Friday, September 05, 2008


Sauce for the goose. Here’s the Republican week in comparison

(Mind you, I had to spread out my sources here a little more. The Stranger continued to do good posting, but, come on, they're to the left of most of the Democratic party to start with, so there's the whole "stranger in a strange land" vibe going for it. Scarlett also put in some bits as they were happening real time. I ended up watching a lot of YouTube)

Veep Pick – Tina Fey! Yeah, I'm the last person in the America to make this joke. Apparently the new veep won her position in an essay contest.

From the initial descriptions over the weekend, Ms. Palin sounded like the next gen Phyllis Schlafly. The general media take is that she’s a token, a trophy veep, a gimmick, and that McCain really wanted Lieberman. Because, you know, running with the opposing VP from the last election is not a gimmick.

The Democratic convention was compared to the recent Olympics because more people watched Obama’s speech than the opening ceremonies. The GOP Convention gets compared to the recent Olympics by the fact that the local government rounded up all the dissidents.

Those of you who has “Monday” in the pool of “how soon before the cops start macing and arresting journalists”, pleased come to the window to pick up your winnings.

Gustav, a storm with a sufficiently foreign-sounding name, bore down on New Orleans. Now, while you and I might think this is a bad thing for the GOP, evoking memories of Katrina, instead the Reps chose to use it as the mother of all backdrops to show that they are active and dynamic and presidential – unlike those Dems who just had a boring, everyday convention.

Because when life gives you hurricanes, you make hurricane drinks

By Monday, Gustav landed but was only (ONLY) Cat 2, which is like being hit with a slightly SMALLER baseball bat. This was not dodging a bullet – the damage to the south is devastating, and while the good news is that evacuations were better this time and the levees have for the most part held, the damage was severe and widespread.

But it did give the extremely unpopular president an excuse to miss Monday at the convention that should be a celebration of his achievements, and to phone in his bit on Tuesday, like he was congratulating returning astronauts. Man, they really threw the president under the bus on this one. May historians treat him better than his own party did this week.

Prepared for Gustav, the GOP got slammed instead with a northern storm of bad news about its own VP Selection, which ranged from the minor to the serious to the completely bizarro. Suddenly the gulf coast was old news.

Apparently the theme of the convention is Country First* (*Offer invalid in Alaska)

A lot of politicians are MIA at this convention. Unlike the DNC, where you couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting Jim McDermott posing with a blogger, Name Republicans with jobs are staying away in droves. Bush is in Washington, Cheney is in Georgia. Riechert had to wash his hair. Dino Rossi failed to show (and is trying run as an Obama Democrat, now). From the WA delegation, AG McKenna was there and Slade Gorton was floating around, but in general, this has all the drawing power of the Springfield BiMonSciFiCon.

Also staying away: The television audience, right up to the Palin speech.

OK, I’m ALSO officially sick of the “If the Democratic Candidate had (Insert latest GOP gaffe, policy, talking point, or personal failing), then the election would be OVER. You're right, it would be. We hold Dems to a higher standard. Which is why we should put them in office.

Apparently, the Republican nominee was some sort of prisoner during a recent war. I’m surprised we haven’t heard about this before.

Good News - The Seattle Times' David Postman has a good bit on his Alaskan politics - his home state. Bad News - David Postman is leave the Times.

And the high point was presenting the already-overexposed VP choice to the world. I think Palin’s segment was very good. Of course, the expectations for the GOP is lower than the Dems. Republicans don’t do speeches well – they do sound bytes. ("Axis of Evil", “Tear down this wall”, “I am not a crook”). So if you can read a teleprompter and hit your marks, you’re Fred Thompson!

But this was a ladling out of the old school Republican tropes - red meat for the crowd. The great tradition of "Lie, Deny, and Defy" was in full force here. And the delegates, forced to wade through painful boilerplate for so long, came alive in what could be honestly called enthusiasm.

But it wasn't a speech. It was a routine, a stringing together of attacks, asides, and slurs. Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog must be crying in his little paws.

And since the GOP has gotten no traction on the “mean, mean, Dems” meme, they have fallen back on the “mean, mean media” meme. Oh, and media? Those catcalls and hearty boos when she gave you that shout-out? That's the sound of a mob, and your BFF the GOP is leading the assault.

And apparently the culture wars are back. Good thing I didn't throw out those flared pants and thin ties I wore in the 80s.

But the Palin did something long-thought impossible - it raised expectations on the McCain acceptance speech. The stage was set for Sen. McCain to close the deal, to include America, and, having subdued the monster that is his party's radical wing, blossom as a leader.

Instead we got Les Nesman. Wow, this was a frankenspeech. Not horrible, but stitched together of bits and pieces. When speaking of his personal experiences, McCain was solid and on-target. The rest? Not so much.

Apparently, the Republicans now love change. Sweet, sweet change. Changee change change. One set of brown shoes for another set of brown shoes.

And he got interrupted by protesters. What the freaking hay? Obama has a celebration in a freaking stadium with 75,000 of his new best friends without an outburst, and you get interrupted a couple of times? Who was put in charge of your security, your vetting team? Update: The protesting vet was a Ron Paul supporter.

Oh, and the war porn before the speech? Showing the planes hit WTC for your adoring audience? Class act. I forget, whatever happened to the guy who did that?

Modern conventions serve two purposes. To rally the base and to show the competence of the party for the general election by throwing a decent party. I think they've finally unified the base. Unfortunately, it's the Democratic base. Everything else had a badly hashed, thrown-together look that took some serious turns into "not-ready-for-prime-time" land.

So, after a week, a hurricane, a scandal-prone Veep pick, large protests and arrests, Amnesia about having a Republican President for the last eight years. I get the general feeling that, Palin aside, Reps are done, spent, worn out. On the other hand, they’ve gotten people to stop talking about how good Obama was at the Dem convention.

Mission Accomplished!

More later,