As though 9/11 caused some permanent, polite amnesia among us all, last night's opening of the Republican National Convention did everything it could to attempt to pretend the words "compassionate" are not a direct contradiction to the current political definition of "conservative" in this country. Remember the last time and how that was a trojan horse Bush rode into what votes he did garner from those on the fence? That's exactly what they're trying now, as though there are people in this country who only saw Bush the last time during the 2000 campaign and somehow missed everything he has done since.
Moderate after moderate popped up and the convention wallowed in perverse nostalgia for 9/11. A delegate interviewed on Fox News spoke of how happy they were walking the streets of New York and feeling that feeling they had on 9/11. (The delegate was from Iowa) What feeling? Panic? Anxiety? The sickness in the pit of your stomach watching people go thud at seven miles a second into the sidewalk? Was 9/11 some kind of Woodstock for Republicans? Who would want to feel that again?
Because judging from the protests clogging the streets(and while showing exactly that on the street, Bill O'Reilly nevertheless attempted to say that the protests were not as large as made out to be and that most of the protestors are local, and "socialists opposed to the government of the United States."), even an illusion of national unity is not the feeling being evoked.
Guiliani surprisingly popped up as anti-Kerry attack dog, attacking Kerry far more intensely and personally than any of the speakers at the DNC a month ago, and doing so in a taunting, charming, joking way. Rudy definitely has a future in stand-up. But he's perfectly willing to betraay the suffering of his people that he stuck with all through that horrible day--while Bush hid in Nebraska after making sure to finish reading "My Pet Goat" to the kiddies(hey, at least this must mean he's very pro-literacy)--to help ol' George out.
And McCain, who is privately furious about the Swift Boat Veterans ad and with good reason, referring to them as "completely nauseating" elsewhere, nevertheless did his duty for his party last night and spoke glowingly of Bush's "service" to America, and how we need his leadership in the War Against Terror. The same war, incidentally, Bush said yesterday could not be won. Such leadership. (And just look what happened, by contrast, to Carter just for saying the word "malaise.") It must be terrible to be valued because you're a principled and good man, and then have to prove it by publicly kissing the ass of a man you despise, and who has the nerve to question the service of those, like Kerry and McCain, who served in Vietnam while he (Bush) couldn't even be bothered to serve his stint in the National Guard. McCain is trying to make certain moderates still have a seat at the Republican table, but it must be rather grueling and require a lot of lube to manage through this.
(Is it not odd, incidentally, that Passion of the Christ--not to mention the South Park parody Passion of the Jew-- should happen to have its DVD release this very week?...)
And then we end our evening with a performance by...Alanis Morrissette. Yes, I didn't know this little Canadian was a Republican either, or perhaps she just goes where the money's thrown. I doubt though you'll get many swing voters with goat girl's voice, except perhaps the five fans she might have left. And did the Christian Right within the GOP forget that she became famous for a song that, among other things, spoke of how she went down on her ex in a theatre or played a female Yahweh in Dogma? Ohh, never mind...
About what was expected. Osama Bin Laden, by the way, was not brought up at all, while Saddam Hussein was brought up many times, with even Guiliani repeating the assertion that Hussein was backing terrorism(and by implication, was behind 9/11).
Have a look here at Michael Moore(who was pointed to and singled out by McCain as a "disingenuous filmmaker," McCain having the crowd chant "four more years" at him--to which his response was "two more months")'s take on the evening, and his description of a new breed known as RINOs--Republicans In Name Only.
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson