(Originally posted Wednesday, September 03, 2008 )
9:22 p.m. We’re about to kick off tonight’s program in St. Paul, Minnesota. On the schedule are independent U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, and former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson. The theme of this year’s program seems to be reform. Which brings to mind Pappy O’Daniel’s lament in “O Brother Where Art Thou?”: “How in the hell are we supposed to run on the reform platform? We’re the god damn incumbents!”
9:22 The debate already turned electric earlier today when conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham accused the media “elites” of writing stories about VP nominee Sarah Palin. Not only that but in these stories they asked questions about who Palin was and then reported what they learned, coming up with several “facts” which they put into “articles” in an attempt to find out “something about who she is.” All of which are beyond the pale and beneath contempt for the liberal media out to destroy the values of simple, meat-eating Americans and their heterosexual family values.
9:22 Also, Laura Ingraham wants to know if you are calling Americans racist. No, you say. You were just talking about fruit juice. No, she’s pretty sure you were calling her a racist. Case closed. End of story. You are beneath contempt. Unborn babies.
9:22 Also, you are sexist. Attacking poor Sarah Palin for being a hockey mom from a small town. How are you sexist? Because you keep talking and talking about her: “Sarah Palin is a mother of five and goes to church and hunts moose.” I hear you saying it even now dripping with that liberal contempt. I don’t care if you didn’t actually say anything bad about her, I hear it in my mind.
9:22 Somebody is hopefully right now explaining to Laura Ingraham Hegel’s dialectic, which suggests that the inherent stupidity of certain ideas should be immediately self-evident to those who spoke them. Ideas like “Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president.”
9:44 Thank God. Laura Bush comes out. She’s grace on toast. She is a crostini on a bed of lettuce with a bit of pate. She makes you feel good. She walks and talks and speaks with the elegant simplicity of Occam’s Razor. She is a sorbet accompanied by a dainty burp and a fastidious wipe of the mouth.
9:45 She thanks Minneapolis for the warm welcome that she has received. And by that she means just she. Since her husband is about as welcome here as a warm onion fart in a sauna.
9:46 Laura had previously taken several moments to remind the crowd that hurricane relief efforts are under way in the gulf coast. She was joined by Cindy McCain. This is because domestic disaster relief is a great topic for the girls while the boys are off on alpha male pursuits like invading countries and threatening them with nuclear weapons.
9:48 Laura extols the virtues of Sarah Palin and her years and years and years and years of political experience. And years and years…I think we’ve got every year of experience now. No, one more …. years of experience.
9:46 Laura reminds us that her husband nominated John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, who have absolutely refused to legislate from the bench. And by that she means they are only activists when it comes to laws that conservatives like (see Gonzales vs. Oregon and the phraseology suggesting that the federal government can intervene in states’ issues “for the purpose of protecting public morality.” Also, see “Ledbetter vs. Goodyear,” which is probably the most crass defense of industry against a victimized worker that you’ll ever read.)
9:50: Also, let us not forget, Laura reminds us, that George Bush kept the country safe. Sorry, what she meant to say was, “After failing to keep the country safe, he went off and attacked a lot of random Muslims,” which, while morally indefensible, did provide the emotional closure that Ann Coulter needed to move on.
9:51 Unborn babies.
9:52 Finally, she cuts straight to the point: “Hey, at least my husband’s AIDS and education work wasn’t too horrific, was it? Is this thing on?”
9:54 George W. Bush addresses the crowd from a big screen, being patched in from the Cross Hall of the White House. He says hello to his parents, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, who are responsible for his existence. They wave excitedly, not only for the attention, but because they get to be here, while he, the sitting president of their party, somehow does not.
9:55 Bush makes an appeal to Republicans that John McCain is ready to assume the role as leader of the U.S., and that neither the Vietnamese nor the “angry left” of the U.S. could break him. Thus Bush affirms what most of us know already: that he’s pretty much only the president of the right wing. The rest of us are a leaderless group of desert peoples waiting to come back to our country.
9:56 The press is taking pictures of Bush on the big screen. This should create a great “picture inside a picture” deconstructionist effect, what Jacques Derrida and Susan Sontag referred to as the lie of …
9:57 Wait a minute, did Laura Bush say that her husband freed Iran? Did somebody just feed her a big bowl of crazy?
9:58 Race-baiting Laura Ingraham is somewhere race baiting.
9:59 Bush is still on the big screen. There is a delay and he is speaking slowly. Some suspect that the feed looks canned and/or pre-recorded. But why split hairs about the ways the lies are presented?
10:00 An aide signals for him to wait for applause. There it is: The applause comes. And then it stops. He continues. Very professionally done. Nice job.
10:00 A film about Ronald Reagan comes on. It is very stirring to those who like Ronald Reagan.
10:01 The film shows Dutch shaking hands with John McCain. Thus the symbolic torch is passed from sunny, avuncular former actor to acerbic, grudge-holding former POW who thinks you’re an idiot.
10:20 Fred Thompson arrives to extol the meat and potatoes Americanism of VP candidate Sarah Palin. He reminds the crowd that she has actually governed rather than attend Washington cocktail parties. This from a guy who famously chased tail around Washington for years.
10:21 Although most of that experience on Palin’s part has been governing a town of 9000 people. What he meant to say was that she threw the critical free throw that won her small school’s basketball championship. “USA! USA!”
10:22 Both she and McCain are mavericks, says Thompson. Unborn babies.
10:25 Thompson recalls the harrowing tale of McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Hanoi, where he showed much courage. Stirring to be sure. Now I ask you to imagine that he is still a prisoner today, only now he is more like a geriatric patient being force fed pills by a demented male nurse whose name is Sean Hannity. I really do wish that the old McCain would rise up right now and kick that male nurse’s ass Rambo-style. I really wish he could do that.
10:27 The crowd chants “USA. USA.” This is known as “patriotism.” At least this is the definition in coloring books.
10:39 Joe Lieberman comes in. He asks what a Democrat is doing at the Republican party convention. Rather than asking a more obvious question: What is a Republican doing calling himself a Democrat?
10:42 Lieberman recalls the spirit of bipartisanship and progress made by presidential predecessors such as Bill Clinton. This goes over about as well as a dead baby joke.
10:43 Lieberman says he wants McCain to be president because he’ll get things done and reach across party lines, which is what we need today. Actually, what we need is to stop invading countries that haven’t attacked us.
10:44 Lieberman makes an appeal to Clinton Democrats: “Look, we hired a woman! That one was for you, girls!”
11:00 Maverick. Unborn babies. Reformer. Unborn babies. Oil. Unborn babies.
11:05 The convention ends for the night on a muted note as the Republicans try to assess the damage of Hurricane Gustav. Muted conventioneers go out and seek muted encounters with muted hookers.
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