GOP Convention brews lies and hate

I can’t recall another Republican Convention more full of lies, demagogy, sexism and racism as the one just concluded in Tampa.

This noxious cloud enveloping the convention hall was meant to obscure a glaring fact – the GOP knows its policy of enriching the 1% and austerity for the working class is not a winning platform.

The GOP knows billionaire Mitt Romney, who spent all of 2 minutes of his acceptance speech explaining his program for the country, cannot overcome his sky-high negative ratings.

Working people sense his disdain as exemplified in his stewardship of Bain Capital, the equity firm obsessed with attaining maximum profits through job destruction and outsourcing and the countless offshore bank accounts hiding his true massive wealth.

The GOP is also aware the entire Republican platform, perhaps the most right wing in history, is out of step with the majority of Americans. The platform among other things:

calls for a national “right to work for less” law,

guts public sector unions,

outlaws abortion without exception,

calls for self-deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants,

makes English the official language,

outlaws same sex marriage and

reinstates “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the military.

And without shame, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and the ultra-right Republicans are brazenly committed to use racist hatred to slash and burn their way to the White House and a Republican Congressional majority.

The GOP is pinning its hopes on dividing the electorate, winning a decisive share of white voters and suppressing the vote of African Americans, Latinos, youth and students and seniors in a close election.

It’s hardly surprising given the GOP history. You could count on both hands the number of African American, Latino and Asian delegates in the convention hall, half of whom were speakers cynically promoted to obscure what was obvious to all.

Predictably, speakers subtly and not so subtly whipped the racist and sexist atmosphere, giving rise to numerous ugly incidents.

Speaker after speaker tried to outdo each other with vilification of President Obama, blaming him for every conceivable ill, accusing him of undermining freedom and liberty, hurling every disdainful, sneering jibe and invective his way while offering no alternative.

Horrified colleagues watched as Patricia Carroll, an African American CNN camerawoman, was pelted with peanuts by delegates.

Carroll said, “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”

Again stunned onlookers watched as Ron Paul supporters shouted down Zoraida Fonalledas from Puerto Rico, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization, with the chant, “USA, USA, USA,” as they protested the decision not to seat members of the Maine delegation.

Rick Santorum continued sowing the racist seeds he scattered during the primaries. As Joe Walsh noted in, “In case any was in danger of missing the racial subtext (of Obama supposedly gutting the work requirement for welfare), Santorum linked Obama’s supposed waiving the work requirement (which he did not in fact do) to “his refusal to enforce the immigration law.” Welfare recipients and illegal immigrant, oh my! Santorum made sure to scare white workers with the depredation of those non-white “slackers and moochers.”

Meanwhile strategists for the Romney campaign, desperate to cut into President Obama’s support, openly admit they will double down on racism to win votes from white workers. This proves Romney’s “birther” comment at a Michigan campaign rally was calculated.

The Romney campaign gleefully boasts it will continue running their patently false TV ad charging President Obama has gutted work rules for welfare recipients simply because they say it is having the intended effect of shifting some white voters.

The ad dredges up coded racist images to appeal to resentments among white workers reeling from the economic crisis. It follows the racist “food stamp president” characterizations of the GOP primary, regurgitated at the convention by former Arkansas governor and current right-wing hate talk show host Mike Huckabee.

Republican strategists pledge to continue running a blatantly false ad claiming Obama robbed $716 billion from Medicare in order to pay for the Affordable Care Act, supposedly undermining the program to funnel money to the poor, mainly African Americans and Latinos.

As the New York Times reported August 25, the Romney campaign doesn’t give a hoot about the truth but will “blow the dog whistle of racism” to erode Obama’s persistent support among white working class men and women – even all women.

“The strategic shift in the campaign message that has been unfolding in recent weeks reflects a conclusion among Mr. Romney’s advisers that disappointment with Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship is not sufficient to propel Mr. Romney to victory on its own,” says the Times.

Such an appeal to racism has a two edged sword. The country has come a long way reflected in the historic election of President Obama. Millions of whites, including crucial independent voters, are abhorred and turned off by blatantly racist appeals. However as long as it is still effective in blinding a section of white workers to their own best interests, the struggle against it is far from over.

The only way to counter the dangerous extremism emanating from Tampa is to expose racism, sexism and homophobia as morally repugnant, show the true common interests of our multiracial working class and people, spread the truth and fight for maximum unity and turnout on November 6!

Photo: Demonstrators walk with a Mitt Romney puppet during a protest march, Aug. 28, in Tampa, Fla. Thousands of protestors gathered in Tampa to march in demonstrations against the Republican National Convention. Dave Martin/AP



John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, where he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs. He currently lives in Chicago.