Looking Back at the RNC: On Kerry, Stockdale, and Mitt

I think my favorite part was when Clint Eastwoodaccused Obama of starting the war in Afghanistan without discussing it with the Russians first.

I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK.

You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for 10 years.

In all seriousness, everybody making Stockdale comparisons all over need tostep back:

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale died in 2005. He served on theTiconderoga in the Gulf of Tonkin, and was shot down over Viet Nam in 1965. He was the highest-ranking naval officer to be held as a POW, and was Ross Perot’s VP candidate in 1992. Interesting guy. Afraid they’d videotape him and show the world a well-treated and valued prisoner, he beat himself with a stool. He cut himself with a razor; he did what had to be done. He limped for the rest of his life.

In the camp, he invented new ways for his men to resist torture, sent coded messages to his wife, invented new ways to break through isolation and communicate with each other. New ways to stay alive. The men cleaning the courtyard, during a period of enforced silence, swept the ground in the syncopated rhythm he’d taught them, silently and defiantly spelling out to him inside the walls: “We love you. We love you. We love you.”

That’s an actual bad motherfucker, not somebody who’s played one in the movies.

Speaking of comparisons that are making me bonkers, just for kicks, let’s look at my boyfriend John Kerry’s convention speech in 2004 and see if it is ANYTHING AT ALL LIKE THIS CRAPFEST:

Listen to thatroaring. They won’t let him START. Mitt had to rush to the stage before the applause ended so it wouldn’t look pathetic.

(Also, as a writer? There’s no goddamn contest. Cadence and artistry.)

He didn’t have to wait for the audience to catch on to the applause lines. He didn’t have to ask for the laugh. He lifted that crowd UP.

Most of all, listen to the story he’s telling, the lessons he learned. I have zero truck with Mitt’s “success” in business being the backbone of his story, but it’s not fundamentally fueling any kind of understanding of what America is about. It’s not teaching Mitt about all the ways government can lift up and support decent business practices. It’s just an example of how government sucks and needs to go away.

Kerry’s history, even the difficult parts when America failed him and the rest of us, taught him about the greatness of America. Mitt’s, by his own words, taught him that Obama sucks.

That’s not even rage-inducing. It’s just sorrowful. It’s a pity.


3 thoughts on “Looking Back at the RNC: On Kerry, Stockdale, and Mitt

  1. Eastwood…Afghanistan…
    Think of Kyle’s mom (Mrs. Brovslowski? spelling?) “What? WHAT??? WHAAATTT???”
    Not only is Eastwood quoting the anti-war protestors from the early Bush II era, but also forgetting about how Reagan involved the US with Afghanistan.
    Couldn’t agree more about Kerry. I see it as having substance versus vague innuendo (intentionally redundant).

  2. I didn’t know Admiral Stockdale had passed. RIP. He was, as we used to say in Texas, a man to ride the river with.
    I might never forgive Ross Perot for putting him through that crap.

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