Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Republican Convention: Boring and Bizarre

August 31, 2004

The Republican Convention began last night in New York City with renditions from West Side Story, a show from the 1960's about the division between whites and hispanics -- and ended with a rendition by a now deceased Democrat, Frank Sinatra, singing New York, New York.

In between, there were a number of boring speeches and as expected, Kerry bashing, since the Bush administration has nothing positive to run on. The best the Republican Party could do was bring up memories of September 11, 2001, in a vain attempt to link George W. Bush to those events, and an even more bizarre continued insistence that there is a link between the attack on September 11 and Saddam Hussein.

During the first few speeches there was an animated elephant on the screen behind them. It may not have appeared this way in the hall, but on television it looked like the trunk of the elephant was going up into the rear ends of the speakers, then coming back out -- kind of like a metaphor of shovelling crap in, and pulling crap out -- an apt metaphor for what the Republicans have been doing and continued to do this evening.

The two main speakers were John McCain and Rudy Giulliani. Both clearly are trying to position themselves as the Republican candidate for President in 2008. Although the press continues to be in love with McCain, McCain further embarrassed himself by continuing to support the man who besmirched his Viet Nam war record and his family; the man who has since besmirched the Viet Nam war record of two other war heroes -- Max Cleland and John Kerry. Either McCain thinks this is the only way he can convince the extreme right wing portion of the Republican Party to support him, or else they have something on him. McCain also took a pot shot at filmmaker Michael Moore, who was in the hall. McCain made totally inaccurate statements about the film "Farenheit 911" and got his only real ovation from his comments. Later, in interviews, he was forced to admit that his statements were based on clips he had seen of the movie. He had not actually seen the movie. McCain has squandered whatever respect he once had.

Rudy Giulliani, without the events of September 11, would have gone down in history as a mayor who cleaned up crime but was otherwise rather divisive and alienated various minorities. On September 11 and following, Giulliani proved himself capable and in charge in a crisis. He was the true political hero of September 11. George Bush was a wimp by comparison, and Governor George Pataki doesn't even register on the scale. It was Giulliani's handling of September 11 and it's aftermath that will help him toward becoming the 2008 Republican candidate for President. His was the only speech that was not boring. True, he too spent parts of his speech bashing Kerry and parts of his speech evoking the memories of September 11. But he is the only politician who can lay some claim to the handling of events of September 11, along with the various uniformed and non-uniformed heroes of that day. Sadly for him, however, he tried to give George Bush credit for quickly coming to the aid of New York City and providing all of the requested funding. For those with short memories, the Democratic Senators from New York City had to fight to get much of the promised money to actually find its way to New York City.

So from the divisive West Side Story to the deceased Democrat Frank Sinatra, with little substance in-between, the Republican Convention has so far been very boring and bizarre.