Regular readers of this column are familiar with the dilemma: Whose politics are crazier and more infantile, America's or Israel's? The all-white Republican convention is helping me decide.
Their politics beat ours. It's hard to believe that adults, representatives of the public, participate in such a circus, and even derive great enjoyment from the acrobatic and clown acts.
Strong fears clouded Tampa beforehand, and the sky cleared up afterwards; meanwhile there were high points that the delegates will take home as souvenirs. A convention is known by its exalted moments.
The vice presidential candidate told the guests about his father's death. His story won people's hearts: how despite his loss, the little liar managed to survive and get ahead. After all, other orphans - only 16 years old - usually die of sorrow, but our Paul chose the life that chose him. And we won't vote for him?
While he was still talking, she came - a woman who has known illness, who struggled and overcame. There wasn't a dry eye when Ann, the honeybun of a wife, spoke about her husband the candidate: how he embraced her when he heard the bad news - as opposed to ordinary husbands who get angry at the poor woman and inform her on the spot that they're getting divorced - and how, she recalls, Mitt wooed her so nicely 40 years ago, took her to a party and brought her back safely. That's what he'll do to America, too, she promised, he'll take it and bring it back unharmed. The ceiling of the auditorium almost blew off.
And for the surprise of the evening: The actor and director who was chosen for the last speech before the coronation address. To the strains of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - a subtle hint - he placed an empty seat next to him to humiliate the black guy. Don't ask what the actor did to the president there, he tore him to shreds. Although his confused muttering aroused a suspicion that the elderly Clint is senile, the convention went wild when he called Obama "crazy." The American media mentioned an "embarrassing moment," but the daily Israel Hayom reported that "it is hard to exaggerate the excitement that seized ..." just as Sheldon would have liked.
Now comes the candidate's big moment to deliver the "speech of his life," to prove that he's a human being rather than a zombie. The mission was successful: Romney read fluently from the teleprompter, without clicking his tongue as usual and almost without a single Freudian slip. He even managed to be moving, when he spoke of his parents who were married for 60 years, and every morning his father placed a rose on the night table next to his mother's bed. Until one morning the rose was not there, and then the wife realized that her husband was dead. The convention rose to its feet and wept with joy. That's how a large historic party chooses the leader of the free world. Beyond belief.
That's what happens to a party whose religious and family values are more important that its political values, and which conceals its cannibalistic agenda behind balloons, confetti and blond grandchildren onstage. The candidate, if elected, will overfeed the fat people and starve the thin ones, will abolish health insurance for all and cut back on welfare, but the rednecks will finally have someone to vote for. Because it's all in the family, and we're all one big ugly family.
The Israeli republican party is also deceiving its enthusiastic voters, and is cutting off the dry, weak branches. And nevertheless: Between Netanyahu and Romney, Netanyahu is preferable. He at least has to beware of overdoing sentimental family values, after not always observing the most conservative rules of marital relations; and not always, in his past, did he serve as a model for a stable partner relationship and protective parenting. If only that were his main shortcoming.
Whereas my wife, to whom I have been married for 50 consecutive years, still refuses to recommend me as prime minister. What embarrassment she is causing me.
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