Tampa authorities have reported seeing a sizeable number of automobiles with dogs strapped on top, apparently early arrivals for the Republican National Convention. (Mike Huckabee had intended to join the motor caravan, but in a struggle with his reluctant canine companion, Huckabee wound up atop the vehicle and the dog behind the wheel.) Republicans don't pamper dogs, we know — though it remains unproven that Sarah Palin promised to eat a live dog on stage if they'd give her the VP nomination — and they take an even harder line toward low-income humans. There's a bad moon rising in Tampa this week. Malice warnings are out.
Florida's chief executive, Rick Scott, "the Florida Iceman," will be in full strut, no doubt. He's one of six Republican governors who've chosen to withhold health care from the poor by rejecting the federally financed expansion of Medicaid that is part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Another of these misanthropes is Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, whose state has the highest rate of uninsured citizens in the nation, a matter of deep unconcern to the governor. Perry prefers "limited government" to healing the sick. Strong government, he believes, should be reserved for seeing people off rather than keeping them around. For executing convicts, that is, another field in which Texas ranks number one.
Those photographs of bodies floating in the streets of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina didn't intimidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal into showing mercy to the less fortunate. Life goes on, he believes. Or, for the sick and poor, maybe it doesn't, but in any case, Bobby Jindal can't be bothered when he's fighting for tax breaks for the very rich and private schools that are poor-kid proof.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin isn't content with busting unions that assure a living wage for their members; he wants to make sure nobody sneaks any health care to them while they're underpaid, not unless his insurance-company contributors get a cut.
Clearly, there'll be some truly nasty people in Tampa. Nanking was raped by nicer guys. Even the city's famous strippers will feel the pain. Republicans go to strip joints, true, but they don't tip. "I worked hard to inherit this money," is a Republican slogan.
The stars of this dark drama will, of course, be Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Though second on the ticket, Ryan will be first in the hearts of the conventioneers. Totally unfeeling, someone who wants to do away with Medicare, which would mean doing away with millions of elderly Americans, he is Mr. Modern Republican. (Look for a Lifetime Achievement Award for the Koch Brothers too.) Romney seems indifferent to the suffering of the poor, but then he seems indifferent to, and uninformed about, everything except his own candidacy. He doesn't have the fire in the belly to smite the underprivileged the way Ryan does.
London was all about the Olympic spirit. Class warfare will be celebrated in Tampa.
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