Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 31, 2012

Republican National Convention 2012: 3 R’s

POTUS and VPOTUS in January 2013

Great convention, except for the power grab on the RNC rules.  R&R should win in sixty some days.  It depends on how much more turnout – folks who don’t normally vote – can show up to beat the cheating in the swing states.

Watching the Convention I was taken back to 1980.  Romney isn’t Reagan.  The memories are triggered by my events in my life, not the political menu du jour.

In the Summer of 1980 I was in graduate school #1 – Harvard.  My wife was seriously ill after government doctor malpractice.   I was doing all the night time care for our 3 year old girl and 1 year old boy.  I was a 29 year old U.S. Army Infantry Captain.  Since I was studying in the Kennedy School of Government, it was a very exciting time for an election.  All the students and faculty were fired up.

One of my Summer school courses was to help with the Presidential Transition Paper that would be given to Ronald Reagan on the off chance he would win.  I spent much of the Summer underground in the library researching Department of Defense transitions from 1953 through 1977.   My senses recall the hot days and cooler nights in Boston during the conventions.

When I got the babies to bed,  I sat with my back to  our big front window (we lived on the first floor of a two family, 3 story, shotgun house circa 1910) catching whatever breeze came through.  We didn’t have air conditioning.  My wife was upstairs – ill.  I opened my beer and watched political theater from curtain to curtain – for the first time in my life.

It was all very exciting.  Reagan gave a powerful speech.  Conversely, most of the other Republican speakers sounded like accountants.  They were as inspiring as accountants preaching from the tax code.  The Democrat rhetoric soared.  It was passionate.  It connected to me.

Yet,  I wasn’t taken in.  I joked that I was a singe issue voter.  I was voting to remove the Secretary of the Army.  When my professors, the late Dick Darman and Roger Porter, had a secret ballot the day before the election, I was in the tiny minority voting for Reagan.  In a few weeks the good profs ran off to Washington to serve in the Reagan Administration.

I can feel the feelings from 32 years ago.  From how my body felt to my hopes, fears and dreams for my children to my unabashed joy in soldiering to my tenderness for my wife to my ache from the recent death of my Father and my worries for my Mother to my prayer life and relationship with the Lord to my thrill in studying and learning so much in such a wonderful place to the open paths of well-lighted possible futures to the tight money of just getting by to the excitement of competing ideas in the public square to gutting through the fatigue of day followed by night after day after night of work, work, work to the soothing music of the day – Chris Cross – and laughs at Saturday Night Live to the wonder of what will be.

I had no idea that Reagan would win so big.   From our life in Boston, my radar didn’t pick up what was happening across the country.

32 years passed.  I didn’t try to watch the political theater gavel to gavel.   The thrill is gone.  Not the passion.  No, no, no.  Not the passion, drive and determination to do whatever I can for my America and Virginia.  It’s the close association of 20 years of party politics – 15 years being elected to one or multiple Republican offices.  Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.   I graded the RNC convention more than I absorbed the show.

The RNC got an ‘A’.

Rubio, Clint Eastwood and the other supporting actors, except for Gov. Me Big Me from NJ, played their parts very well.  Rubio and Eastwood had some outstanding lines.

Ryan and Romney performed perfectly.

Romney’s rhetoric didn’t soar.  His words didn’t paint the vision that would motivate Americans – and be captured in the history books for their resonating power.  Yet, Romney’s big speech talked to the mushy moderates in the middle who really don’t know who they will vote for – but toss upon the waves like an un-anchored boat until they decide in the last two weeks.

The irony of the ignorant deciding weighty decisions by their simple votes – to set the fate of the Republic isn’t funny.  Even though I try to laugh.  Romney spoke to these citizens.   I hope he connected.  I hope he keeps on connecting.  And, Ryan too.

When Romney and Ryan are inaugurated, I will cheer when they repeal Obamacare.   Then, Mitt Romney is on probation with me.  (I’m an American.  I am the Sovereign of Virginia and these USA.)   I don’t trust him.  We’ll see how the Establishment Republicans weld power this time – after the Tea Party Awakening in 2009.

These times are too serious for power to be left to politicians.  We are at a tipping point to go one way or another across a cusp of history.  Which way we go takes us to very different sides of the mountain – and their much different futures.

Walk well, true and lightly – you Establishment Republicans.  Don’t tread on me.

Ronald Reagan in 1980



  1. Spot on again Jim.
    The rules power grab will be problematic I fear.
    As I have also said, I don’t trust Romney, and pray that he will prove himself to us when elected. Ball is in their court. I agree: Don’t Tread on Me republicans!
    It is uncanny to think that the future of the republic rests in the hands of the least informed, least committed: the “undecided independents”.

    Funny, some events in life I can vividly remember exactly where I was. Reagan’s election night I was TAD in San Diego and my family was living in NoVA as I was assigned to HQMC in Washington. We young officers gathered around the TV in the BOQ commons room and were electrified that night watching the landslide take shape, state by state, to the horror of the MSM announcers and pundits.
    I hope to experience a similar emotion in two months.
    Deo Vindice!

    • DV: The Establishment Republicans – the elites – have no idea how many people are ready to go to the 3rd Party if they blow it. No clue.

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