Wednesday, September 01, 2004
By 10 pm, I have to admit, I was pumped. Partly it was the cosmopolitans with Lynne, the rounds of Macallan with Rich Lowry, and the white wine with Horowitz, but when prime time rolled around, I was as ready as anyone to rock on down the Highway to Zell. But hey, did you catch the music that followed the Sensitive Bush Family Montage? “I Like Soul with a Capital S,” followed by “Soul Man"-- that was my idea, honest. And the delegates dug it. Some clapped on the 2 and the 4, some clapped on the 1 and the 3, but who cares? Republicans can disagree about these things and still represent the best of America.
Then we introduced Zell with “The Devil Came Down to Georgia.” That wasn’t my idea. I don’t know what it was supposed to signify. And we didn’t even get to the dueling fiddle solos! Or the rousing chorus, “chicken in the bread pan, go fry dough.”
Nonetheless, the Zellraiser started off on fire: “Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?” he asked. Our nation is being torn apart by Democrats and their obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief! And that, my friends, is why we cannot unite the country the way we so desperately want to: these goddamn Democrats are a bunch of soft-bellied traitors! They insist on seeing American soldiers as occupiers, not liberators, when in fact, as Zell pointed out, the soldier, not the reporter, has given us the freedom of the press. Many cheers for this line from the crowd below me in the Garden! Screw those reporters who abuse the freedom of the press! Just like the soldier, not the agitator, has given us freedom of expression. Damn to hell fire those protestors who abuse the privilege of freedom of speech! Real American patriots know that dissent is possible only in America, and therefore unnecessary. Actual dissenters, who don’t bathe very often and who habitually abuse the privilege granted them by the military, are therefore traitors. To Gitmo with ‘em all!
And Zell kept rocking: no one should be Commander-in-Chief who “doesn’t believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.” Well, duh! Maybe three days ago I would have signed up with John Kerry and his legions of “Americans-are-imperialist-occupiers” friends in the Workers World Party, but there’s no way I’d sign on with the Kerry-Edwards “End the Illegal U.S. Occupation-- All Power to Al-Sistani and Al-Sadr” platform today. Did you know that Kerry opposed every single American weapons system except spitballs? That’s right, people-- the only defense appropriation he supported was S.184 in 1987, authorizing the United States to use spitballs against Libya-- but only with United Nations approval! What an abject loser this Kerry is! What a fraud!! He thinks we should “let Paris decide when America needs defending.” Yeah, like Paris defended itself in 1940!!
Then Zell said that Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat, whereas Kerry wants to serve them a yes no maybe bowl of mush. Damn, I know who I want as my CIC, Zell-meister. When Bush is through with grabbing those grimy terrorist throats in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, they won’t even be able to swallow a Kerry bowl of mush! You know what I’m talking about!! Then Zell says: “I have knocked on the door of this man’s soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel.” Though I have to say, in a respectful, Republican kind of way, that this is a little weird. You knocked on the door of his soul? Was it the front door? Who, precisely, was home that day? Was it George himself, or maybe Laura, or one of the staff? Is his soul lodged right near his tempered-steel spine, or is it closer to the pineal gland, where it should be? Dark, disturbing questions. I wish Zell had not Zell-raised them.
I had to take a quick shower in the skybox spa after Zell was done, so I missed my friend Lynne. I hear she was very heterosexual and forceful, not at all like Hitlery. But I towelled myself off in time for the main event, retaking my seat just as Dick strode onto the stage.
Now listen, folks, I still like the Macallan flowing in this suite and the servants and everything, but I have to admit that Dick Cheney is a little bit scary. You all can’t see it on your TVs at home, but here in the Garden it’s quite clear that there’s a ghostly face protruding from the back of his skull, and on the monitors I can tell that it’s Spiro Agnew’s face. Seriously, the nose and the jowls give it away. Yes, I know, Agnew’s supposed to be dead. But what if his spirit lived on, unbeknownst to us? More disturbing questions. Maybe Nixon’s spirit is among us too, looking for a body to inhabit. You know, there is no good and evil, only power-- and those too weak to use it! Sure, it sounds weird-- but I’ve been here for twelve hours and still haven’t seen the back of Karl Rove’s head. I’ll let you know, is all I can say.
It seems that Dick Cheney’s family came from humble origins too, just like some of those Democrats. But he went to government schools? Who wants to hear about that? Yeah, yeah, he cares about the public schools, sure, but we don’t. We came to hear Big Dick making fun of Kerry and Edwards! Say something about the French, dammit!!
More disappointment. Jobs are up, home ownership is up, the Bush tax cuts are working. We know all that. It has been proven true by independent economic analysts of some kind. But what about Democrats destroying our families? Zell said that Democrats would stand by idly while our children and grandchildren were slaughtered. You’ve got to take it to the next level, Dick! And tell Agnew to stop nattering out of the back of your head! The crosstalk is really distracting!
OK, here’s a real screw-you moment! About time! We’re going to have health care that serves patients and good doctors, not personal injury lawyers! All right! I don’t know about the details of the Republican health plan, but we definitely need to kill all the lawyers and their blood-sucking designer Jacuzzi cases. That means you, Breck Girlie Man! Oh yeah!!
Then things got kind of scattered. Iraq was a “gathering threat.” I thought it was a gathering storm or an imminent threat, but what the hell. And Libya’s weapons are now in Oak Ridge, Tennessee? Why would Dick Cheney say that? Was that a signal of some kind? I’m still too new here to tell.
All right! Here comes the Kerry-trashing! “The president’s opponent speaks of his service in Vietnam and we honor him for it.” Scattered golf-clapping. But in the 1980s he opposed the weapons systems that won the Cold War, like the MX missile that destroyed Leningrad, the B-2 bomber that levelled Vladivostok, and the AE-145 drone that occupied Gorbachev’s very own skull! Boo Kerry!! Boo boo!! Flip flop, flip flop!! People bring out their flip flops-- and the crowd goes wild!!
Kerry thinks we should fight a “more sensitive war on terror, as though Al-Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side.” Ha ha! That was a good one, Dick. We have no softer side!! We are hard all around, from tip to root!
Then Dick says, “We are faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, and we cannot wait for the next attack.” Truer words were never spoke, Halliburton Man! We can hardly wait for that next attack. The first attack gave us a 90 percent approval rating-- the next attack will give us unprecedented extraconstitutional powers! All I can say is Bring It On!!
Now for the money shot: “George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.” Straight up and solid! Very hard and firm-- just what we came for!! When John Kerry said he would ask Jacques Chirac for permission to defend my family, that’s when I signed up with the all-hard party. Party hard, hard party!
But then, oddly enough, Dick Cheney speaks of the “wisdom and humility we expect from our President.” He says Bush has “a heart for the weak and the vulnerable and the afflicted.” What does this mean, he’s sensitive or something? Humility? Heart? Bush gets up every day trying to preserve freedom? Tell it to the wives, Cheney Man. Get back to smashing Kerry’s Frenchified face!!
Well, I was bouncing around the suite for a while pumping my fists and expressing myself, and my new friends had to remind me that Fox was on and that I should chill for a few minutes with a tumbler of fine single-malt. Thanks, new friends. I was getting a little carried away with all the Zell-raising and the Dick-hardening. On our direct feed to Fox, Bill Kristol was calmly pointing out that Kerry doesn’t have “much to be proud of in his Senate record” and that the attacks on his patriotism were “not personal or mean-spirited.” Fred Barnes sagely added that “it is significant that Zell Miller didn’t scream” like that lunatic Howard Dean, and Mara Liasson of NPR noted that the Republicans got the bigger prize in the Zell Miller- Ron Reagan Jr. swap.
All in all, it’s been a good night here among the real elite. I just wish that Spiro Agnew’s face hadn’t kept CGI-morphing and hissing out of the back of Dick Cheney’s skull. But my thanks, once again, to everyone who encouraged me to blog this convention! I had no idea how much fun it would be. And tomorrow will be even better than today. . . .
UPDATE: Check out the cool graphics at Corrente! The Farmer wasn’t in the house like I was, but he got the feeling of the night just right.
Live from New York!
That’s right, I’m now on the scene, blogging from a corporate box in Madison Square Garden, where the Republican National Committee has helicoptered me in from central Pennsylvania. It seems that they’ve been reading this blog over the past two days, and they really like what they see. Thanks, guys! You’ve been very sweet to me. And the helicopter ride rocked.
Unfortunately, not everyone has been so sweet lately. Some of my former friends in the Democrat party have been getting pretty wild-eyed, just like their stumbling standardbearer, and a few of you have even posted some nasty remarks about me on various liberal blogs. “A traitor to the left,” says one. “He was always horrible,” says another. “You are the least shrewd, most willing-to-be hornswoggled academic I’ve ever run into,” says a third-- on this very site! Everyone wants to know: how could I do it? After a lifetime of believing passionately in egalitarian social justice, in democratic secularism, in human rights for every living human regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or disability, how could I flip to the Republicans in only one night of watching the convention on TV? Exactly how stupid or craven am I?
Well, let’s try to figure out just whose horn is being swoggled, people. Do you know how much money we’re talking about here? I’ve spent my adult life as a member of the liberal cultural elite, living in college towns and teaching literature. I thought I was pretty sharp, with my “postmodern” this and my “cultural studies” that. But do you have any idea how the real elite in this country live? Holy mother of God in a public creche, folks, you can’t begin to imagine the perks around here. To hell with the cultural elite-- they couldn’t see Dick Cheney’s tax bracket if the entire English department at Harvard stood on each other’s shoulders. The political elite is where it’s at, people, the economic elite. Now there’s an elite. And let me tell you, it is mighty, mighty fine up here. No more Genny Cream Ale in cans for me-- there’s nothing in this suite but Macallan and Stoli. And the servants couldn’t be nicer. Everyone here treats them with honest-to-God conservative compassion, and they seem to be just fine with that.
Where is all the money coming from, you ask? Well, from many sources, all of them legit, not like your drug-running, Holocaust-avoiding Soros fellow. But the main pipeline (so to speak!-- that’s a little joke in our suite) is Iraq appropriations. Remember that $8.8 billion that went “missing” last week? I’m looking at some of it right now, people. It’s in a suitcase next to the hors d’oeuvres, and it’s pretty goddamned impressive. Think Pulp Fiction. I can’t say anything more at the moment, but I can assure you that it’s being put to good use as I type. So here’s to Iraq-- let freedom reign!
This afternoon, Rich Lowry of the National Review stopped by to offer me a guest spot at NRO. He was really nice-- he suggested that I’d fill a crucial niche over there, since, as he put it, nobody at the magazine knows “jack shit” about American culture. “No one on our staff has seen a play, gone to a movie, listened to a new CD, danced at a club, or read a work of fiction in the past five years-- seriously, it’s just Jonah and his ‘Republicans-can-quote-the-Simpsons-too’ routine. You’d basically have the entire field to yourself.” He’s right, you know. They’re not crazy about my hockey thing, but I’m sure we can work that out. After all, the great thing about America is that Republicans can disagree with each other!
Whoa, gotta run-- I’m meeting Lynne Cheney for cosmopolitans at the Royalton. We have a lot to catch up on-- and I’ve got a list of names I have to give her before she goes on tonight. Back later with the results of Cheneyfest!