The balloons have dropped, the last swaying odd body in a stars-and-stripes cowboy hat has been politely escorted out of the auditorium, there's been at least one weird explicitly racist incident and Mitt Romney stands idle in a darkened room waiting for his next day to begin. The Republican National Convention is over and we have a few days to reflect on its messages while we brace for the next avalanche of bullshit to bury us in Charlotte.
From the perspective of the Romney campaign the convention has to be considered a success. Lots of women and off-whites were trundled in front of cameras. The party's sallowest ghouls were chained in the basement thanks to some last-minute hurricane rescheduling.
Huckabee didn't mention that he believes rape is god's way of telling a woman it's time to be a mom and Sarah Palin was exiled to one of those Tampa tea party events where the only media coverage was an intern from The Grio making sure nobody yelled the n-word .
Even implacable Ron Paul and his supporters were dealt with in an Afternoon of the Long Gavels that saw their campaign of delegate guerilla warfare rendered meaningless.
It worked. Countless hours of speeches and videos at the convention have finally succeeded in convincing some independent voters that Mitt Romney is not a robot. He emerged from a father and mother and has produced humanoids. Old film reels included in a video depicted him smiling in a way that would not frighten dogs.
Almost every speaker, from Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, to Rubio and Romney, devoted at least some of their speaking time to telling the story of their family's past. Each story was similar. Parents and grandparents came to America and set out to create a better future for their children in this land of opportunity. Some of them worked multiple jobs to put kids through college, others did things with their hands in a coal mine to make a better future. The government was involved - in GI bills and buses and timely loans - but these details were recited and then immediately forgotten.
It was a celebration of upward mobility, as Chris Hayes pointed out, completely at odds with the entrenched wealth of nearly everyone invited to speak. People born with every advantage were forced to co-opt the story of the previous generation's accomplishments. It was never the admission, "I started with every advantage," it was, "My grandfather came here with a bucket of spit and a gleam in his eye."
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Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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