Month: August 2012

Republican National Convention: The Drinking Game

We go top shelf here baby! Ain’t no half steppin’ or malt liquor!

Now we here at the Mad (political) Scientist understand that while our readers may be political geeks in their own right, you’re not as big of political geeks as we are.

Because of this, we also recognize that while it might be a very good idea for you to watch gavel to gavel coverage of the political conventions and all of the speeches located within, you might want to blow off the Republican and Democratic National Convention clambakes in order to watch more stimulating television like, say, “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.

Now while we understand that you might want to do that, we want to keep your eyes trained on the one reality television show that we don’t as citizens watch nearly enough because it’s just a good idea to know what’s going on in your government and what’s up with the people who want to run it.

(Also, we want you to not watch shows like “Honey Boo-Boo” because while it’s given us a new word, “Redneckognize”, it’s the equivalent of eating a candied apple with a razor blade in it: the first bite is tasty, but as it goes down, it causes some really bad stomach problems.)

So in order to make sure you get the information you need to make informed decisions this election cycle, we here at The Mad (political) Scientist have organized an activity that everyone from scions of privilege with country club memberships to people who work part-time at WalMart and are in need of some amusement can do together.

What is it?

Well, it’s a Drinking Game!

But it’s not just any drinking game…no! It’s the Political Conventions Drinking Game.

Beginning with last night’s round of speeches, the text of which the folks at the Republican National Committee have been kind enough to send to me, I’ve scanned for words, phrases and other talking points that produce a coherent message, but don’t really tell you shit.

I’ve compiled the ones most often used throughout the various speeches and turned them into the RNC Drinking Game…

So…here’s how it works.

Whenever you hear a phrase like “family values” “American Exceptionalism”, “small government” “health care takeover”, or my personal favorites “tax cut”, “Ronald Reagan” and “Obamacare”, you are to take a swig of your favorite beverage.

We have even created a spotlight for the extremist views that get showcased at each convention because be believe that because those views are a part of the discourse, they should also be a part of the game.

For example, the Birther movement gets the spotlight this week. If someone says something that might be considered a “birther” position, you take a drink. If it’s a more overt “birther” thing, two drinks. An in-your-face, no doubt about it “birther” position, three drinks.

And if Donald Trump makes a birther comment, we consider it a wild-card. This means that if you want to grab that bottle of Jack Daniels’ Black and go hard with it, you have our permission…

Because you will hear a lot of phrases like these and a whole host of others a whole lot throughout this round of speeches, I strongly suggest non-alcoholic beverages. I’ve been drinking Arnold Palmers’ personally because, if Paul Ryan’s speech was any indication, the number of times he said “Obamacare” alone would have led to a nasty hangover.

But some of my friends have been doing much harder beverages, so I’ve kind of encouraged them to maybe drink a half a glass instead of a full one.

(To be honest, I’m not sure how many of my friends were awake for Ryan’s speech. A lot of them were hitting the sauce kinda hard. In fact, one friend of mine admitted to me that she was “hammered” before Condoleezza Rice took the stage. One friend had started drinking the minute he turned on the television.)

Now why did I do this? Simple. I wanted folks to actually start thinking about the political messages they’re taking in through these conventions.

I tend to call the buzzwords that permeate our current political discourse “dog whistles”. That’s because like dog whistles, these words emit a sound that no one else can hear except those tuned to its frequency.

When it’s your dog hearing the whistle to come home, that’s a good thing. But when it’s a group of people using those words to disparage another group, not so much.

I want us all to be able to recognize when the “dog whistles” are being sounded, so I created a game that allows us to look for them. Maybe through taking them apart, we can talk about things like the true impact of the Affordable Care Act on Medicaid, a responsible way to reduce the deficit that doesn’t do it on the backs of the middle class and the poor, education reform that makes EVERYONE involved in the process responsible, not just teachers, and ways to get to energy dependence that don’t involve war and further disturbing the fragile balance of nature.

Or at the very least, we can engage in some good libations and have some funny drunken moments that will end up on YouTube at some point.

In any case, if you’re gonna play, you’re need some practice before Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney takes the stage to end the RNC tomorrow. So, I leave you with Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s speech…

Remember: non-alcoholic beverages!


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The Chewbacca Defense

The Phillies probably could have used him tonight…

This is the first night of the Republican National Convention and I was a little hard pressed in terms of figuring out how to approach it from a Mad (political) Scientist perspective.

I thought briefly about starting this blog out with a picture of Hurricane Isaac but that would have been too obviously smart assed. You see, this convention started late because of the threat of Hurricane Isaac rolling through Tampa, Florida and taking several thousand Republicans with it.

It didn’t, of course. It instead decided to make the lives of New Orleans residents still smarting from the seven-year cleanup that is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina more miserable by hitting that city instead. But instead of being glad that it missed Tampa and hoping that no one was hurt in NOLA, folks like former New Hampshire Gov.John Sununu criticized the media for pulling reporters like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Soledad O’Brien away from the RNC and sending them to NOLA to cover the hurricane.

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh, who I’m convinced has jumped the shark using a jet ski these days, said that fears over Hurricane Isaac were due to a plot that President Barack Obama hatched as a means to get the Republicans to cancel their clambake.


Then I thought about starting this blog with what I’d like to call the RNC Drinking Game. If you heard phrases like “American Exceptionalism”, “Take Back The Country”, “You Didn’t Build That” or any of the recent Republican watchwords, you’d take a drink.

But after hearing from many of my Facebook friends that participating in this game would lead to some serious cases of drunkenness, I decided against it. So I was stuck.

I sat through most of the speeches, including the ones delivered by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Rep. Artur Davis, Ann Romney, the wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who cracked me up when he said he had no problem with TEACHERS, he just didn’t like TEACHERS UNIONS) and I noticed one thing. They all kept talking about love, respect, and other things that were really kind of nice.

Only problem with that, one of my Facebook friends said, is that all of this talk of love and respect did nothing to address the economy, something that you need to address if you want to take the job of the current dude living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was during that discussion that someone who is becoming one of my favorite people, my friend Benet Wilson, solved my “how to write about the Republican National Convention” problem. Wilson, who is the go-to woman when it comes to aviation, tech, multimedia reporting, and a whole bunch of other stuff I know very little about, said that the GOP was using the Chewbacca Defense tonight.

Now what is the Chewbacca Defense you might ask? It is something that our friends from the television show “South Park” came up with. I didn’t know it because I hadn’t watched the show in a while. It’s a way to distract people to get what you want to done without alerting these people to the obfuscation until it’s too late.


Now that didn’t make sense did it?

It wasn’t supposed to.

But it did make you laugh, which was the whole idea.

You keep people from understanding that what you’re hearing on television doesn’t make sense by obfuscating it with a whole lot of stuff that keeps you from getting around that conundrum. You hear people talking about love…and then realize that they don’t love unions or any of the other organizations that keep workers from being screwed over. You get a lot of people talking about the Buyer’s Remorse they feel because President Obama didn’t give them what they wanted…and you never ask the question “What about Congress?”

You hear Ann Romney talk about a “real marriage” and you hear the anti-Gay Marriage dog whistle, or at least that’s what my gay friends heard. And then just to end the evening, you hear about a Black, female CNN camerawoman who was insulted by someone at the convention who chose to throw peanuts at her and say that “this is how we feed the animals”.

To her credit, I think that Ann Romney did well in her speech. Her mission was to humanize her husband and I think that she did that, telling stories about their life together and how it wasn’t always possible to afford to put elevators for the cars in their beach home.

She kept talking about the high school dance where they first met, and how much he makes her laugh.

 In other words, she basically kept saying “Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor! That does not make sense!”

 (She also said that she wanted an America where we wouldn’t be jealous of someone’s success. I personally don’t think anyone’s jealous of Mitt’s success. However, when you leave the charred remains of several companies, the pensions of thousands of workers, and the dreams and aspirations of those workers in the dust that you trample on the way to your next triumph, it might make people want to give you the Pimp Hand. I’m just sayin’…)

But it’s going to take more than humanization. It’s going to take a plan that doesn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class or create the kind jobs that make the dream of being able to spend more time with family for most single mothers, a dream that Ann Romney articulated during her speech, next to impossible.

You’re gonna have to do better than a Chewbacca defense in other words.

We still have two more days of speeches to hear, videos to see, and other RNC reverie.

Let’s see if we hear a good plan…or if the Chewbacca Defense rules the day…

In case you missed it, here’s Ann Romney’s speech…

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