Not a Good Night at the Political Ballpark in Tampa

Posted on Wednesday night for Thursday.

Strike two.  For a country worried and anxious about the future, the second day of the Republican national convention was breath-taking in its failure to produce anything that the nation could use to begin to rethink its future.  Instead, Paul Ryan’s speech was an ongoing lament about problems that President Obama’s predecessor caused.  The only attempt at authenticity was a prerecorded video about the Bushes – one defeated for re-election and the other someone the country wishes it had never elected.  Even a solid Republican had to worry about that kind of a start.


One of the words that floated over the convention last night was “Catholic” – even Mike Huckabee used it.  Ryan made sure everyone knew he is a Catholic, a religion that depends heavily on the ninth commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  Ryan is going to have to go to confession.  His was a good speech but one that he is going to have to somehow explain to his priest.  He needs to be courteous and make sure he is the last one in the pews waiting to enter the confessional.  He is going to be in there a long time if he gets one of those priests who wants an itemized list of the mistruths and aspersions he confected.

Condoleezza Rice is not a Catholic, so lies come easier.  The nation is supposed to pay attention to someone who sanctioned lies that cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq?  And almost broke the nation with unfunded wars in the process?  I often wonder if she and Bush ever realize what they did.  Hanging around like an old ghost, she scared me and so did John McCain, calling as always for war and more war.  Always war.  Rice’s one sentence that rang true was that America has confronted hard times before, and it has always overcome them.  But because of her and Bush the country sure is having a hard time trying to get out of this one.  Now she is an education expert.  Too bad she did not say anything about schemes – in her native Alabama – by Republicans to keep blacks from voting in November so that they can vote in local school board elections.

The misguided marketing department at Republican headquarters must be deliriously happy about New Mexico Gov. Susana Martínez’ declaration that she packed heat in a parking lot.  But it seems hardly the message that the country wants to hear in the wake of shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.  Even those of us who support gun ownership get squeamish when it attains blood-thirst.  The only positive thing about her self-righteous speech was that she pronounced ‘Martinez’ correctly and fully.  She also did not perpetuate the fraud that the marketing department tried to pull when “Sher Valenzuela” — the allegedly HispanicLatino candidate for lieutenant governor of Delaware — argued that she and her husband built their business without government assistance.  Ask the Small Business Administration about that. Oh, by the way, Sher is Slavic and is Spanish-surnamed by chance.

Perhaps Mitt Romney will surprise tomorrow and give a speech that not only knocks it out of the ballpark but also says something other than repeat attacks based on inaccurate retelling of votes, off-based and duplicitous budget proposals and health care laws enacted.

If not, he like the rest of the convention will strike out.

Jesse Treviño is the former editorial page editor of The Austin American-Statesman and writes at

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