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A Liberal’s View of the Republican National Convention: McCain’s Finale

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 08:39 pm

It’s Thursday, the last day of the Republican National Convention. So far, they haven’t offered much substance. They’d better seize the day and pull this one out.

7:47pm—I turn on the TV just in time to hear Alex Castellanos, Republican commentator, confess that Republicans know that they’ve dropped the ball these past eight years and have spent money like a drunken naval pilot. Well, that’s nice to hear. My question: how is John McCain going to change/fix any of this out-of-control spending when he’s going to continue pouring $10 billion dollars a month into Iraq?

David Gergen says, “I’m more troubled by the convention tonight than I was last night. There is a certain amount of selective amnesia in every convention but the Republicans are acting as if the country is in poor shape because of some big liberal spending operation. The Republicans are acting like they haven’t had their hands on the controls for the past eight years. They act like Bush hasn’t been president for eight years.”

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Alex Castellanos comes back, except it’s not him. It’s his evil twin brother as he riffs a line about “the big liberal spending operation.” Is this the same man who, just ten minutes earlier admitted the Republicans lost control of spending under Bush?

There is already a pattern developing. This is the theme of the night. Republicans flip-flop themselves right in the open and dare American citizens to call them on it. America, make like Dubya and ready your bullhorns!

8pm—Representative Mary Fallin from Oklahoma is on stage. She talks about the Oklahoma City bombing from in 1995. She stays on this for about 35 seconds and then jumps into 9/11. WTF?

What just happened here? Wow, apparently John McCain isn’t the only one who’s going to recycle. The convention is recycling last night’s theme. That was such a big jump that Fallin must be the illegitimate daughter of Evil Knievel.

Fallin talks about terrorism and how we must keep fighting it. Yes, just like the war on drugs which has been sooooo successful. Quick question, Mary, how do you prosecute a war on an idea? Can we ever win the war on insanity? Or the war on non sequiturs? I’d love for you to try just a little harder.

A video is shown, chock full of images of 9/11.

You know, I came into this tonight looking to do what I’ve done the last three nights, which is to sit through this convention with my humor in tact. And I’ll admit right now, tonight, with this crap the Republican Party is pulling, I’m not feeling very jocular.

Image after image of towers falling, smoke filling the streets of NYC…

This is disgusting. I was set to crack jokes tonight but this display of blatant politicking and abuse of our national tragedy is flatly foul.

8:11pm—Video over. The CNN announce team look a little stunned. They ask, stupefied, if showing the video at the convention and using 9/11 as a political switchblade is appropriate.

Commentator Tara Wall adds to the vile presentation of the RNC tonight. When asked the question about whether it was appropriate for Republicans to use the 9/11 video, Wall has the shameless nerve to say yes. She continues by saying that there was too much vitriol against Bush for the past eight years. She actually says, and I quote, “people forget that there was the last two years of a Democratic controlled Congress. Once Bush leaves office, Democrats will have no one to blame and people will look at current leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Jesus Herbert Walker Christ!! Right, because Dubya inherited all of the problems the US had from Clinton, but when Bush leaves office, all problems have been solved. I guess the $500 billion annual budget deficit and the $8.7 trillion national debt had nothing to do with Bush…or better yet, Tara Wall would have us believe Bush had nothing to do with any of that because he’s been a great steward of the United States treasury.

The Republican mantra for the past eight years: all bad things that happened on Bush’s watch was the direct fault of Bill Clinton; all good things were because of the “bold leadership of ‘Great Leader’ Bush;” and all future problems are completely disassociated from Bush because he obviously governed in a vacuum. Or was that a bubble?

You know, in a very perverse way, I almost wish John McCain wins in November so these Republican assholes can’t blame the huge deficit along with all the other crap on Obama. Because you know they’re going to.

Seriously, if America votes Republicans into the White House after all of this utter B.S., they deserve to lose social security, deserve to lose MediCare, deserve to have more rich CEOs rob their pensions blind, deserve to lose more American military lives, deserve a hard recession, deserve lower wages, deserve to have a minimum wage that isn’t even a living wage, and they definitely deserve to have every last bit of women’s rights fought so hard for over the last 100 years dismantled piece by piece, and the carcass of the Constitution carried off unceremoniously in a rotted pine box.

And I hate to admit it, but there may be a good chance they’ll win. Let’s face it, the audacity of hate is stronger than the audacity of hope; the audacity of fear is bigger than the audacity of hope; the audacity of lies (especially perpetrated by the Republican Party) is more powerful than the audacity of hope.

I pray the American people wake up and clearly see this day, this convention and this party for what it is: selfish, power-hungry and maniacal; uninterested in governing, only winning so they can continue their coup d etat.

I feel physically ill. I began the night with every intention to hum through this thing and throw some jovial elbows while debunking their claims, but their relentless and repugnant milking of the human tragedy that was 9/11 makes me feel like showering.

This is the party that has no qualms using war to make profit, and apparently, no qualms exploiting a tragedy to win an election. They’re willing to win at all costs, especially playing the censorship/infallibility card. Criticize Bush’s policies and decision making and you’re branded a terrorists, unpatriot and un-American. Ask a single question of Palin, whom the McCain campaign did not vet, and you’re automatically a sexist.

Republicans are somehow infallible, untouchable. God must be a Republican considering the divine rights they believe they ought to be accorded.

And the saddest, most unbelievable part of it all is that “The Maverick” John McCain is letting them carry on like this.

I guess the evolution—no, sorry, the (re)creationism is complete: John McCain has become exactly what he detested and railed against in 2000.

I’m turning off my TV now. Seriously, this is Rovian/Republican politic at its absolute worst. Vile. Just vile.

8:46pm—Alright, I’m back. A close friend from elementary school came over to calm me down and to help me see humor in this convention again.

Cindy McCain is on stage. I’m not sure what she said before this, and frankly, I couldn’t care less. I still have a very bad taste in my mouth over the 9/11 fellatio job they just handed out. So I’m going to be very pinched in what I cover.

She speaks of our solemn obligation to leave the world better place for the following generations to come. I’d love to hear her explain how Bush has upheld this “solemn obligation” considering he’s left our children—and grandchildren—in severe and swelling debt.

What’s been done to our future generations is like going to the local pool only find yourself drowning before you’ve even touched the pool.

Cindy talks a lot about “the virtue of forgiveness and its healing power.” I guess the hidden plea is that we should just forgive George W. Bush his trespasses against the American people, against the next two generations and against the Constitution.

Amazing how Republicans want forgiveness for their own but hellfire for Democrats…and terrorists—oh wait, those two are the same in their eyes, how silly of me to forget—hellfire for “A-Raaabs”…and minorities…and homosexuals…and Muslims…and women who aren’t Sarah “the Rock Star” Palin.

Cindy talks about her world travels and the adoption of two children from Mother Theresa’s orphanage. Props to Cindy for that act of kindness.

9:04pm—Video of McCain. He’s a soldier. Check. He’s about service. Check. He crashed four planes. Oh wait, sorry, that wasn’t in the video. He loves America. Check. Country First. Check. Maverick. Check. Common sense conservative. Check. Calls Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell “agents of intolerance.” Wait, that’s not in there either. POW. Check. Lived in a box. Check. Voted against Bush tax cuts before he voted for them. Hmm…that part is missing too.

9:14pm—McCain walks to the podium. USA chant breaks out. Huh?

The convention stage has been rebuilt. Now it looks like a Cubist (no, not Cuban…cubist…put your rifles, your guns and your huddled automatics down, Republicans!) rendition of a penis and testicles. Not sure McCain wants to be linked to male genitalia. The comparisons to “ED” Bob Dole would be too easy.

There’s a sign in the crowd: Panic Loves John McCain. Wow, they let that guy in? Oh, sorry. Hispanics love John McCain.

He starts to talk but I can’t focus on his words, only on the ugly green screen behind him. Wait, that’s the lawn to, what I presume, is the Naval Academy. What is their mental deficiency? Don’t they remember how pathetic and swampish McCain looked last time he spoke in front of a puke-green screen?

McCain praises George W. Bush for great leadership in the war on terror. By taking us into Iraq, where there were no terrorists.

“Let’s get this country back on the road to prosperity. These are tough times.” Who drove this country off the road of prosperity? Who put us into these hard times? Didn’t McCain just praise Bush? You gotta love unintentional irony.

Demonstrations break out in the audience, not sure over what. McCain advises the audience, “don’t be distracted by the ground noise and static.” Then he lets out a squeal of a laugh. He sounds like the Crypt Keeper. [Insert your own “he looks like the Crypt Keeper too” joke here]

When he regains his composure—and his color—McCain praises Palin.

Hey, there’s a dude in the rafters with a shirt reading “McCain Votes Against Veterans.” Oops, they took him off TV. Damn, show that guy some more.

McCain says “change is coming.” Or something like that. I swear, between his ventilator wisp of a voice and his do-nothing speech, I’m nodding off.

Wait—there’s the dude in the rafters again. It’s the Phantom of the Veterans!

“I don’t work for a party, I don’t work for special interests, I work for you.” Republican Party Affiliation. Check. Voted with Bush 90% of the time. Check. Lobbyists are the largest donors to your campaign. Check. Lobbyists run your campaign. Check. Karl Rove is an informal advisor to your campaign. Check. One of his padawan learners is the head dude running your campaign. Check.

And you don’t work for a party? You don’t work for special interests? You know, suddenly, that Phantom of the Opera lyric makes so much sense…

“Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams!
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before!”

Seriously, I’m falling asleep. This guy and this speech is boring me to tears.

Mr. Phantom of the Veterans is holding up another sign: You Can’t Win An Occupation. Go Phantom!

Gov. Ah-nold jumps on to the stage: “Eef eet ba-leeds, we kin win eet!”

9:34pm—McCain says something about “it matters to me and it should matter to you.” What really matters is a better-written, better-delivered speech.

9:44—oops…I nodded off. Did I miss much? No? Ok.

“The party of Lincoln and the party of Reagan is going to get back to basics.” What happened to the party of Bush, the “great leader” for the past eight years?

He rattles off the standard list of lies about Obama and taxes and big government. The crowd laps it up. Yes, drink the Kool Aid, drink, my pretty…BWUUUAAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’m so bored I’m hungry now.

10pm—I went out to buy dinner, got stuck behind a freight train, came home, and damn, he’s still wheezing on! Can someone please pull his life support? Wait…is that Terri Schiavo coming to pull his plug?

Funniest sign of the night: John McCain = Mavrick. No, you didn’t read that wrong. It says M-A-V-RI-C-K. Uh, hello Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel please! Can I have an E?

I couldn’t hear exactly what McCain said, probably because I was hungrily trying to solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzle on that D-U-D’s D-U-D-E’s sign, but McCain said one of two things:

1. “I’m running for president because I feel I’ve been anointed in my country’s hour of need.”
1 a) Oh my god! Who’s the messiah now?

2. “I’m NOT running for president because I feel I’ve been anointed in my country’s hour of need.”
2 a) George W. Bush? Isn’t he the messiah? Didn’t God want him to be president?

McCain wraps (finally!) with “We never hide from history, we make history.”

I know what he intended to say but this did not come out right, especially considering all the Bush & Rove megalomaniacal talk. Remember Ron Suskind’s article in the NY Times, which revealed the inner light bulbs of Bush and Rove? Here’s an excerpt:

“That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he (Rove) continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Way to go, John-John…leave us with that final, Bushian-messianic, Viceroy, Overlord, Palpatine image.

For the second time of the night, the CNN political team looks stunned.

As McCain steps off the penis, uh, stage, David Gergen says, “The substantive part of the speech was thin. He basically used old Republican retreads.”

Anderson Cooper: “It was like ‘back to the future.'”

Jeffery Toobin: “It was the worst speech by a nominee.”

If the Democrats are smart, they will hammer this point home from now till November 4th. McCain offered no specific policies at all through the entire convention. It was like a bridge to the 20th century instead of one to the 21st century.

Maybe that’s why he picked Palin—I hear she’s big ($230,000 big) on building a bridge to nowhere!

The Republican Convention, in a nutshell:

Tuesday—Help Gustav victims; forget we messed up Katrina and abandoned New Orleans in their time of need. POW. POW. POW.

Wednesday—9/11, 9/11, 9/11. Democrats are terrorists. 9/11. John McCain is a POW. God bless America. 9/11.

Thursday—9/11, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. Man, I feel like I’m living in the old Batman intro!

Final thoughts on this, the final day of the convention:

It’s clear at this juncture, what the Republican strategy will be for the next two months. They have no new ideas therefore offer no specific policies. Instead, they’re going to try to run an emotional “personalities” campaign. This is yet another page out of the Bush/Rove playbook—no knowledge of policy, no real ideas, no problem! Be their beer buddy.

We already had a beer buddy in the White House. How’d that work out? I guess the man wasn’t drinking Budweiser, but Buddumber.

McCain’s campaign essentially raised the white flag on the issues. Instead, they want to turn this thing into a vapid beauty contest. John McCain will be the sparkling evening gown—you stay classy, John McCain—and Sarah Palin will be the swimsuit. Hey, 80% approval rating from those burly, lonely logger-men in Alaska has to come from somewhere…

Under the direction of Rove protégé Steve Schmidt, they’ve decided to cast McCain as the “Lifetime Channel After School Special” and Sarah Palin as “90210.” Both are to distract the voters from focusing on the fact that they have no real platform, no real policies and no real change to deliver.

Truly, this night belonged not to John McCain, but long-time politico, and presidential advisor, David Gergen, who, again and again, was piercingly dead on with his analysis of the McCain speech and the convention itself–thin on substance, thick with amnesia.

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