Thursday, September 04, 2008

In Which We Watch as Much of the Rudy and Palin Speeches As Our Stomach Can Manage

Oh, boy. I started with a little Giuliani here and there, flipping between him and a very bad CONCACAF Champions League game when I couldn't take any more of either, and am at a loss for words to describe my reaction to both the words coming out of his mouth and the rabid response they elicited from the GOP convention crowd, although "dumbfounded" and "appalled" are strong contenders. "Zero" appears to be the nickname they're settled on for Obama, given that the conventioneers jeered zero, zero, while incongruously waving the index finger/thumb "okay" circle sign in the air every time Rudy mentioned him not having the kind of executive experience mayors of major urban centers like New York or Wasilla have. And as they jeered, Rudy cackled and egged them on. Decorous, it was not.

I keep forgetting this is the group that gleefully waved purple band-aids in the air in 2004 to mock John Kerry's combat injuries in Vietnam. The "zero" thing was a touch classier than that, but not by much.

And mock they did. They mocked Obama's past as a community organizer. They mocked his (still borne out by available evidence) assertion that a troop surge alone would not be sufficient for stabilizing Iraq. They mocked his desire for change. They mocked his audacity in pointing out that increased oil drilling will do exactly nothing to alleviate the petroleum-based energy crisis.

They never met a one- or two-syllable chant they didn't like. "Drill baby drill" was another good one.
Ancestors of the GOP, imprinting proper convention behavior into genetic memory.

Sigh. Then there was Palin.

My girlfriend had the good fortune to get a phone call, so she spent a lot of the speech in the back not having to hear it, leaving the dogs to field my repeated questions that alternated between what the hell is this and seriously, can someone please tell me what the fuck is going on here?

They didn't know either. Palin smirked and echoed Giuliani's mocking of the whole community organizer thing. For a party that's made a cottage industry of faith-based community organizations as the entities best equipped for dealing with social problems, they spent an awful lot of time belittling the people who beat the bushes at that lowest community level in an attempt to work for positive change. Maybe if more community organizers had been active during Palin's mayorship, Wasilla wouldn't have been the meth capital of Alaska?

She repeated McCain's absurd accusation that Obama would prefer to lose Iraq if it meant him winning the White House. She repeated the unfortunately nuance-required guns 'n' religion bitterness statement. She repeated the Obama-as-Washington-elite meme. She repeated the lie that she stamped her foot and said no to the Bridge to Nowhere. Did you know John McCain was a POW? She mentioned that too. She dismissed Obama's legislative record, including his bipartisan work on laws that halted weapons shipping and his co-sponsorship of ethics reform legislation. Then there were the oversimplified or stretched truths on taxes. And the fear-mongering on Al Qaeda, since John McCain wants to protect America and Barack Obama is terrified that the terrorists won't be read their rights.

All of this in a folksy, smirking, sing-songy voice (I am either deeply relieved or deeply disappointed that she didn't point out her husband's cute butt) that is guaranteed to win the hearts of middle America. Isn't she adorable? Oh, what a spitfire! And she didn't need any feminists' help to get there!

Pardon me while I vomit.

It is very interesting that at least some Republican analysts don't get the Palin selection (Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy caught on an open mike, YouTube video here, h/t Top!Secret G-Woman). If you have half a brain, you see what a disaster this is. But since the majority of the voting public acts like they don't even have that much, I think it's a real possibility that we're fucked. The average voter is going to lap this shit up and ask for more, reveling in the barbed attacks and snide delivery and giddy crowd noise, probably never noticing that Palin didn't say a word about what her administration was actually going to do beyond drill baby drill.

Note 1: Oh, and by the way... I'm really done thinking about the pregnant kid. But since the Palin camp was the one that announced the pregnancy, and since Palin decided to haul the boy involved along to DC for the convention and stick him up on the stage, and since the McCain campaign decided to make a photo op of Walnuts greeting the boy at the airport, please spare me any forthcoming crap about desiring privacy for your family during this difficult time. You played this perfectly, Hockeymom, by building up your kid as a saint for choosing to keep the baby and for having planned to get married anyway. So no more.

Note 2: Rundowns here: the text of the speech, Yahoo fact-checking, Jezebel liveblogging.

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