Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Wherein I discuss the Republican Convention, somehow mentioning fascist Italy twice

Today we were exposed to that most odious of all sights in American politics: Dick Cheney looking pleased with himself after uttering an attack line. It was like watching a Mussolini speech, where he’d fold his arms and tilt his head back while the crowd cheered. The delegates loved Cheney, just loved him, and I think it was their reaction that will make this speech so harmful to the R’s. First, the constant applause made it long and tedious. Second, it gave the uncommitted voters at home time to think about the speech, and the relationship of thought to a Cheney speech is that of salt to a slug. Third, if any viewer at home was inclined to react favorably to a line, the cult-like over-reaction of the delegates will turn them right off again, like they’re all laughing at a joke you don’t get, and don’t want to get. And then they did that “flip flop” wave thing, which they should have practiced first.

Earlier, there was another repugnant sight: Republicans trying to be humorous. There was a little film about Barney the dog, which featured him debating Kerry’s dog, which was, oh my sides are splitting, a French poodle.

Good Toles cartoon.

William Saletan of Slate points out that even Rick “I’m not holier than thou, I’m holier than YOU” Santorum didn’t mention gays while talking about marriage, although he obviously wouldn’t have been talking about marriage at all if not for the gay marriage issue. So they’ve got even the Pennsylvania bully boy to abstain, for once, from overt gay-bashing, in favor of coded gay-bashing. Try to think of it as progress. The R’s are attempting to put a smiley face on it by talking about heterosexual marriage, which is evidently the basis of society, “the most fundamental institution of civilization.” Where does that leave gays? Un-persons, excluded by definition from society and civilization. Although they still have “selfish hedonism,” as Alan Keyes puts it, which is a pretty good compensation.

And Mel Martinez just won the R primary for US Senate after accusing Bill McCollum, of all people, of being a secret fag-lover for supporting an anti-hate-crimes bill.

Zell Miller is introduced as “the conscience of the Democratic party.” So who would that make the conscience of the Republican party, John Wilkes Booth?

T-shirt at anti-Bush rally: “Think. It’s patriotic.”

All the comparisons between Bush and Churchill. A reminder to the R’s: before World War II was even over, the voters booted Churchill out, in one of the finest moments for the principle of democracy. Also, the comparison is about how Churchill kept warning against the dangers of fascism in the 1930s, holding to his convictions while being ostracized from mainstream politics, while Bush recognized the dangers of terrorism...after several rather large buildings were damaged or destroyed and the dangers of terrorism were pretty fucking obvious. Yes, his breadth of vision is astonishing. Although, since I’m told that Osama bin Laden’s name hasn’t been mentioned once during the convention, you’d have to think that if Shrub had been around in the 1930s, he’d have recognized the dangers of fascism and tried to launch a pre-emptive attack on...Italy.

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