What I Saw at the Convention

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I spent a day of my life at the 2012 Republican Convention. The plan was to stay for full four days, but the choreographed and staged "decision-making" made the 2,000 plus delegates irrelevant. Republican Party members hoping to see democracy in action were left staring at a fuzzy gray screen, listening to static, beating their heads against padded white walls. No free man would subject himself to such idiocy. As Doug Wead so delightfully put it, the party has been reduced to "ten fat men sitting in a room."

One of these fat men is John Sununu. Watching him on Tuesday afternoon steamroll the wishes of half of the delegate floor, and destroy what was left of the integrity of the GOP, I was strongly reminded of Nurse Ratched running the floor at the Salem State Hospital. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ratched dominates her fiefdom sternly, with her contempt for her charges oozing with her every smirk, and every command. This evil queen saw criminality in a raised eyebrow, revolution in a meek request for equality. Punishment for dissenters would be quick, overwhelming, and comprehensive. John Sununu's totalitarianism was on display, and his goal seemed obvious: the literal and figurative lobotomy of the constitutional and liberty movement within the party.

As with the Salem State Hospital, the world of the RNC convention, the world of ten fat men, their sycophants and enablers, is a small place, removed from natural law, and removed from the reality of America. This is the real blessing — we can and are walking away. Millions of us are literally and figuratively walking away from the kabuki theater of neoconservative statism posing as a popular problem solving. We can do this!

If our own party's Nurse Ratched didn't frighten from the stage, we have Romney campaign lawyer and strategist Benjamin Ginsburg orchestrating totalitarianism from behind the curtains. He has been called a bête noire of the Tea Party, but he's really just a lawyer — the very kind of lawyer that Clint Eastwood was talking about.

Romney's advisors include all manner of warfare-welfare statists. I'm not naming all the names here, but I think the flat and poorly received speech by head neoconservative statist John McCain said it all. The GOP media, notably on talk radio, carefully avoided all mention of McCain after his dismal and eye-darting display of war promotion as republicanism. If he isn't the original Manchurian Candidate, he'll certainly do.

The ten fat men in the room rarely get up in front of the people, and they certainly don't take questions. The convention speakers were instead front men and women, and except for Clint Eastwood, all heavily scripted and controlled. I have one thing to say about the presentations given by the array of bright, handsome, pretty, clean and coiffed "conservative" speakers paraded before the podium for four days. They didn't build that! The lack of passion in the speeches, and the restrained audience response to them, indicated that they knew that none of them really owned the message. That's how democratic centralism works.

Observers, attendees, and the media frequently noted that the convention wasn't all that fun. It certainly wasn't entertaining. It lacked positive energy, and the attempted decapitations of the liberty wing of the party fostered a generalized anxiety, rather than loud cheering around the cage. The "two will enter, one will leave" mentality engineered by the ten fat men seemed instead to result in a ragged fracturing of the GOP, with too many people recognizing that we can't do this.

The liveliest presentation of the four days was Eastwood's own act on stage, a dash of honesty and fearlessness that boldly slapped the GOP establishment as evenhandedly as it slapped the Obama administration. He had an RNC vetted speech — and he chucked it. This simple act of nullification sent waves of fear and anger throughout the establishment controllers. I don't know if they lobotomize 82 year olds, but I imagine the thought crossed Nurse Sununu's mind. I've no doubt the Romney team was assessing its medical options in real time as Clint charmed and educated those watching.

This convention convened nothing and decided nothing. Onerous security, unhealthy and overpriced concession food in the Forum, the moment-by-moment scripting of the convention speeches, and the pervasive fear of the liberty and constitution segment of the crowd is what we will remember. Ten fat men in a room built that.

These devils dancing on the head of a pin ultimately amount to very little. What these men built isn't good, doesn't work, and won't sell. Their so-called conservative message — saving welfare programs to be paid for by unborn Americans, fighting wars on the other side of the world on borrowed money, cutting imaginary out-year federal budgets and calling that constitutional government — is falling flat.

When in a rare moment over the four days we heard about a flawed monetary policy, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution — cheers roared out. Oh, wait. Flawed monetary policy, our shredded natural rights, a trashed Constitution were not discussed from the stage — the best the ten fat men could do was suggest we might be able to balance the budget in 27 years (Ryan's "plan") and point out that "everything was free but us" — and then go on to the next topic before we could really think about what that means, and what the GOP's position really is on that lack of liberty.

Real people are the majority — let's start with the 23 million men and women in this country who want to work and produce and currently cannot because the government is in the way, or the 100 million who don't vote because Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber offer no real change, or the 200 million who deeply cherish their children and grandchildren. We matter, we count, and ultimately we do rule. We built it, we can do it, and ten fat men in a room better stay out of our way. The Democratic Party establishment has their own ten fat men in a room, and we know they won't have Ron Paul on stage either. The GOP establishment clearly has no idea how to restore the Republic, and these bureaucrats are not interested in learning how.

Happily, that's our job and we started without them years ago. The anachronistic statist party they built, like an old factory that would not adapt to technological and market reality, will be boarded up and lights out within a decade. If there is one thing I learned at the 2012 GOP Convention, it is that the liberty movement is vibrant, fearless, and unstoppable.

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She ran for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district in 2012.

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