Three Days of Bad Road: Reliving the Horror of the GOP 2008 Convention, Day 2

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6:58 PM:

Yesterday was a race to see whether the GOP convention had more empty seats or empty platitudes. It was a draw. Tonight I expect platitudes to edge ahead, slightly. As Mitch McConnell gavels the session to order, there are just slightly more people in the hall than there are at a typical PTA meeting in Wasilla, Alaska.

But like moths to a flame, delegates file in as “America the Beautiful” is torn to shreds by John Shillington and Ruby Brown, apparently friends of the McCains in Arizona. If they ever perform this at McCain dinner parties, rest assured Cindy has the sense to put away the good crystal in advance. With vibrato more wobbly than the candidate’s positions on tax cuts and offshore drilling, they make their way through a version that rivals “Hey Jude” in length. At some point, they seem to run out of the song’s actual written verses and start making up new ones on the spot. A couple of excruciating modulations later, they’ve provoked at least one woman in the crowd to close her eyes tight and throw her arms skyward. She’s either figuring the Rapture is imminent, or she’s beseeching a merciful God for the PA to blow a fuse.


8:00 PM:

Phony diversity segment begins with Michael L. Williams (an African American), Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Williams seems to have borrowed one of Tucker Carlson’s bow ties for the occasion, along with Carlson’s habit of spewing meaningless bilge into the nearest microphone.

Next up is Luis Fortuño, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress. He talks for a while and then stops talking.


8:22 PM

Diversity be damned, the Republicans have actually found another white person who wants to talk! It’s Meg Whitman, former president of eBay and McCain national campaign co-chair. Proving that it’s a small world after all, she says nothing more substantive than the African American and Hispanic speakers before her. Is this a great country or what! She does mention that the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan is now the party of John McCain. In my mind’s eye, I picture that famous illustration of the evolution of humans from simple sea creatures to Homo Sapiens, only in reverse.


8:28 PM:

Amazingly, Whitman warns America: “Government shouldn’t spend more than it takes in!” Even more amazingly, the Republican crowd cheers as if they’d never countenance anything else. In the time it takes for the cheering to die down, we’ve spent another few hundred thousand dollars occupying Iraq. This is nothing to Whitman, of course. After all, she was in charge of a company where customers would probably bid $4000 for my dirty socks if I painted a fuzzy image of Christ on them. (And no, they’re not for sale.)


8:33 PM:

CNN’s annoying little FACT box on the bottom left of the screen tells me that Palin was elected governor of Alaska as a “maverick reformer”. Where would we be without FACTS?


8:40 PM:

Meg Whitman be damned. It’s time for a real businesswoman. Yep, it’s Carly Fiorina here to brag about how she nearly destroyed Hewlett Packard.

But soft! She doesn’t mention HP, spying on employees, golden parachutes or anything of the like! Nevertheless, she has an awful lot to say.

First off, John McCain – wait for it – was a POW…


8:45 PM:

Carly says McCain believes: “Americans should be freed and empowered to make their own choices.” As long, presumably, as those choices don’t include reproductive freedom, gay marriage and smoking marijuana.

But Fiorina isn’t shooting for such picayune policy details. She’s turning her fabled business savvy to mass hypnosis. “I know John McCain,” she notes again and again. Carly, AJ Foyt once gave me a personal tour of the pits in Indianapolis, and there was the time I sat one table over from John Updike in a cafeteria at my alma mater, but I don’t like to brag about such things myself.


8:48 PM:

Fiorina confidently proclaims McCain will balance the budget by 2013. Wow, a mere 13 years of Republican misrule after a Democrat did the very same thing! Impressive.


8:50 PM:

Apparently, knowing John McCain means you can keep talking and talking at this shindig. Still not tiring, Carly says McCain: “will never shrink from calling evil and oppression by their names.” Unlike that hapless Obama guy who insists on calling these abstract concepts “Beauregard” and “Wanda”, right?

She segues immediately into lauding McCain for valuing the contributions of women to our country. She doesn’t say whether this holds true if they “plaster on the makeup like a trollop,” however.


8:56 PM:

Diversity redux. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, an African American, asks the delegates: “Ready to party in this house tonight?” To paraphrase Todd Rundgren, I guess some folks is even whiter than me.

Steele nears the crescendo of his speech with these immortal words: “Government should never be powerful enough to infringe on the rights of individuals.” Umm…


9:01 PM:

Flip to CNN. Wolf Blitzer is saying to Anderson Cooper: “Sometimes we hype things.” Anderson nods. I leave the room to get my second large drink of the evening.


9:02 PM:

CNN mercifully cuts away from those two and we get to join Kyra Phillips, who’s chillin’ with none other than Kurt and Heather Bruce at the Peanut Farm Restaurant in Anchorage. Heather is Sarah Palin’s sister.

“Welcome, guys!” chirps the unsinkable Phillips. Asked the family reaction to the Palin nomination, Heather responds, not quite circumspectly enough: “Omigosh, omigosh. I can’t believe this is happening. This is great, but this is crazy.” Yes, well.

Kyra: “Was Sarah interested in politics in high school?”

Heather: “No!”


9:06 PM:

Enough of CNN’s investigative reporting! Romney is up to remind America why he’s the most oily, most unctuous, most unbearable figure in American politics. He does not disappoint.

He begins by admonishing the “Eastern elites” of America that it’s time to look to the west, because the sun is about to rise in Arizona and Alaska. Not having read the Book of Mormon, I have no idea if this is prophecy, a simple end-times weather report or just Romney being, well, Romney.

He goes on. And on. And on. Time for a change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. Must stop the spread of government dependency. Need a party of Big Ideas, not a party of Big Brother.


9:14 PM:

Mitt avers it’s time to: “Keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground!” Nice to see Romney won’t let Al off the hook for the election that was stolen from Gore 8 years ago. Nope, time to go after his plane too. Take that, Al Gore. The first chants of “USA! USA!” of the night begin a groundswell among the well fed, ludicrously attired attendees. Long as the enemy’s name begins with the letters A and L, good enough, it seems.


9:16 PM:

Mitt, unaware that he lost this year’s nomination – or acutely conscious that the GOP 2012 nom is wide open – follows up with: “Just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American!” I can’t wait to watch Obama bite this supercilious little greaseball’s ass in 4 years…



CNN’s David Gergen dryly describes Romney’s spew as: “A great speech, for the 1970s.” Maybe, but it would have pissed me off back then too.


9:25 PM:

Huckabee up, to thank the “elite media” for uniting the GOP. References to Madonna’s costume changes, Barack Obama’s Excellent Adventure in Europe. Claims Obama brought back “European” ideas. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité; that kind of dangerous European thinking, I guess he means, but who the hell knows?

At some point he indirectly tells Americans they can inflate their tires to whatever level they want.

Palin got more votes for mayor than Biden got for pres… McCain was a POW… kids have school desks because of our Armed Forces, who conquered the Nasties and brought a bunch of desks back Stateside…

The booze is kicking in, but I’m gonna need a couple Valium on top of that to hope to catch up with the GOP.


9:53 PM:

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle tells America that: “Mayors are CEOs, governors are CEOs.” I think back to the two CEOs I ever met, and what utter, irredeemable dicks they seemed to be.


9:59 PM:

CNN cuts back to Anchorage and Sarah Palin’s sister, who privately informs me and millions of other people that her family’s opinions are private. Right, then. Thanks, Heather. I didn’t ask for your opinion to begin with, but whatever.


10:01 PM:

Rudy! No, this is the most oily, most unctuous, most unbearable politician in America!

Why, oh, why, didn’t I start drinking at mid-afternoon? I might have been able to handle this.

As Cindy McCain watches from her seat in a thicket of Palins, Giuliani rambles on. And on. And, still, on.

Left wing media and Hollywood celebrities don’t get to choose the President.

McCain was a: “Top Gun kind of guy.” Wonder how many Top Guns lost 5 planes? No matter, Rudy’s forging ahead.

Community organizers are funny! Somehow this results in yet another chant of “USA! USA!”


10:15 PM:

Convention crowd rises in a cheer of “Drill, baby, drill!” as Rudy flashes his dentures at them. Cutaway shot of Bristol Palin looking as enthusiastic as the Xcel Center custodial staff must feel about cleaning up after all these slobs.


10:17 PM:

Sixteen minutes in, Rudy finally mentions 9/11. Stunning forbearance! It’s a new record, folks.


10:20 PM:

“If I were Joe Biden, I’d wanna get that VP thing in writing.” Well, if I were Rudy Giuliani, I’d wanna get it verbally, through whispered rumors, smoke signals or however else I could. But that’s just me… Rudy’s apparently cool with everything.


10:27 PM:

Gratuitous pseudo-feminist appeal from Rudy. The man is a born PUMA. This narrative bolstered throughout the evening by closeups of delegates’ buttons proclaiming “Hoosiers for the Hot Chick!” or “Hottest Governor/Coolest State!”


10:29 PM:

What’s-Her-Name is up, at last. My will to live is failing at this point.

Thinks the name of the country we illegally invaded and are still occupying is “Aieeereeaack”.

Loves her husband.

Was hockey mom, whatever the hell that is. Was involved with the PTA.

Takes on “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “effete intellectual snobs”. Oh wait, sorry, that was a wholly unqualified GOP VP candidate 40 years ago. But wait, that’s more or less what she said.

Said “thanks but no thanks” to Congress about that Bridge to Nowhere. Obviously hasn’t dipped into the blogosphere, which showed days ago that this version of the story is mooseshit.

Obama authored two memoirs but not a single major law; never uses word “victory” unless he’s talking about his own campaign. Styrofoam Greek columns. Obama wants to “turn back the waters and heal the planet.” Blah, blah, blah. Perky, though. Very perky.


10:43 PM:

“Being a small town mayor is a lot like being a community organizer, except a mayor has actual responsibility.” Which, of course, Palin exercised by putting Wasilla $22 million in debt…


11:03 PM:

“The American Presidency isn’t supposed to be a journey of personal discovery!” she says. Somewhere, George Walker Bush smiles and thinks, “Heh, heh, I knew it!”


11:04 PM:

Palin reminds the crowd and the TV audience that McCain was a POW.

Then she leaves the stage and Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ sit down and weep. It’s nice to have the company.

Day 1 coverage here.

Tomorrow: The GOP kicks it old skool with Marsha Blackburn, Bill Frist, Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, Tom Ridge… and 5-Plane McCain himself.