Archive for August, 2004

The bottom line.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Arnold Schwarzennegar comes out. He’s standing in front of a screen with a deco-image of the American flag. He puts in several catch phrases: “economic girlie man”, “Terminate this”, “Jingle all the way”, whatever.

Kill me.

He has a number of applause lines, where the Republican delegates get an opportunity to chant… “U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!”

Kill me.

We learn that he became a Republican because of… Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon.

The Bush daughters come out. They’re there to introduce Georgie who’ll be on the screen to introduce Laura. There really is no other way I can put this, after hearing the Bush daughters give their self-aware jab at their general bubble-headedness.:


If you still can’t think of a reason to vote for John Kerry, I present tonight’s primetime scheduled Republican National Convention show as an exhibit of at least a reason to kick out Bush Asshole.

Ike: How Quaint

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

May 31, 1956

President’s Liking for Office Growing […]

Summarizing his politial experience three years after he returned from Paris to seek the Republican Presidential nomination, the President told reporters at his seventieth news conference that he “still didn’t like politics” — in the derogatory sense of the term — but that working with and influencing people in the cause of world peace was “a fascinating business.”

“It is the kind of thing,” he added, working up enthusiasm for the subject, “that would engage the interest, intense interest, of any man alive.”

He continued:

“There are in this office thousands of unique opportunities to meet especially interesting people because the Government here in Washington has become the center of so many things that, again, you have a very fascinating experience in meeting scientists, people that are leaders in culture, in health, in governmental action, and from all over the world.

“There are many things about the office and the work, the work with your associates that are, well, let’s say, at least intriguing, even if at times they are very fatiguing. But they are — it is a wonderful experience.”

Here’s Pat Buchanan

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Face it. The Republican Convention speakers all, by and large stink.

John McCain, the most popular politician in America, gave a lack-luster sing-songy speech. He must of known he wasn’t delivering anything, which would expalin the otherwise unexplainable matter of why he decided to give Michael Moore the attention.

Dick Cheney is scary, and will thus be given the task of delivering a non-scary speech. Arnold Schwarzeggar will have his action-movie catch-phrases handy, but isn’t a paradigm of virtue. I suppose we can start assembling George Bush’s speech from what’s on his stump right now — dust out the old Bush State of the Union drinking game. I have every confidence that Zell Miller will fail torise to the same heights of rhetorical flourishing as his DNC counterpart, Barack Obama did.

Nobody will say interesting at all. Nor will they say something in an impressive manner. I get the sense that Rudy Guiliani was the high-point of rhetoric at this convention.

So, with that mind, we’ll just have to go back in time to when someone said something interesting at an RNC Convention. Here’s Pat Buchannan.

Like many of you last month, I watched that giant masquerade ball at Madison Square Garden–where 20,000 radicals and liberals came dressed up as moderates and centrists–in the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.

One by one, the prophets of doom appeared at the podium. The Reagan decade, they moaned, was a terrible time in America; and the only way to prevent even worse times, they said, is to entrust our nation’s fate and future to the party that gave us McGovern, Mondale, Carter and Michael Dukakis.

No way, my friends. The American people are not going to buy back into the failed liberalism of the 1960s and ’70s–no matter how slick the package in 1992.

The malcontents of Madison Square Garden notwithstanding, the 1980s were not terrible years. They were great years. You know it. I know it. And the only people who don’t know it are the carping critics who sat on the sidelines of history, jeering at ine of the great statesmen of modern time.

Out of Jimmy Carter’s days of malaise, Ronald Reagan crafted the longest peacetime recovery in US history–3 million new businesses created, and 20 million new jobs.

Under the Reagan Doctrine, one by one, the communist dominos began to fall. First, Grenada was liberated, by US troops. Then, the Red Army was run out of Afghanistan, by US weapons. In Nicaragua, the Marxist regime was forced to hold free elections–by Ronald Reagan’s contra army–and the communists were thrown out of power. […]

The presidency is also America’s bully pulpit, what Mr Truman called, “preeminently a place of moral leadership.” George Bush is a defender of right-to-life, and lifelong champion of the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs upon which this nation was built.

Mr Clinton, however, has a different agenda. […]

Yet a militant leader of the homosexual rights movement could rise at that convention and exult: “Bill Clinton and Al Gore represent the most pro-lesbian and pro-gay ticket in history.” And so they do. […]

Elect me, and you get two for the price of one, Mr Clinton says of his lawyer-spouse. And what does Hillary believe? Well, Hillary believes that 12-year-olds should have a right to sue their parents, and she has compared marriage as an institution to slavery–and life on an Indian reservation.

Well, speak for yourself, Hillary.

Friends, this is radical feminism. The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America–abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat–that’s change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God’s country. […]

George Bush was 17 when they bombed Pearl Harbor. He left his high school class, walked down to the recruiting office, and signed up to become the youngest fighter pilot in the Pacific war. And Mr Clinton? When Bill Clinton’s turn came in Vietnam, he sat up in a dormitory in Oxford, England, and figured out how to dodge the draft. […]

In New York, Mr Gore made a startling declaration. Henceforth, he said, the “central organizing principle” of all governments must be: the environment.

Wrong, Albert!

The central organizing principle of this republic is freedom. And from the ancient forests of Oregon, to the Inland Empire of California, America’s great middle class has got to start standing up to the environmental extremists who put insects, rats and birds ahead of families, workers and jobs. […]

Yes, we disagreed with President Bush, but we stand with him for freedom to choice religious schools, and we stand with him against the amoral idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the same standing in law as married men and women.

We stand with President Bush for right-to-life, and for voluntary prayer in the public schools, and against putting American women in combat. And we stand with President Bush in favor of the right of small towns and communities to control the raw sewage of pornography that pollutes our popular culture. […]

My friends, this election is about much more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. And so, we have to come home, and stand beside him. […]

The Party of Lincoln and the Party of Reagan

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

For some unknowable reason, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was given a second speech, previously unscheduled, during primetime last night.

He’s the guy who became Speaker of the House after Newt Gingrich bailed out due to the 1998 elections and after their first choice was discovered to have had sex once.

Mr. Hastert’s speech paid homily to the presidents Lincoln and Reagan.

George W. Bush shares the hopeful vision of Lincoln and Reagan. He believes in peace through strength. He believes that the economy grows when the private sector grows, not when the government grows.

Lincoln, who did more than anyone to centralize and consolidate the power of the federal government. And Reagan…

Both President Lincoln and President Reagan understood that in order to be respected around the world, you have to have the courage to stand up for America.

Europe, more or less, just hedged their bets toward whoever they perceived to be winning for trading purposes. I doubt they’d care if the South had won.

George W. Bush is a strong leader with the right vision for America.

It is the Lincoln vision. It is the Reagan vision. And it is the American vision.

Yes, but is it the Garfield vision? Is it the Taft vision? Is it the Harding vision?

The Landon vision?

Do the Democrats currently have the vision that guided Georges McGovern and Wallace?

Maybe their foreign policy is based on the straight run-way path that ties together 3-time nominee William Jenning Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, George McGovern, Scoop Jackson, and Bill Clinton.

Later, Hastert would suggest that Kerry was against throwing tea into the Boston Harbor. I support Kerry’s prinipled stand there, by the way. Very environmentally concious.


Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

October 5, 1972

Striking back after weeks of silence, President Nixon dismissed with calculated contempt today Senator George McGovern’s charge that the administration was the most corrupt and deceitful in history.

Mr. Nixon, who appeared before a news conference in his Oval Office this morning, addressed the corruption issue in measured and at times almost inaudible tones that seemed deliberately designed to contrast with what he suggested was the shrill and irrespsonsible campaign tactics of his opponent.

“I think the responsible members of the Democratic party will be turned off by this kind of campaigning.” he said, “and I would suggest that responsible members of the press, following the single standard to which they are deeply devoted, will also be turned off by it.”

The news conference was Mr. Nixon’s first since Aug. 19, when he met newsmen in California. Whether by coincidence or by design, both news conferences have come on days when Mr. McGovern, the Democratic Presidential nominee, has been making major campaign statements, first on taxes and welfare, and today, on foreign policy.

Gerald Ford

Monday, August 30th, 2004

The PBS talking heads are having a difficult time filling space.

The Republican National Committee shows on their screen a one minute or thereabouts montage of Gerald Ford. The film is trippy, jigsaw images jumping up and down and all over the place — has this odd just post-psychedelic quality to it. The University fo Michigan fight song is playing underneath it. I think it’s an appropriate sideshow befitting the president who served two years, had no political mandate, and fulfilled that mandate perfectly.

The talking heads — a couple historians, Jim Lehrer, the moderate Establishment Liberal Mark Shields and the moderate Establishment Conservative David Brooks, then go on to pontificate on the legacy of Gerald Ford on the party and on the nation… for what seems like the next fifteen minutes. Nothing interesting is scheduled on the floor, after all.

On the convention floor, there were people who probably took a potty break and came back, missing Gerald Ford and not missing a beat.


Tom Daschlism

Monday, August 30th, 2004

I have no doubt that the right wing echo chamber of right wing talk radio and Scaife and Murdoch outlets are all abuzz about Tom Daschle’s advertisement. Why? Because it’s spotlighted on Drudge.

The great question of Tom Daschle: why is the leader of the Senate Democrats a senator from a heavily Republican state? It doesn’t do well to advance an agenda of some sort when the loyal opposition’s leader is so politically vulnerable. It sort of hampers the partisan (or political) fights.

You will notice that Nancy Pelosi is generally the point-person in attacking Bush’s foreign affairs, and Daschle tends to try economic affairs in a generic “centrist populist” mode.

Bush defeated Gore 60.3% to 37.6%.

Roll back the clock on Daschle’s election fights. He’s lucky to be in the cycle that he is in: 1998 was a good Democratic year; 1992 was a good Democratic year; 1986 was a good Democratic year.

If a re-election had found its way in 1994, he would be dead… even as his rise to the top of the heep is a direct result of the 1994 election.

Still, in the cynical purpose of a political party: to funnel money around so as to elect people to do political figures, he’s not useless. Note that the states of North Dakota and South Dakota have a congressional delegation composed of 4 Democratic senators, 2 Democratic Representatives, and zero Republicans. Some better than others, but there they are.

Thank you, Tom Daschle. You dragged Tim Johnson to a 500 vote victory in 2002… and you’re gearing up for another 500 vote victory for yourownself.

In the less cynical purpose of a political party, he’s hampered… he’s situated right in the middle in the right-left dichotemy of the Democratic caucuss — from Paul Wellstone to Zell Miller until Wellstone died and Miller became pointless to Russ Feingold to Evan Bayh– managing a split party without any real ability to advance or defend any kind of agenda.

Which brings us one of the great ironies of this election for the Democratic Party. The burgeoning grassroots networks that are helping funnel money into the Democratic Party races — spurred on by and Howard Dean and a large number of blogs — are composed of people generally to the left of the Democratic National Committee, which would help elect people, most visibly into the Senate, who are to the right of the Democratic National Committee.

The close Senate races are in the Red states. In the case of the southern states, the retiring conservative Democrats from another era are giving way to a new breed of conservative Democrats. In the case of Oklahoma and Alaska, some inherent weaknesses with the Republican candidate are giving an opening for “acceptable” Democratic candidates…

… who, if pressed, would vote in favour of various cultural wedge issues… the gay marriage ban amendment, for instance.

At least they don’t want to press some of these issues.