How the World Viewed the Republican Convention

Unless you were sleeping under a hollow rock, you would have heard about the Republican Convention held in Tampa a couple of weeks ago. I spent a few hours going around the world’s newspapers to see how they viewed the “Tampa madness”. Here in Ireland the press usually cuts the Republican party some slack. However since President Obama visited his cousins in Moneygall last year he is more or less considered a prodigal son. Most Irish journalists are well versed in backdoor politics and concomitant treacheries. The Irish Times had four articles on the Tampa convention, peppered with sharp insights such as this one: “Despite his reputation for stiffness, Mr Romney has shown in the past an ability to rise to the occasion, especially with a well-written text on the teleprompter.”

In the UK the Independent did not feature a story on the republican opening night, as it were, but spotlighted the peanut throwers instead.

I searched in vain for a report on the convention on the BBC web page. I had to click on US/Canada tag and it was the 6th item on the page with the headline: Ann Romney tells Republicans Mitt “will not fail”!

France’s Le Figaro portrayed Mitt’s wife as a woman capable of weaving an embellished life story while liberally interspersing subliminal messages to women in general who are sorely lacking at the Republican voting booth.

Covering a different angle, Le Monde wrote about how Paul Ryan will have to do the “dirty work” for his boss and rally around the fractious right wing factions. Here is the tenor of that story (translated by me): “Considered one of the main ideologues of the Republican Party, Paul Ryan said he was personally opposed to abortion without exception, while recognizing that it would be Mr. Romney who would decide the issue if they win. He is also against gay marriage and defends the rights of gun owners.

On the other side of the Rhine, Germans were certainly not buttering up to the Republican membership. The lead article in Der Spiegel was bluntly titled “Republicans Have Become a Party of Naysayers”, and largely criticizeed the rabid right with these brutally honest words:

And while he may want to govern as a statesman, he won’t be able to count on his party for support. For years, many US conservatives have given up political responsibility in favor of hardline ideology.

In short, they portray the would-be president as what Australians would refer to as a bit of a boofhead, a perpetually moving weather vane. In my opinion most of the world is weary of the obvious falsity that has become the Republican party, one that has long since given up pretending to be fair and balanced, ironically the two words that their putative mouthpiece, Fox News, would like people to think of their entertainment network.

The view from Israel’s Haaretz was somewhat muted (you need to register to read all articles, takes 1 minute):

The Republican Party has officially nominated Mitt Romney as its presidential candidate, and unveiled the platform on which the governor will run. That platform, which was formulated with the active participation of members of the public who submitted their ideas via the Internet, proudly embraces the idea of American exceptionalism, even referring to the concept specifically, by name.

You’d be hard pressed to find something on the RNC 2012 in the African press (no pun intended). I have searched for hours for tidbits of information and while there were a smattering of articles, there weren’t much in depth news. This was from South Africa’s Daily News:

Tampa – Mitt Romney’s campaign choreographed the Republican National Convention to sell voters on three ideas: that the party is unified behind Romney; that he is a qualified presidential candidate who’s warmer than he seems, and that his running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, is ready to be one step from the presidency. Whether the convention will give Romney a significant bounce in the polls over Democratic President Barack Obama is not yet clear.

I couldn’t find any news on the Tampa convention in either the Times of India, and the Indian Times. Zilch, nada. Even on their own search engines.

Asia Times’s pragmatic view of the incoming election can be surmised in this article here:

Mitt’s secret weapon may keep bombing. Ahead of the Republican convention and on the opening night of the hurricane-abbreviated affair, presidential candidate Mitt Romney unleashed his secret weapon, his wife Ann. Her jaw-droppingly vapid, smugly delivered speech qualified for immediate induction into the lost opportunity hall of fame for its lack of genuine detail, memorable anecdotes and authentic emotion.

Australian news have covered the Tampa jamboree as it thinks itself of being the fifty first US state. Mixed reviews aplenty! Take this seemingly pro-Republican article from the ABC: the headline was “Paul Ryan steals the show!” The last paragraph however is this:

“On the face of it, a bravura performance, but one which already had the fact-checkers and Democrats pointing out numerous gloss-overs, omissions and the possible flub that the closure of a GM plant in Wisconsin was Obama’s fault when it happened under president George W Bush. Has a star been born or a charming loose-with-the-truth ideologue been found out? For now, that’s all in the eyes of the beholder.”

The Sydney Morning Herald took a different course and opted for what is actually in the Republican Party platform:

“Have you ever met anybody who has read the party platform?” said the Republican House Speaker John Boehner at a Republican Convention lunch in Tampa on Monday. Boehner’s point was that the party’s platform document, like its convention, is too long. Fair point. But this year the party seemed to go out of its way to make sure even fewer people read the manifesto.

Japan Times did not have anything on the convention in its 100 or so headline stories. One had to click on latest editorials to find an article reproduced from the Washington Post about who is going to win the middle classes: Obama or Romney. Next week I will post a compilation of the Democratic Convention articles from around the globe.

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