Live by the Celebrity; Die by the Celebrity

The whole phony PR stunt was in the works all week, and it turned my stomach. There would be a “mystery guest.” It was suppose to be bait for the press (mostly Faux Nooz­), supposed to build “buzz” for the last day, when Mitt Romney would make the foreordained “speech of his life.” “Foreordained,” because there was never any doubt that would be the headline, no matter HOW bad said speech was. Republicans don’t live in reality; they live in fantasy, as the embarrassing Republican National Convention proved beyond all doubt. But if you need further evidence, consider Byron York’s lying column in the Moonie paper, the Washington Times, which encompasses the entire thesaurus definition of “lie”:

aspersion, backbiting, calumniation, calumny, deceit, deception, defamation, detraction, dishonesty, disinformation, distortion, evasion, fable, fabrication, falsehood, falseness, falsification, falsity, fib, fiction, forgery, fraudulence, guile, hyperbole, inaccuracy, invention, libel, mendacity, misrepresentation, misstatement, myth, obloquy, perjury, prevarication, revilement, reviling, slander, subterfuge, tale, tall story, vilification, white lie, whopper

With the entire mediasphere howling with derision at Clint Eastwood’s astonishing performance today, and, aided and abetted by the Usual Suspects, his dissembling sits atop Memeorandum, with some story about a kid dying of cancer. Eastwood is barely given lip service, because, when the facts get in the way of the narrative, chain an anvil to the facts’ feet and dump them in the bay:

The most extraordinary story of the GOP convention
Byron York / Washington Examiner

Popular in Politics — TAMPA — When CNN asked top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom to assess Clint Eastwood’s performance on stage at the Republican convention Thursday night, Fehrnstrom answered simply, “It’s improv.”

And then, praising (without example or quote) all of the other speeches, York slithers into a touchy-feely quote about how Mitt helped a kid with terminal cancer to write a will. And this, saith the York, PROVES that Mitt Romney should be president. Yeah. Right. Sure.

If it is an embarrassing fact, then deep-six it. Rather than dealing with the firestorm dominating the blogosphere, York attempts to sidle, crablike, into a non-sequitur. Dog bites man. The Romney campaign at least was honest: it was ALL Clint’s fault. The guy flies in to give a speech, screws up, and you stick an ice pick in the back of his brain, snap it off and dump the body in the most convenient landfill. But … “Facts,” said John Adams, “are stubborn things.” Even if GOPpers would prefer that they weren’t.

And that brings me to the fundamental thesis here: the GOP has based its appeal on “celebrity” culture, at least since Ronald Reagan.

If you listened to Newt Gingrich’s paean to Saint Ronald of Ray-Gun, you might almost have thought Reagan liked Gingrich. He didn’t.

Reagan didn’t much like John McCain or Newt Gingrich

But those would be facts. Like the facts of the Reagan Administration versus the realities: Iran-Contra, selling weapons and parts to our sworn enemies and then putting the cash in Swiss bank accounts to fund a secret war in Nicaragua that congress EXPLICITLY told them not to wage. The stock market crash of 1986. The “war on Drugs” that did more to destroy civil liberties in the USA than all the mad fulmination following 9-11. The savings and loan meltdown (caused by deregulation) and then the bailout (which we’re still paying for). I could keep going. But Reagan’s record is spotty, at best, and contains many embarrassing and horrific facts that Republicans avoid with all the vigor that York avoids the Clint Eastwood speech.

Clint should have taken his own advice:
“A man’s got to know his limitations.

Because they needed “star power,” not facts, not arguments. Not logic or reasoning. Which is not MERELY the hallmark of Mitt Romney’s dishonest campaign of deceit and lies, and an almost Nixonian obsession with secrecy.

Which brings me to the nub of this. Because of Clint’s ill-advised exercise in public speaking and stand up comedy, the “Campaign Video” was shoved out of prime time, so most didn’t see it. But if you did, I think you might have seen what I saw.

Mitt idolized his father, George Romney. That’s cool, so did I. In 1968, I was a “Romney man” (even if I was in Junior High School). I was a teenage Republicans (or TARS), and was a page at the 1968 Wyoming Republican Convention, held in Laramie. And I watched in horror that season as the Nixon wrecking crew DESTROYED George Romney, whose decency and formidable qualities as a candidate made him John F. Kennedy’s most-feared competitor for 1964 — a campaign that never happened, and the GOP was hijacked by the “conservative” Republicans, who nominated Barry Goldwater instead, who went down to landslide defeat, only carrying his state AND the Deep South — a feat no Republican had EVER pulled off. (Nixon and Reagan took note of that fact, by the by, and it has created the modern “Republican” party, which is, if you know the historic roots of the GOP, the TRUE RINO here.)

So, I can understand WHY Mitt was so deeply distressed at how George Romney was crucified (with a lot of stealth help from the Nixon campaign) for saying that he’d been “brainwashed” about Vietnam, since he was then against the war, but had said how great it was after a Pentagon junket TO Vietnam, carefully choreographed to, yes, BRAINWASH him. He used the wrong word. He was conned, and perhaps had he said “conned” rather than “brainwashed” modern American history would be entirely different. Then again, perhaps not.

While Goldwater and the Conservatives were voting against
the voting rights act and the civil rights act (at the insistence of
Robert Bork and William Rehnquist) George Romney was
Marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. His son tacitly accepts
tactics that would suppress the Black vote in enough states to win.

But Mitt has NEVER gotten over it, t’would seem. He is OBSESSED with being Nixon, rather than his dad, obsessed with following the Nixon blueprint of “a secret plan to end the war” (which turned out to be “get myself elected”) and the 1968 Nixon campaign of “say nothing, reveal nothing, wrap yourself in platitudes and the flag.

Thus, this week has been less George Romney (whom I still consider a decent and honorable man) and much more Richard Nixon.

But Mitt is a bore.

And so, they needed that Ronnie Ray-Gun “STAR POWER” … with the whole show-biz phony “mystery guest” teaser whipped and flogged all week, to drum up enthusiasm for Mitt’s Acceptance Speech.

I have already noted that it’s all been smoke and mirrors. They went too far Wednesday night, and Paul Ryan actually lied SO BLATANTLY that even the Press Corpse sat up in its coffin and took notice. The buzz all day was “RYAN LIED!”

No! Really?


And this is the key point: Our entire press corpse and blogosphere are reduced, by the fact-free nature of this spectacle — sound and fury signifying nothing — to acting as amateur drama critics critiquing not the POLICIES or ISSUES, but, rather, the PERFORMANCES.

There is something fundamentally insulting about that, and something gravely disturbing about the nature of our politics that we can no longer differentiate between theater, political theater and politics. We continue to be in a grave situation at the very base of our American system: the unlimited stealth wealth attempting to buy the election with pure advertising; the massive, transparent attempts to suppress voters and deny minorities the franchise, not seen since the Jim Crow days of poll taxes and “literacy” tests; andthe crumbling economy and infrastructure ACTIVELY blocked from solution by the GOP, who literally live out the old joke about the man who murders his father and mother and then asks for the mercy of the court because, you see, he’s AN ORPHAN.

The conversation is only about ephemera. Only about distract, divert and dissemble. Only about “celebrity” and “star power.”

And, as Mitt and Co. found out yesterday in Clint Eastwood’s rambling, phony speech and psycho-drama, the sword cuts both ways.

Until his 1966 campaign decided to
play the “cowboy” image, Ronald
Reagan rode ENGLISH style. (Not an
actual photo)

At the highest moment in Mitt Romney’s life, the conversation isn’t about him. It’s about the failed circus stunt they’d been hyping all week.

The media manipulation of Byron York, The PJ Tatler, The Jawa Report,Hot Air, National Review, Wake up America, and the oxymoronically named americanthinker notwithstanding. (Jim Hoft must be on the loo). The usual suspects manipulating the blogosphere, as per USUAL, with coordinated cross-linking.

The complete Clint Eastwood “Harvey”
performance Courtesy of PBS

But the facts, uncomfortable as they are, remain: Mitt Romney is upstaged by his own stunt; the celebrity that the GOP has created the Ronald Reagan Mythology out of comes back to bite the GOP in the ass during the most embarrassing national political convention (either party) ever.

If they weren’t such liars and bastards, I could almost feel sorry for them.

And, t’would seem that my series “Selling the New Nixon” — written before there was a Republican nominee — was far more literal than I intended, when I wrote it.

Mitt is not the new George Romney. No: Mitt Romney IS the new Nixon: destroy the competition with lies and never show your cards.

Well they slipped and we’ve seen one, in this case.

The Joker.



A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, an honorary Texan, Clown (ditto) and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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One Response to Live by the Celebrity; Die by the Celebrity

  1. Matheus Kramer says:

    What a liar! 96 dems voted against civil rights! Dems made a filibuster ended by a republican senator do not approve Civil Rights! Dr King? Republican! Majority of votes in favor of Civil Rights? Republicans! LBJ voted AGAINST in 55 and was forced by REPUBLICANS to SIGN and when he did it he used the N word (“Those N word will vote for us for 300 years!”).