The Republicans Turned Obama into an Invisible Man; And Now You Can Follow Him on Twitter

Perhaps the most bizarre event at this week’s republican convention was Clint Eastwood’s surprise speech. The supposed republican ace in the hole. Their coupe de gras. Their outflanking maneuver to send the democrats running.

Yet this speech was both far more and far less than what they intended. Instead of sending democrats running in route, the surprise speech was, instead, a self-inflicted wound. And the speech was nothing short of surprising. It included, among other things, a down-talking ramble to an invisible Obama sitting in a chair on stage.

Clint asked the invisible, mute, captive Obama a number of off-color and degrading questions. It was a sort of odd massacre of beat-nick humor, stand-up comedy, acrid politics, and ad-lib all recast to appeal to the narrow persuasions of the Republican Convention audience.

Clint’s invention of the invisible Obama is like an odd melding of the sock puppet, the effigy, and the straw man. All are tools that republicans would be familiar with. The first being the oft-seen anonymous troll in political chat rooms who seems to endlessly spout, line-for-line and without deviation the most recently packaged set of republican misinformation. In this case, however, the sock puppet was produced to serve as an object of mockery. A mental outcast of Clint Eastwood and a reflection of republicans deep denigration of Obama.

As such, Invisible Obama absorbed the painted faces held aloft by tea party supporters, becoming a form of grotesque mental effigy that accurately portrayed the cognitive dissonance projected by a party motivated by disdain, increasingly disconnected from reality. Which brings us full circle to the ‘straw man.’ Poor invisible Obama was just an empty chair erected to contain all the fallacious arguments Clint or other republicans might dream up to throw at an imaginary object. One with no ability to respond to the oft-tossed barb.

In short, Invisible Obama is the dream opponent for republicans. He conforms to all their darkest fantasies. He doesn’t talk back. He looks as scarey as they can imagine in their most horrifying nightmares. And, last of all, he doesn’t respond. He is their invisible, mute, derided, painted punching bag.

But the deepest irony of Invisible Obama is an unintentional channeling of the seminal literary masterpiece by Ralph Ellison. The Invisible Man is a story about a man robbed of identity by an adversarial culture. A man whose achievements, brilliance, and talents go unrecognized. A man forced to live like a troglodyte, underground.

A more perfect allegory to what republicans have attempted to do to Obama could not have been crafted by the political and literary geniuses of our time. It took Clint Eastwood to tell the truth. To summarize for us all the detractions of Obama’s critical achievements, to reveal for us their downplaying of his eloquence, to unmask their denial of his sound and solid leadership. First they character assassinated him. Now they turn him into a wraith whom they exhibit, circus-like at their convention.

It took Clint Eastwood to unintentionally part the curtain on the republican psyche and reveal for us its ugly, bizarre and repressive inner workings. It took Clint Eastwood to show that the man republicans are running against isn’t our president at all, that it is, instead, a mute, invisible, hated contrivance. A Gollum-like creature enslaved, corrupted, and made permanently invisible. A fantasy foe for a party that can’t quite come to terms with the reality of Obama our President.

But perhaps the republicans have unintentionally invented something worthwhile here. Worthwhile at least in the way The Onion may find worthwhile. An Invisible Obama does have a certain appeal as parody of the republican psyche. As a revelation of their fears, racism, narrow-mindedness, and great lack of capacity to handle change. And, for this reason, it is likely that Invisible Obama has received over 45,000 followers on Twitter.

Large Tropical Storm Isaac Churns In Caribbean, May Rain on Republican Convention


Forming over the tropical Atlantic early this week, Tropical Storm Isaac is a large system that models project may impact the Tampa Bay region just as the republican convention kicks off.

The ninth storm of a busy hurricane season, Isaac is currently spinning out massive thunderstorms as it plows through open water. According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaac is forecast to rapidly strengthen over the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane within that time-frame.

Forecast weather tracks bring the storm to the coast of Florida early next week, with some long-range tracks bringing it over the Tampa Bay region by sometime Monday or Tuesday.

Some researchers have linked the increase in hurricane frequency and intensity over the past few decades to ongoing global warming and the warmer oceans that result. Model studies have shown that higher temperatures do result in the most intense storms being more severe but conclusions have been mixed on storm number.

Many republicans deny that human beings are causing global warming. They are the representatives of political interests who have manufactured a false debate over the existence of human-caused climate change. Just this week, three oil company-funded specialists published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal with the goal of appealing for a longer period of non-action on climate change. All of these individuals have received oil company funding. One of them is a former oil company executive.

The Journal and sources like it, however, have treated these individuals as if they were climate change experts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Two of the authors have never published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change. The third, one of the last remaining scientists who deny global warming, has been consistently proven incorrect by both data and observation.

Sadly, the Journal, since its acquisition by Newscorp, has become the mouthpiece for such nonsense. Even worse, the republican party, which once contained a number of members who recognized the validity of climate science, has since been gobbled up by oil company special interests bent on creating a cloud of silence, inaction, and misinformation over the issue.

Now a storm forms over hotter than average seas, plows through hotter than average air, and sets its sights on a land parched by climate-change induced drought. As republicans and their oil company allies gather in Tampa, let us hope that a climate-enhanced storm doesn’t cause them undue inconvenience or discomfort. We wouldn’t want the oil companies’ servants to be hampered by something so trivial as climate, after all.


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