Three Days of Bad Road: Reliving the Horror of the GOP 2008 Convention, Day 3

7:02 PM:

Trace Adkins sings our national anthem, and not very well, but I try to savor it since the evening will only go downhill from here.

 

7:08 PM:

Yep. CNN once again tells us via one of their bottom-of-the-screen FACTs that Palin was elected Governor of Alaska as a “maverick reformer”. Mm, FACTy. I wonder if Adkins could be persuaded to come back out and sing “Fixin’ To Die Rag”…

 

7:33 PM:

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman puts Sarah Palin’s name in nomination as the VP candidate. He either has a very sore throat or his voice is changing. If the latter, then in the spirit of bipartisanship I wish him a successful puberty.

“We are looking for a rebel, a renegade. We are looking for Sarah!” he croaks. After already sitting through two nights of this jive, I’m looking for a rusty nail to scrape across my wrists.

After the now-obligatory reference to Palin being a “hockey mom” – what on earth has happened to America? – he tells the convention and the nation that Palin is: “Not afraid to kick a few fannies and raise a little hell.” This probably ties in to those ethics investigations underway in Alaska, but Huntsman doesn’t pursue the subject further.

 

7:39 PM:

Mitch McConnell, looking as chipper as I’ve seen him since his heyday as a Muppet, tosses it over to the Alaska delegation to move that Palin be acclaimed the VP nominee. Evidently still jet-lagged, the Alaska delegation complies with his request.

 

7:42 PM:

Heart’s “Barracuda” blares from the Xcel Center PA. I’m hoping the Wilson sisters will follow Jackson Browne’s lead and stop the GOP from using this song, but I’ve always been an idealist…

 

7:48 PM:

Time for an uplifting feminist message from a revolting little toadstool, Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who claims that Palin speechified yesterday with: “A voice that spoke with the accent of real America.” Is that what that accent was? I thought it was the sound of a cat with its tail caught in a screen door, but I’m a Southerner, so my opinion on such things is perhaps suspect.

Blackburn promises that Palin will be a “revolutionary second in command”. Surely McCain’s Naval Academy training will enable him to identify mutiny when he sees it. He was, however, near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, so maybe not…

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha’s not done yet though. “Last night, my NASCAR dad fell in love with a hockey mom.” My sympathies to Blackburn’s mother. I hope this all works out for her.

 

7:52 PM:

The Congresswoman notes that John McCain was a POW. Why on earth have the Republicans been sitting on this information until now?

 

8:02 PM:

Flip over to CNN. Wolf Blitzer informs viewers that the Best Political Team On Television is: “watching, paying attention and listening.” Obviously, this is going to be an historic evening.

 

8:06 PM:

Tim Pawlenty takes to the podium. CNN opts to interview a weirdly costumed delegate instead. Back to PBS.

Anyone wondering why Pawlenty didn’t get the VP nod is left in no doubt almost immediately. Hearing him speak is as exciting as hearing your dog start to heave at 5:00 AM.

“Barack Obama gives a good speech,” says Tim, “But the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.” Sermons? Preached? Not only do Republicans refuse to separate church and state, they refuse to separate talking from stupid.

 

8:08 PM:

Over the past two days, the convention has raised the oratorical device of repetition to a level I can’t recall since I used to watch Romper Room.

“John McCain put our country first.” Well, keep throwing that at the fridge until it sticks, Tim.

 

8:10 PM:

Pawlenty winds up with a weird riff on “Sam’s Club voters,” a demographic I’ve never heard of. I only hope they can co-exist in the Republican Big Tent alongside those NASCAR dads and hockey moms.

 

8:13 PM:

Reappearing like the fatted calf from his exile to the private sector, former Senator Bill Frist, once the Great White Hope for his party’s nomination, says some worthwhile things about alleviating AIDS and other scourges overseas. As long as he doesn’t intend to diagnose via videotape, so far so good.

 

8:17 PM:

Frist calls Cindy McCain “America’s most passionate advocate for peace”. I choke up briefly, remembering Mrs. McCain’s desperate attempts to prevent Shock and Awe. God bless her for trying.

Frist goes on to describe international poverty and AIDS relief as “a foundation for peace.” No wonder the GOP threw this pinko overboard!

 

8:24 PM:

Back on CNN, an intriguing argument erupts between Roland Martin and Bill Bennett about McCain’s many flip-flops. Sniffing controversy, Blitzer puts the kibosh on the segment and cuts to a commercial.

 

8:26 PM:

Sam Brownback, who once ran for something somewhere, is working up some Romper Room repetition of his own, inciting the delegates with a refrain of: “Yes, we will!”

 

8:28 PM:

Brownback, a poster boy for American unexceptionalism, tells us: “I believe in American exceptionalism.”

He then reminds us that McCain can’t raise his arms. Something to do with being a POW, I suppose. I don’t know why the GOP expects me to make these connections for myself. Why don’t they just lay out the facts once and for all?

 

circa 8:40 PM:

As I’m in the kitchen getting dog biscuits for the two loyal friends kind enough to stick with me watching this crud, the convention airs a brief video about September 11, 2001. I return to the TV to hear John King commenting that there was no mention of Bush in the video. These Republicans sure know how to circle the wagons.

 

9:00 PM:

Senator Lindsey Graham, the walking definition of gormlessness, takes the stage. Although I learned long ago never to be embarrassed for Republicans, since they don’t have the sense to be embarrassed for themselves, Graham really pushes my resolve.

He praises Joe Lieberman for “breaking with his party.” He doesn’t specify which party he means.

 

9:11 PM:

Video tribute to Sarah Palin. Sample line: “When Alaska’s maverick joined America’s maverick…” Presumably, when McCain hits the stage, he’ll call for Alaska statehood!

 

9:15 PM:

Tom Ridge up for 17 minutes of puffery about McCain, marred by a few gratuitous swipes at Obama that he abruptly spits out as if a bug had landed in his mouth.

 

9:28 PM:

A video tribute to Cindy McCain, narrated by Gary Sinise. Intentionally or not, it reinforces the stubborn notion I have that Cindy is a Pat Nixon for our time, the difference being that Cindy can afford better than a cloth coat.

 

9:35 PM:

Cindy Lou herself takes the podium. And why not? She probably paid for it.

She refers to Palin as a fellow hockey mom. What the hell is going on in Arizona?

 

9:47 PM:

“I think John was a hero in Vietnam.” Well, me too, Mrs. McCain, but I wouldn’t marry him or vote for him for President.

 

9:55 PM:

Some remark of Cindy’s provokes yet another chant of “USA! USA!” I could believe, over the last few nights, that Republicans think they just discovered the damn place.

 

9:56 PM:

Cindy wraps up. The speech was stilted and smarmy, marking it as one of the better speeches of the week.

 

9:59 PM:

The ever-noxious Alex Castellanos discusses McCain with crack anchor Anderson Cooper. “He does best in a town hall format,” Cooper sagely observes. “He’s the town hall guy,” notes Castellanos.

 

10:04 PM:

Video tribute to John McCain. Seems McCain was a POW and is a maverick.

The narrator proclaims: “What a life, what a faith, what a family.” What a crock.

 

10:13 PM:

Maverick time, at last! Thank God, because after three days of this tripe, I’m about ready to put my foot through the screen.

McCain plants himself in front of the same sort of green backdrop that made him look so pitiful back during the primaries. Ah, GOP stagecraft.

 

10:16 PM:

Some patriot in the upper deck of the arena holds up a sign that reads: “You can’t win an occupation.” He flips it over and the cameras catch: “McCain votes against vets.” This is the first inkling of truth I’ve seen at a Republican convention since, well, ever.

 

10:20 PM:

McCain addresses Barack Obama: “You have my respect and my admiration. We’re fellow Americans. That’s an association that means more to me than any other.” Somewhere on the campaign trail, a relieved Senator Obama will finally get a decent night’s sleep.

 

10:23 PM:

McCain vows to “get this country back on the road to peace and prosperity” without mentioning which political party put it into the ditch.

 

10:24 PM:

A second protester is carried out of the Xcel Center. McCain calms the multitude. “My friends, please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static.” Senator, I find myself wondering, just what is the frequency?

 

10:28 PM:

“Change is coming.”

“I’ve been called a maverick.”

 

10:52 PM:

The candidate who doesn’t know how to use a computer tells America that: “We have to catch up to history.”

 

10:56 PM:

McCain tells us he was a POW!

 

11:02 PM:

Chants of “USA! USA!” Someone in the cheap seats holds up a sign that reads “The Mavrick”. It’s hard to keep up with McCain’s complexity. Apparently, he’s a maverick, a former POW and a mavrick.

 

11:04 PM:

“We never hide from history! We make history!” With that and a few God Blesses, John McCain is done talking. He is now the Republican nominee for President, though I was almost certain for months it would be the dazzling, charismatic Duncan Hunter.

 

11:08 PM:

As the cheering continues on the convention floor, the balloon drop is executed with almost military precision. If Barack Obama is serious about being bipartisan, he might consider making McCain Secretary of Balloons.

 

Day 1 coverage here.

Day 2 coverage here.