Thursday, September 02, 2004

What the Zell!
First, my apologies for not providing some posts on the first few nights of the Republican National Convention. I managed to have quite a few remarks when the Democrats met, but my own campaigning and other duties have kept me from devoting time to commentary on the RNC.

I missed the speeches on the first night of the RNC. But I can comment, I think, on strategy. Speeches by Mayor Giuliani and Sen. McCain were a wise stroke. I'm sure the idea was to provide a comfortable home for members of the Republican party who fall across a spectrum of the official party platform. The Governator's speech was very rousing. He knows how to play a crowd and you had this sense that, barring changes in the Constitution, that may well have been Schwarzenegger's acceptance speech for a presidential nomination. I think one could critique the content of the Governator's speech as being a bit weak on content, marked by slogans, cliches, and corny adaptations of his well-known movie lines. However, his story as a foreigner coming to America was very compelling and his testimony that he became a Republican because Democratic rhetoric of the time (i.e., Humphrey campaign) sounded much like the socialism he had left behind in Austria was striking. Of course, the force of that remark was rather awkward, to say the least, given that he seemed to hold Nixon up as the reason he became Republican. Ooops. I'm trying to imagine what, "I am not a crook," sounds like with an Austrian accent! Anyway, given the media drumbeat of how America is hated around the world, Arnold's was a reminder that the American dream lives and it is still attractive to people from afar, indeed it beckons them. I thought the Governator's personal story was an interesting response to the notion that somehow the supposedly unilateral actions of the US in Iraq have gained us many more enemies. The appearance of the Bush twins was a major error. They came off as shallow bimbos of privilege. And I LOVED how confused they seemed when people laughed or applauded for extended periods of time, interrupting the speech. At one point, after a supposedly funny remark, followed by continuous laughter from the crowd, one of them turned to the other and could just be heard over the microphone asking, "What are they laughing at?" She then -- and I love this! -- turned behind her to look at the massive television screen as if conspirators had posted up funny or embarrassing images! Girls, this is a national convention for president, not a place where programming normally seen on MTV's spring break coverage will be found. I wanted to say, uh, hello honey, they're laughing at your remarks, albeit much too generously, but so be it. Get a clue. The First Lady is attractive and classy and it is refreshing to be able to listen to a First Lady without wondering (fearing?) that she is setting the stage for her own future campaign. However, following the Governator's speech, Laura's speech seemed to dissipate the energy generated by Arnold. Oh, well, I guess I didn't expect her to give a rowdy speech.

But last night. Oh, man! Sen. Zell Miller went "all out"! I couldn't believe it. I don't remember hearing him speak before. He was quite a force to be reckoned with. It was remarkable just because he's a Democrat, giving the keynote on night three of the RNC. But in addition, he gave a stunning critique of Kerry and his lack of trustworthiness and preparedness for the job of Commander-in-Chief. I think he went overboard and I wonder if that will backfire on the Bush campaign, but still I couldn't believe I was hearing such a straight shooting speech from a politician. It was, actually, a bit refreshing, even if rather harsh. I had to peel myself off the wall following the hurricane force delivery of Zell's speech. Then Fr. Tharp and I ended up on the phone, so I didn't watch the Vice President's speech. Considering only how it began, I think it too, much like Laura's speech the night before, dissipated much of the energy generated by Zell's speech. But again, I didn't expect the Cheney to get very fired up.

Hey, and for my money, I love protestors being wrestled to the ground in a Secret Service "pig pile".

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