The Autumning Empire

Culture, Politics, Etc.

Survival Guide To The Republican National Convention

UPDATED 8/26/12

See bottom of post for inclement weather policy.

Sometimes pain can drive a man harder than pleasure. Surely you know that, doctor. Captain James T. Kirk

Thus, we turn our attention to the 2012 Republican National Convention. Of course, you aren’t going to watch it. And you know you probably shouldn’t.

And yet…

Amid the squalor of the empire’s final days, may we not discover the smallest traces of divinity, grace, and beauty?  “I can resist everything except temptation,” said Oscar Wilde, a man who most Republicans would burn in effigy – if only they knew who he was. Never the less, should you feel compelled to stare into the depths of the infinite Republican abyss, here is The Autumning Empire’s Survival Guide for the 2012 Republican National Convention.


The Lord has sent us a tropical storm! Hallelujah! His will be done! Unfortunately, this particular storm threatens the fate of thousands of white evangelicals now attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida. Brothers and sisters, listen to me, and remember: God does not punish Republicans. Rather, the Lord tests the faith of his beloved servants. You know, kind of like Job. Only different. And just forget all that other stuff I said about Hurricane Katrina being a punishment for America’s sins. Seriously. Forget about it. Now! The Lord works in mysterious ways. And throughout the infinite cosmos, and all of creation’s wonders, there is only one being who truly can truly understand the mysterious works of God: Me, Pat Robertson. So pray for our delegates. And God Bless America. And don’t forget to Vote Republican!

The Autumning Empire’s Survival Guide To The Republican National Convention

Sunday, August 26

7:46 AM  Wake up and learn that Tropical Storm Isaac’s approach means that the convention has been all but cancelled for Monday. Privately admit that you were actually looking forward to sitting in front of your TV and making fun of these hypocritical wankers.

8:12 AM Oh my God! It’s almost as if the storm is a….metaphor for the Republican convention itself!


814 AM  Wait, is that a metaphor or an allegory? Damn it! You never could get the two straight!

10:27 AM Read that the GOP is prepared to hand out umbrellas and ponchos to all the attending delegates. Man, it sure is comforting to know that if these guys are elected, they’ll know how to handle a natural disaster.

12:54 PM  Ok, wait, if the storm is a metaphor, then what does it actually stand for?  A metaphor actually has to stand for something specific, doesn’t it? Jesus, don’t you remember anything from Freshman English?

2:26 PM  Be struck with the profound hope that the entire convention will be cancelled, and Obama will run in November unopposed. Then ruefully remember what happened when you dared to hope four years ago.

3:03 PM  Wait a minute, what if the storm is a metaphor for Romney and the entire GOP?Which would mean that Florida is actually the United States. Or what if the whole thing is a metaphor for another Florida voting debacle in November. Or what if – you know what, THERE IS NO METAPHOR! Realize, finally, that English Humanities was a complete and total waste of time, and decide to call it a day.

Monday, August 27

1:58 PM Quickly use your work computer check in on the abbreviated proceedings while your boss isn’t looking. Admit that you are powerless over politics, that your life has become unmanageable.

2:00 PM  Hear the opening gavel reverberate ominously throughout eternity..

2:17 PM  Experience a massive wave of relief that, due to a change of schedule, The Oakridge Boys will not be singing the national anthem.

2:19 PM  Explain to your boss that this is a “sort of trying a new marketing strategy.” Experience Kafkaesque anxiety that perhaps he is a Republican, himself. Is he? It’s possible For Josef K, it was always so hard to tell.

2:20 PM  Listen to Chairman Reince Priebus’ sage and judicious words about the safety of the delegates before he wisely adjourns. Realize that if these elitist Republican wankers had shown the same concern for the people of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, history would have turned out a whole lot different.

Tuesday, August 28

5:45 PM  Express disappointment that Billy Crystal isn’t hosting this year. Ok, maybe not.

6:02 PM  Avoid the temptation to stifle your emotions through binge eating; resolve to snack only when a speaker utters the name of former president George W. Bush.

6:15 PM  Derisively scoff at the practice of nominating the president first, and the VP second. Where’s the build? Where’s the tension? Didn’t these people ever learn about a story arc? Well, given their hostility to public education, probably not.

6:18 PM Using a Hegelian framework, analyze this convention as a negative, yet necessary, mediative process through which the abstraction of the republic must pass through in order to become fully realized and concrete.

On second thought, just keep making jokes at the expense of the speakers, and tell yourself that you are much, much smarter than those who are about to take control of your country.

6:30 PM  Boy, this role call thing sure is taking a long time. Even though no one’s mentioned W.’s name, maybe you’ll do a little snacking after all. Eating a whole bag of Smart Popcorn isn’t binging. Is it?

7:00 PM  Throughout David Brooks’ balanced yet incisive analysis, take a nice long trip to the bathroom. Preferably one outside of your home.

7:48 PM  Fall under the hypnotic spell of John Boehner’s orange, shiny forehead.

8:07 PM  Suck the nectar of Mike Huckabee’s sugar honey’d words as a weasel sucks eggs.

8:09 PM  Hope for an appearance by Ryan Seacrest, who would bring this ironic spectacle back from the brink of armegeddon into the safe and comfortable bailiwick of camp.

8:21 PM  Oh! Now you get it! That’s where they came up with the term: “santorum”.

8:23 PM  Wonder if the second night of the convention was important enough to pre-empt PBS’s Tupperware! American Experience.

8:36 PM  Choke on your pretzel upon realizing that Bobby Jindal is nothing more than a life sized marionette.

8:43 PM  Be pleasantly surprised at the GOP’s efforts to “reach out” to Latinos; ignore the nastiness of its unprecedented attacks on immigrants. And whatever you do: don’t think about Arizona.

8:51 PM  Wow. That’s Chris Christie? You were expecting someone more…more…oh, never mind.

8:52 PM  Turn off TV early; look for that bag of Peanut M&Ms.

Wendesday, August 29

 7:30 PM  Admit it. This is worse than you thought. Much worse.

7:32 PM  Stare at the new bought bag of Halloween candy from Wallgreens, and realize that it probably won’t help. Oh, well…since you already bought it…

7:36 PM  Take comfort from the fact that Ulysses S. Grant was a Republican. He wasn’t so bad, now, was he?

Oh right. He was.

7:42 PM  Wonder how even a Republican can stand the grating monotony of Mitch McConnell’s voice.

8:03 PM  Hey! John McCain! You used to sort of like that guy. Until you listened to what he actually had to say.

8:04 PM  Notice the cutaway of Sarah Palin grinning in the audience. Well, now! Don’t you have a thing or two to say about her!

8:05 PM  Find yourself wishing that they’d do more Sarah Palin cutaways.

8:06 PM  Damn it, it doesn’t matter what she looks like! Sarah Palin’s evil! You’re not about to “like” her on Facebook!

8:06 PM  Ok, you can just block her postings on your newsfeed. Or better yet, just read them ironically. That’d be ok, wouldn’t it?

9:02 PM  Hey, how come all these photos are of Sarah and Todd? How come there aren’t – oh! Commercials are over! What did you just miss?

9:03 PM  Switch over from PBS to Fox News. Never mind, turn it back, turn it back, turn it back!

9:04 PM  Put two and two together as Britt Hume drools every time someone says, “Paul Ryan”.

9:07 PM  Look at Ryan. Remember when the scariest Republican out there was Dan Quayle? Where the hell is he? Somebody bring him back! Now!

9:13 PM  Jesus, what happened to all the Wallgreen’s candy? There’s no way you could have eaten it already. Is there?

9:14 PM  Wonder why Paul Ryan is saying: “If I can not inspire love, I can cause fear!”

9:17 PM  Nod your head approvingly as Ryan advocates for less government control. Now scratch that same head as he calls for complete control over women’s bodies and reproductive rights.

9:29 PM  Understand that even though you may disagree with Paul Ryan, he is a rising star in the GOP, who is a disciplined, far reaching political theorist. Wait, you didn’t actually think that. It was Fox News thinking it for you.

9:31 PM  Pass out on the couch in a sugar-induced stupor. Dream of a world with candy…lots and lots of candy…

Thursday, August 30

7:24 PM  Skip dinner. Get right to the good stuff. Eat the brownies over the pan; you won’t spill crumbs on the carpet.

7:30 PM  Tune out the now familiar opening ceremonies and contemplate the looming horror of history’s iron boot.

8:04 PM  Hey, with a little more eyeliner, Marco Rubio could look exactly like Billy Zane in Titanic!

Can you tell the difference?

8:14 PM  Standing ovation for Mitt Romney.

9:14 PM  Romney’s speech begins.

9:26 PM  Be pleasantly surprised that the Republican nominee has devoted twelve minutes of his speech to address the crisis of American poverty.

Yeah. In your dreams, America.

9:27 PM  In a dramatic, hallucinatory flashback, realize that it was Romney who brutally murdered your parents and made you live with the Dursleys.

9:28 PM  Slap hand to forehead as Romney proposes that America become more reliant on fossil fuel. Wow! How come no one ever thought of that before?

9:29 PM  Pace the floor. Contain your anxiety. Are Romney and Obama really at a dead heat? Really? Really?

9:31 PM  Realize that Mitt Romney has spoken for thirteen minutes without uttering a single verb.

9:35 PM  Tell yourself that Romney would be a warmonger. Conveniently forget that President Obama ratcheted up the war in Afghanistan, legalized indefinite detention, and broke his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Just shut up about Obama, ok? He inherited a big mess! What! Do you want Romney to be president? Well? Do you?

9:37 PM  Gasp in horror as you realize that Miit Romney’s hair product is Soylent Green

9:42 PM  Raid the freezer in the basement and stuff your face with Otis Spunkmeyer frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. Anything to mitigate this growing sense of panic! Maybe the brainfreeze will make it better.

9:45 PM  Dear God, Romney’s still talking! What the hell left is there to say?

9:46 PM  Call your mother and scream at her. That’s right! Scream! She’s the one who ruined your life! She’s the one who has to pay!

9:47 PM  Call 911! Romney could be our next president! Someone has to do something! Now! Also, mom was kind of surprised by your call; she might have fallen and injured herself.

9:48 PM  What do you mean the police can’t stop him from being elected? What about the fire department? How about the National Guard?

9:49 PM  Realize that nuking the Resurrection Hub would have been highly, highly advisable.

9:52 PM  Turn your head away as Romney removes the rubber mask. Don’t look at it! Shut your eyes, Marion! Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!

9:53 PM  Gape in horror as the Romney and Ryan families storm the stage. This is the Zombie Apocalypse. Lock all the doors and board up the windows. Time to get ready for the long haul.

10:00 PM  Turn of the television, and realize that this is what’s left of the party of Lincoln.

And cry, beloved country.




The Autumning Empire is is an educational website. Like all educational institutions, we don’t plan ahead for bad weather, scramble at the last minute, and ask that you rearrange your life accordingly. If it’s good enough for my son’s grade school, it’s good enough for me. For your convenience, we will provide updates by 6AM, PDT every morning until the convention has reached its dark and apocalyptic conclusion. We realize that you have many options when shopping for conventional support; thank you for choosing The Autumning Empire.

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6 thoughts on “Survival Guide To The Republican National Convention

  1. Becket Warren on said:

    Ah, David. Enjoyable as always! Let me remove the spoon loaded with Ben & Jerry’s from my mouth so I can respons: I am so frustrated by American politics, and I often agree with your witty if depressing take on the state of the Union.

    I live in a Republican state. My mother votes an almost exclusively Republican slate. My brother spent years on the Hill, working his way from staffer to head counsel for Republican congressmen, and he has attended his fair share Republican conventions. I once gave him an elephant beanie baby.

    I am worried about our deficit–I’ve lived in serious/crisis/owe more than I make debt; I am looking toward a future (a rather immediate future) where I will again be worried, trying to pay bills with not-yet-maxed-out credit cards with rates of 29% or more. I am appalled that our nation is shuffling debt less efficiently than even I can do it. And yet there are government programs absolutely worth what we spend–how can we make deep cuts and raise tax burdens in the midst of recession and still fund education and Medicare and Medicaid and WIC and food stamps and after school care for at-risk kids?

    You hit the nail on the head when you state that Ryan will earn applause with his fiscal policy rant…but we elect him at our peril! Romney/Ryan? At what cost to personal freedom and civil liberties? The right wing of the GOP has made it impossible for a moderate to be heard. The Clinton/Obama legacy is compassionate overspending, but a Romney/Ryan White House could easily mean the revocation of Roe V. Wade, the end of accessible birth control, the inappropriate pandering of the Oval Office to religious hard-liners who make living as a gay male or a female of reproductive age a dismal prospect.

    As has been the case for too many past elections since my coming of age, an independent, moderate voter like me has no reasonable, viable candidate for whom to vote. Come on! My first presidential election was Reagan/Mondale!!

  2. Wow, Becket! What a thoughtful response. I kinda figured that I was preaching to the choir, so I wasn’t expecting any real ideas. Thank you for putting them on the table.

    The deficit is indeed a problem, but don’t count on the Republican party to solve it. Clinton was successful at reigning in spending; W. brought us back into deficit. The Republican party is genuinely committed to cutting spending on social programs that benefit the needy, but the numbers suggest that their rhetoric on the budget is merely a ruse.

    The Economist, hardly a left wing rag, has this chart that compare’s US military spending with the rest of the world’s. We spend about $700 billion, which is more than all the other countries in the world combined. I don’t know about you, but when I try to balance my budget, I look at my number one expenditure. And if I found that I was spending a whole lot more money on guns and ammo than doctor’s bills and home upkeep, well…I might want to reconsider my priorities. Maybe ask a few of my neighbors how they managed their finances.

    That said, we are not a poor country. The money is out there. Unfortunately, companies such as General Electric aren’t paying their share.

    For all the religious hysteria that permeates our national discussion, the belief that many Americans hold most sacred is that making a profit is a God given right. It’s not. Now, you can argue that a profit based economy is good for America, but it has to be argued practically. It it needs to be admitted that this philosophy violates one of Jesus’ basic tenets: giving up all worldly possessions to the poor.

    Either way, Becket, I agree neither Republican nor Democratic elected officials or candidates are honestly facing our nation’s problems. My concern is that, were they to do so, many of us might not have the courage to listen.

    Thanks again for chiming in, Becket!


  3. Hi David,
    I’m starting to interview people about the deep divide between liberals and conservatives. My first interview was a radical activist friend, and when I was done the red/blue divide seemed way less important. His main point was, while Democrats are better, closer to rationality, neither party is willing to really face the crisis that is coming, which is about resources (oil, water) becoming more and more scarce, and the growing effects of global warming. Most middle-class people, liberal and conservative, want to hold onto some form of this American lifestyle, which is going to become untenable very soon. He works with very poor people, who he says really don’t think the Democrats will do much more for them — they believe they’re basically fucked in any case. Most of them will not vote. Most of them skipped the recent Madison protests.
    I largely agree with this point of view, but I know there is something poisonous about this divide, about our demonization of each other. About the glaring lack of depth, rationality and honesty in our politicians’ statements, and the media’s coverage. I feel the obsession many of us have with our enemies on the other side is perpetuating the general denial and inability to respond to this new reality. I know this from inside — I have been tortured by my hatred of conservatives, and it grew really strong during the Recall here. Now that I’ve started this project, it’s getting better. Curiosity is displacing much of the rage.

  4. Andrew,

    Wow! Yet another incredibly thoughtful reply to what is certainly the most glib posting for ‘The Autumning Empire’, yet. It occurs to me that both you and Becket live in areas that are far more ideologically diverse than Portland, OR. I’m incredibly grateful for the nuance and depth of the remarks; the blogosphere so often is an echo chamber, rather than a hall for debate and deliberation.

    I agree with your friend. (And I’d love to read that interview, and the others. Please let me know how to find them; I’ll be happy to post a link). The health of the planet is the number one priority, and I don’t know any American, myself included, who has truly conquered his/her addiction to the imperial decadence of stuff and consumption. Robin Williams once did a bit that went like this:

    “Oh, filtered cigarette? It’s kind of like-” whereupon, he put a napkin over his head, and pretended to shoot himself with the napkin as a filter.

    It feels as if that’s where our efforts are right now. Rather than reversing climate change, we’re just sort of trying to slow it down. Or simply deny that it exists. And you’re right, Andrew: it’s an addiction and denial that cuts across party and ideological lines. When all this is over, historians aren’t likely to single out those of us who rode our bikes to work on Fridays, but drove automobiles the rest of the week.

    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst burn with passionate intensity.” This piece was targeted primarily who I believe are the worst: right wing leadership in this country, which is centrally located in the leadership of the Republican party. (Although I tried to make the protagonist of this little narrative, the ‘you’ character, lack all conviction). I believe that these folks (and not their followers) have set the tone and perimeters for our political debate. We’re all caught up in this addictive cycle, with most of us enabling these perpetrators.

    So….I don’t know. This satirical piece was clearly born out of intense anger. And fear for our future. I’ve heard it said that to be impartial is to impart nothing, and I agree with that. But you’re right: we need to be curious, we need to have conversations, and half of a conversation is listening. I’m looking forward to reading your interviews, and hearing what you and others have to say about this turning point in our history. Thanks again for chiming in.


  5. ssrqueen on said:

    I have only a moment and my two thumbs available, but wanted to say … Brilliant.

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