September 3rd, 2008


Bush/Thompson/Lieberman at the Republican National Convention

Bush, Thompson and Lieberman - it sounds like a law firm, doesn't it? Anyway, having watched all three speeches tonight without compulsively scratching the skin off my bones, I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably a lifelong Democrat, or at least an Independent, should New York allow Independents to vote in primaries someday. A lot of Republican rhetoric just rubs me the wrong way. A lot of it sounds militaristic to me.

In tonight's triumvirate of speechifying, Daddy Warbucks President Bush went first, appearing via satellite in what looked to me like a pre-recorded speech (not that it matters, but I thought it would be live, and for all I know it was). That speech went pretty much how you think it would: 9/11, McCain war hero, 9/11, McCain POW, the surge is working, 9/11, abortion is bad, McCain will be a strong daddy I mean president. It seemed to go over well with the delegates, who I think were all drunk. His speech lasted ten minutes, and then he had to go back to the serious business of hiding in a house you and I pay the mortgage on.

Next up was D.A. Arthur Branch Fred Thompson, and color me surprised because his speech was actually the best one of the night. Not that it was firecrackers, but he held my attention, which he's never done before. He spent several minutes detailing the horrors John McCain went through as a POW in North Vietnam, and it was extremely effective. And moving. It served as a reminder that McCain isn't a hero because he got shot down and captured, but because of what he endured afterward for five and a half years. Then Thompson lost me by launching into some rhetoric about how McCain and Palin are so great because they're "rebels" and "reformers" and aren't afraid to "take on the establishment" -- which is funny because there's no one in the universe anymore who doesn't view the Republicans as the party of the establishment. But he was the best speaker of the night, in my opinion, and that's saying something about how low energy the night felt.

Speaking of low energy, the third and final speaker was Droopy Dog Joe Lieberman. The delegates seemed restless at first, not sure how to feel about this man who was the vice presidential nominee of the other party eight years ago, where he was one half of a ticket most of these very same delegates called "Sore Loserman." Lieberman's speech did what it was supposed to do, which is give Democrats and Independents who think they might like McCain better than Obama permission to vote for him in November. If Thompson's speech was the most rousing, Lieberman's was the most strategic. Too bad he has no charisma.

Tomorrow night, Gov. Sarah Palin accepts her nomination for vice president! I can't wait to hear the words "hockey mom," "Hillary Clinton" and "glass ceiling" again!

(Okay, so obviously I'm being a little partisan here, but really, I tend not to like the Republicans. Remember, they're the party who wanted to tell committed, adult couples what they could and could not in their own bedrooms.)

Mitt Romney at the RNC

First off, the delegates clapped so hard and loud for Romney I bet he was thinking, "Oh, now they like me?"

His speech was short, to the point, punchy and even had a good zinger or two. Lots of the usual conservative talking points (The New York Times is evil, liberals are weak and PC and will raise taxes to feed the bloated government they so love, etc.), and the crowd ate it up. Weird that he called Washington and the Supreme Court liberal when the conservatives have run the executive and judicial branches of government for the better part of a decade now. It was also funny hearing him talking about "Eastern elites" when he used to be a liberal governor of Massachusetts.

No disrespect to Gov. Palin, but it became clear between 9:00 and 9:20 PM ET tonight that Mitt Romney should have been chosen as McCain's VP. Now that would have been a tough ticket!

I have a feeling we'll be seeing Romney running again in 2012, should McCain lose, and this time doing a whole lot better.

Next up, Huckabee, Giuliani and Palin.

Mike Huckabee at the RNC

Spectacular speech by Mike Huckabee! I don't like his socially conservative policies, but I've always thought Huckabee seemed like a decent human being. He's charismatic, soft spoken, and above all has a good sense of humor. I wouldn't vote for him, but I'd gladly have lunch with him.

I'm getting a little confused by all this talk about how the Republicans want smaller government, though. Wasn't it the current Republican administration that basically turned the government into Big Brother, what with all the warrantless wiretapping, data scooping, email peeking, suspension of habeus corpus, unlimited detention without access to lawyers or charges, etc.? Isn't this the same government that wants to dictate which consenting adult couple can get married and which can't? That seems like dangerously big government to me.

Watch for Huckabee to run again in 2012 just like Romney, should McCain not win. I don't think the same can be said for Giuliani, who is the next big speaker on the docket.

Giuliani and Palin at the RNC

Rudy Giuliani's speech did not start off well. It was awkward and at times seemed bitter, like he still couldn't understand why he wasn't the nominee. He seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. He made a major fumble in dissing Hillary Clinton, considering how hard the Republicans have been courting her supporters. But by the end he seemed to hit his stride and find his comfort zone. Still, not a great speech overall. But when he said, "How dare they ask if Sarah Palin has enough time to raise her kids and govern at the same time? When have they ever asked a man that?" it was electrifying. I can guarantee you have never heard those words at a Republican National Convention before!

But tonight was really Sarah Palin's night. This was her chance to not only let people get to know her, but to win over the naysayers. And she knocked it out of the fucking ballpark. (Though once again she brought up the "I said thanks but no thanks to the bridge to nowhere" line, which we now know ain't exactly true, and a lot of the same "Obama's going to raise your taxes" fearmongering. Also I never want to hear the words "hockey mom" again. Sorry, hockey moms.) She was strong, personable, compassionate, tough and humorous. Claiming that parents of special needs kids, as she is, would have an advocate in the White House was an amazing moment. She was also, at times, an effective attack dog, as vice presidents are often asked to be. She got off quite a few zingers. This vice presidential candidate is now, as they say, in play.

Though I got a little creeped out by a closeup of some angry-looking Aryan youth in the crowd chanting "USA! USA!" Yeesh!

And not to be mean or anything, but Bristol Palin's boyfriend had this "What have I gotten myself into?" look on his face the whole night. I actually feel kind of bad for him, even if by all accounts he's a douchebag. This was so not what he bargained for when he finally went all the way with his girlfriend.