that after all these years, that Ann Romney really loves her husband. Perhaps if he bought me fancy cars, beautiful homes, and all the riches I could ever ask for, I'd love him too. Well, maybe not because to me, those things don't translate into love. I'm not sure she convinced everyone to love her husband just because she does. Or do I trust him just because she does. Perhaps she is really naive because I don't trust people that tell as many lies as he does.

Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address was a barn-burner alright. It was the best speech of the night. He really is a great speaker. Trouble is he forgot that he was supposed to talk about Mitt Romney. Instead he merely set the stage for his own run for the White House in 2016. Politicians are such self-serving egomaniacs.

And then there was Mitt Romney. The one thing he has going for himself is that he lacks that whole ego thing.   Romney doesn't have enough personality even for his own ego. He seems unfeeling, unemotional. I suppose that is a defense mechanism that is necessary when you do as much harm to people as he has during his economic life at Bain.

I don't care what his wife thinks of him. I don't trust anything he says because it has become quite clear that what he said yesterday may not be what he says tomorrow.

Just the other day, I saw a videotaped piece where Mitt Romney said he didn't invest in the Cayman Islands to save money on taxes; that he didn't get any tax break for his offshore investment. Liar! That is the only reason to invest in the Cayman Islands.

Even if he didn't lie about everything he touched, or released his tax returns, I would still disagree with Romney's philosophy of running the government like a business. Businesses are profit driven. I don't think that should be the objective of government. Making money is not what it is all about. Government is about people. Mitt Romney doesn't seem to have a sense of how to deal with people. I hate that he doesn't want to answer questions. That is also a part of government that I feel is very important.

I'm anxious to see if there is anything redeeming about Paul Ryan's speech tonight, although I feel like I'm about to sit in that dental chair again. I suspect the pain is going to escalate as the convention wears on. All I can say is, thank goodness, the RNC has been shortened by one day.



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