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Second night

First, folks, a few words about irony.  I have employed irony on this site before, back when I was a few miles left of the DemocRATS, that is, a couple of days ago.  But irony is an ill wind that bites the hand that feeds our country’s fashionable liberal cynicism.  So you are now entering the no-irony zone.  You have been warned.

Well, day two at the RNC was a mixed bag.  On the one hand, we showcased our diversity.  We did tolerance and moderation last night, and in so doing, we opened a six-pack of tall-boy whoop-ass on those French-speaking Democrats and their “intimate friends” in the theater industry and the anti-Christian media.  When we do tolerance and moderation, we take no motherlovin’ prisoners!  But tonight it was all about diversity.  Michael Steele himself was incredibly diverse.  The liberal media won’t admit it, but black Republicans are actually much more diverse than black Democrats.  You see, since most African-Americans are Democrats, black Democrats are basically just party-line groupthinkers.  Black Republicans, by contrast, think for themselves in a way that truly diversifies diversity.  And that’s why we put them front and center when we have our conventions-- because, unlike the Rats, we respect them as individuals rather than as members of a group. 

And then the highlight of the night, the man we all came to see, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Schwarzenegger spells “diversity.” For while the Democrats think Hollywood is the heart and soul of America, Republicans know that the heart and soul of America is someplace else, like a small town in a swing state, or in a quiet, modest house in the country where immigrants are working hard to better themselves by farming the land or pumping iron or something.  Arnold Schwarzenegger symbolizes that heart and soul, having risen from humble immigrant iron-pumping origins to fame and success and announcing his candidacy for governor of California on The Tonight Show-- the classic American immigrant’s dream.  And as Arnold put it so eloquently tonight, immigrants don’t have to fear the Republican party-- the Republican party loves them.  And they don’t have to agree with everything in the Republican party, like, for example, the part of the party that doesn’t love immigrants at all, because we “can respectfully disagree and still be good Republicans.” Now that’s diversity-- and tolerance too!

How do you know you’re a Republican, Arnold asked?  If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, instead of the people being accountable to the government, you’re a Republican.  Well, no kidding!  Again, you won’t hear this from the liberal media, but independent studies have proven that the Bush presidency has been the most accountable presidency ever-- and more than twice as accountable as Clinton’s.  In fact, you could say that the “W” in “George W. Bush” stands for “We Have Been Extremely Accountable.”

Also, Arnold said, if you think your family knows how to spend money better than the government does, you’re a Republican.  Damn straight, Kindergarten Cop!  In the past year, my family has initiated a bold new spending program designed to bolster the alternative-rock industry, and next year we’re unveiling our plan to provide health care for all Americans except the ones who don’t live with us.  Also, don’t forget to check out the new Bérubé Turnpike we’ll be building in a town near you.  It’ll be a toll road, so that we can raise the funds for the light rail system we’re working on for 2009.

Some of you might doubt that my family can pull this off.  Well, some of you might just be economic girlie-men!  The kind who get their panties in a bunch about a little deficit here and a little job loss there!  You people don’t have health care?  You can’t afford a visit to the dentist, you say, and you’ve got this inflammation that you’re worried about?  You’re a bunch of fags!!  Why not just go to Hollywood and become DemocRATS, you lily-livered gum-inflamed liberal whiners?

Enough about you.  This night wasn’t about you.  It was about a President who knows how to terminate terrorism.  That’s right, you wanted to know if Arnold would say “terminate,” and you got your answer-- we will terminate terrorism.  Terrorism will come at us in a big truck carrying crude oil or liquid nitrogen or something, and we’ll crush it in a drill press or maybe shoot it and shatter it into a million pieces, but then the terrorists’ metal forearm will survive and provide scientists with the basis for creating a whole new kind of artificial intelligence, or the liquid-metal terrorist will re-form and we’ll have to shoot it with one of those huge exploding bullets and make it fall backwards into a vat of molten steel, and then we’ll have to send ourselves back into the past (that is, the present) to protect ourselves from the terrorists who want to start a global thermonuclear war, but then it’ll turn out that the war happens anyway, which is kind of complicated, because we thought we’d avoided it when we shot the liquid-metal terrorist with the huge exploding bullet and he fell . . . never mind, that’s not the point, the point is that leadership is all about “making decisions you think are right, and then standing behind those decisions.” Even when it looks like your decision to invade Iraq was based on the advice of a notorious kleptomaniac who was possibly serving as a double agent for Iranian mullahs, you stand behind your decision, because leadership is all about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind them.  Um, I said that already.  But that’s all right, because it makes it even more true!!  And I stand firm in repeating what I said about leadership!! 

I do have two quibbles with Arnold’s speech.  One, he said, “you don’t reason with terrorists, you defeat them.” Maybe this is one of those moments where he’s respectfully disagreeing with the President, who recently told us (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that we can’t win a war on terrorism in a way that winnably defeats terrorists because this is a different kind of conflict than the kind of conflict in which you win a war, but that doesn’t mean we won’t win.  But I think Schwarzenegger should have consulted the President about this.  And two, he said that “we do not fight for imperialism, we fight for human rights.” I know I’ve only been a Republican for 24 hours now, but I have to press the “respectful disagreement” button here.  Screw human rights-- I’m in it for the imperialism.  You may be happy right where you are in Sacramento, Arnold, but me, I want one of those no-bid contracts.

Next up were the twins, Barbara and Jenna.  And here, I think, is where my new party revealed a genius I didn’t know it had.  For years, progressive-left literary types like me used to taunt Republicans: “nyah nyah, nyah nyah,” we suggested, “you don’t know anything about surrealism, nyah nyah, never heard of the European avant-garde, la la la la la la.” We thought we were the last word in urbane sophistication, and that Republicans could not begin to comprehend-- or even catch-- our allusions to figures like Bréton and Bataille.  But then along come the Bush twins, and ooh la la, surrealism is born anew!  “My Dad already had a chief of staff-- and his name is Andy!” said Jenna.  It is beyond humor, it is beyond your petty-ironic Democrat understanding.  “Our parents’ favorite term of endearment for each other is Bushy,” they said, following this with “we had a hamster too, but our hamster didn’t make it.” What does this mean? you ask.  Foolish liberal Democrats, fretting about “what does this mean, this strange talk of bushes and lost hamsters.” It is not about meaning.  It is about the irruption of the unconscious into the very fabric of everyday life, where the eye becomes an egg and the hamster disappears into the bushy undergrowth, there to be transformed into the heart and soul of America.  Hah!  Now we find that Republican diversity is even more diverse than Michael Steele and Arnold Schwarzenegger-- it extends even to the domain of live performance art, where Barbara and Jenna Bush evoke Bréton and Bataille and Beavis and Butthead in an intertextual performance that leaves you girlie-men cultural-studies Democrats gasping for air.  I especially liked the bit about how their parents taught them to respect everyone.  Except the people we run against-- them we slime! Heh.  Heh heh.  Heh. 

After Arnold and the twins, Laura was a serious letdown, I have to say.  She was not very diverse, and she was not very surrealist either.  She did manage to point out that her husband was the very first president to support stem cell research, slapping down that liberal-media Big Lie about how Clinton authorized the research and Bush declared a moratorium on it, and she did manage to be strong and emphatic, not at all shrill and smug like Hitlery, but why did she have to go and mention Vaclav Havel?  He’s a foreign leader, and as Rudy G. told us last night, foreign leaders suck eggs.  “Democracy requires the participation of everyone,” Havel told Laura.  Screw that participatory shit! We have an election to win here.  No wonder nobody clapped at that line!  Diebold their lame asses, I say, and if there’s a black DemocRAT in Florida who wants to vote, he (or she!) better be ready to recite the Constitution backwards and prove that his (or her!) grandfather wasn’t a Democrat (or a felon, assuming you make the distinction!).  And then we have to hear about the President shedding tears as he’s hugged families who’ve lost loved ones?  What the hell is this, Oprah?  First of all, George Bush would have to have really long arms to hug entire families.  And second of all, let’s leave this sensitive, family-hugging crap to John Kerry, whose campaign is based entirely on hugging, nuancing, and reasoning with terrorists.  From my leaders I want to hear more about terminating terrorism with huge exploding bullets and time travel, and that’s why I can’t wait to hear Dick Cheney speak tomorrow night.

America moves ahead!  And this blog will follow.

Posted by on 08/31 at 06:22 PM
  1. When’d you get so damn funny?  Keep up the good work.  By the by, I still owe you a gift certificate.  First, I’ll get a job, then healthcare, then I’ll get you a gift certificate.  Sound like a plan?  Until then, keep being funny and informative.


    Posted by  on  08/31  at  08:48 PM
  2. Man, I wish I had the manliness to watch that shit. Instead I’m just sitting here reading manlier men blog about the experience.

    Let me know how hot Ann Coulter is when you see her, ok?

    Posted by Charlie Bertsch  on  08/31  at  09:16 PM
  3. I’m getting worried about you now Michael. Perhaps the strain of watching this convention is too much for you.  No doubt you’ve seen the movie “Scanners.” Look in the mirror.  Are the veins in your head bulging? We would not want any explosions, so if you need the night off, feel free.  We can pretty much guess what Cheney is going to say. Your health comes first.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  02:32 AM
  4. Your unironicality missed one subtle distinction: foreign leaders suck eggs, unless they’re our foreign leaders, like Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair. And if you move past its foreignness, Schwarzenegger’s name means “black plowman,” which makes him an Austrian-African-American farmer of the land who pumps iron. A manly diversity unmatched, even by one who holds life and death in his hands like a savage gift.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  04:34 AM
  5. Well, Michael, thanks again for your self-sacrifice and careful analysis but it’s apparent that you have completely missed the boat of what is going on here.  And what is it you have missed?

    Why, you have missed the fact that the election is now over and Kerry has already lost.  How do I know?  Why, because the pundits of MSNBC have declared it so, that’s why.  Matthews, Scarborough, J.C. Watts and other helpful Republicans were on hand to point out the facts.

    Yes, I know, Digby, Josh and other bloggers keep saying the polls are still dead even.  But those stupid polls only care about the opinions of voters. What the blog do we care about voters?  When the SCLM has made up it’s mind and rendered its decision, than, man, you can take it to the bank, because it’s a done deal.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  04:47 AM
  6. Clearly there are three possible reactions to sustained RNC watching, videlicet:
    1. Alcohol.
    2. Suicide.
    3. Channelling Fafblog.

    I am reassured that you seem to have picked 3, with possibly a small admixture of 1.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  04:49 AM
  7. The election is over?  Wow, so Tom Burka was right after all.  All hail our already-elected-or-perhaps-appointed leader!

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  04:54 AM
  8. brilliant. fucking brilliant.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  06:29 AM
  9. I salute you.  And weep tears of gratitude that I wasn’t watching.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  06:57 AM
  10. Well, I have to be honest, even though I’ve pulled the Dem lever three times in a row now, opposed the Bush tax cuts, the war on Iraq, the patriot act, the whole slew of wing-nut court nominations, and the general whoring to corporate interests, Arnold’s riff about the economic girlie-men really has me rethinking my position. 

    The bit about how Repubs want the gubmit to be accountable to the people rather than the people accountable to the gubmit is making me twitch, too.  I know, I don’t want to be accountable to the gubmit, or anyone else for that matter.  I kinna like that.  But I’m wondering, Berube, as a new Republican in grand standing, can you enlighten me on how the whole personal responsibility thing works in here?  If I don’t need to be accountable to the gubmit, why should I be personally responsible?  And to who(m)?

    Thank you.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  07:00 AM
  11. The most genius phrase in this whole hallucino-sensationalist epistolo-rant is, “where the eye becomes an egg and the hamster disappears into the bushy undergrowth.”

    You’re not channeling Fafblog, you’re channeling Bunuel. (Does Bunuel have a blog? BunBlog? I’m curious to hear his views of the RNC convention as well.)

    Posted by Amardeep  on  09/01  at  07:50 AM
  12. that was the single most genius thing i’ve ever read.

    Posted by heath  on  09/01  at  08:27 AM
  13. You’ll never make up your mind will ya?

    Posted by Gardiner  on  09/01  at  08:33 AM
  14. I knew that Jenna and Barbara would drive a flaming liberal postmodernist deconstructionist French-loving literary studies professor into delirious spasms of giddy delight.

    It’s exactly like giving little kids Pixie Sticks.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  09/01  at  08:47 AM
  15. I heard that Vincent Gallo, who should know better, has been scoring sweet drugs for the Bushie family.  Babs, the old one, was apperently a fan of opium when she was younger.  But the twins, who are much cooler, are into the much hipper ecstacy and participate in the revival of cocaine - just like their dad!

    Everyone knows it’s ok for young, rich, well-adjusted kids to ‘experiment’ with drugs.

    Posted by Anthony Smith  on  09/01  at  08:56 AM
  16. This post was even more surreal than your last.  I don’t know what to think now, so I’ve decided to stop thinking and vote Republican.

    Posted by Bob  on  09/01  at  08:58 AM
  17. Pretty funny. Write some more.

    Posted by Thrasyboulos  on  09/01  at  09:08 AM
  18. Good stuff. 

    Posted by Ress  on  09/01  at  09:27 AM
  19. God help us all. What is happening to the Republic?

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  09:37 AM
  20. Good stuff Mr. Berube.  I watched only about 45 seconds of the Republican convention last night; I didn’t have anything better to do, and I may well have lucked into the highlight(for me anyway).  ‘Twas Senator Frist, made up to look like Herman Munster, stumbling(I’m being charitable) through the wonderful benefits that President Bush has extorted for our seniors.  Frist pulled a Medicare drug discount card from his pocket and extolled it’s virtues along with the fact that over 4 million seniors are sick to death of it and like it almost as much as a septic boil.  Tough crowd too.  I’m sure on the cue card it said ‘pause for applause’—well, let’s just say not much of a pause was needed.  I noticed some of the ushers discreetly applying tasers to get folks started.  Frist’s buddies must be lettin’ him bang the cutest hostess girl in order for him to agree to take that hit for the team.  One of Dubya’s least fine decisions, that discount card.  And that’s saying a lot, what with all the competition this season for ‘least fine’. 

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  09:40 AM
  21. Schwarzenegger’s accent must be hypnotic or something…

    have fun destroying the planet, converted wanker

    Posted by Arthur the Plant  on  09/01  at  10:30 AM
  22. THANK YOU!!!  That was the best thing I’ve read or seen on the RNC so far.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  10:58 AM
  23. You want surreal? How about hallucinations?

    From Arnold:
    “I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.
    The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

    But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military”..

    The facts? There was no presidential debate in that election. Nixon never debated Humphrey.

    Posted by sue  on  09/01  at  11:38 AM
  24. to be fair, sue, arnold says “watching the Nixon-Humphrey race” / race, not debate / no, they didnt debate but each appeared on tv as part of the race

    just parsing through

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  11:46 AM
  25. I laughed until tears came out of my eyes. Thank you.

    Posted by Paul  on  09/01  at  12:36 PM
  26. Michael, I feel you missed two important uber-kitch parts of the governators speech.  First, doesn’t it make you feel proud to be a 24-hour republican when you can see one immigrants head held so high that you could actually feel the motion of his Adam’s apple.  I will always love Arnold as the only Republican immigrant, who held his head too high to see the audience save the Cheney/Robot/Creepy Old Republican section.  Second, I feel like Arnoold betrayed his fans by not using the “I’ll be back” line last.  Oh deep sadness at opportunity lost; just imagine: “My fellow American-immigrant-self-hating-friends, I am not worried about America, or Cal-I-four-NI-a, because I know he’ll be back.” It breaks the heart. 

    Posted by ars_politica  on  09/01  at  12:39 PM
  27. Dude!

    This is far and away the best and most entertaining RNC commentary I’ve seen.

    Posted by Yar's Revenge  on  09/01  at  12:49 PM
  28. Yours was funnier than mine.  I just pointed out some dull old facts and asked questions.

    Posted by Gary Farber  on  09/01  at  01:25 PM
  29. i am here for the first time by way of Atrios, and holy crap, man! this is hands-down the funniest thing i have read all week! i am myself not only watching large portions of the RNC Surrealist Love Fest, across the cable/broadcast spectrum, but also TAPING selected portions for instruction related research with the infant journos-to-be here at U of Pgh...(DNC was much less painful, even figuring in my own bias.) i think i will print your essays and affix them to the television screen.

    i had been trying for almost 24 hours now to wrap my brain around exactly HOW a context-less stream-of-consciousness DEAD hamster was a positive endorsement of someone’s presidential abilities...NOW i understand! i thank you, sir!


    Posted by Librarian  on  09/01  at  01:36 PM
  30. Messr. Berube: I’ll go Librarian one further. This is the funniest, and most politically insightful thing I’ve read all year (although a several years old analysis of the Nazi porn phenomenon that exploded in the 70’s was pretty damn good as well - I will always associate Laura Bush with Ilsa the She-Wolf). But if it came down to an Indian leg-wrestling contest between Berube and the She-Wolf, I’d give it to Berube. You can skate after all. Thanks again.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  01:55 PM
  31. Mr. Berube, Where have you been all my life?  I was so livid that I didn’t flat out enjoy the surreality of last nights entertainment as I should have. Darn me. darn me to heck.

    Posted by Blondesense  on  09/01  at  03:25 PM
  32. Bush is a moron dude.

    Go Anyone Else Go! Go Anyone Else Go! Go Anyone Else Go! Go Anyone Else Go!

    Posted by Huh?  on  09/01  at  03:45 PM
  33. Posted by gmanedit  on  09/01  at  04:54 PM
  34. Thanks for this! Easily the funniest thing I have read in a long time. If it weren’t for blogs like this one, my head would have exploded a lmonths ago.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  05:45 PM
  35. Got you so riled, professor, that you couldn’t remember “it’s AN ill wind”. Penn State? Really?

    Posted by Tom  on  09/01  at  06:22 PM
  36. Damn!  I hate typos, and I have fought to keep this blog free of them despite the efforts of illiterate DemocRATS.  The last serious typo on this blog occurred back on March 29 when I typed “Book of Revelations” instead of “Book of Revelation.” So just this once, I’m going to go into “edit” mode and type that “n.” Thanks, Tom.  My sincere apologies, from me and all my colleagues at Pen State.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  06:34 PM
  37. thank you...thank you...thank you...briliant essays

    Posted by chris  on  09/02  at  01:03 AM
  38. To a Repub, no irony means his shirt will be wrinkled.

    Posted by  on  09/02  at  01:53 AM
  39. gmanedit,

    That was my impression as well.  Jenna and the other were performing a name-dropping roast.  I ‘got’ most of the references, but I wonder how many other people did?

    Posted by  on  09/02  at  05:37 AM
  40. That was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Thank you for making me laugh out loud at my office and making people wonder what’s wrong with me. 

    Posted by ravenastro  on  09/02  at  06:37 AM
  41. DOOD, you rock.

    Posted by beerzie boy  on  09/02  at  07:16 AM
  42. In fact, you could say that the “W” in “George W. Bush” stands for “We Have Been Extremely Accountable.”

    That was meant to be a joke, right?  At the very latest, the Bush Administration decided to invade Iraq in March 2002, the month Bush said “Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out” and the month the State Department started studying how to occupy the place.  (Their conclusions were ignored)

    How does deciding to invade a country half a year before you tell the US public about your plans have anything to do with accountability?

    Posted by Matt  on  09/04  at  11:01 PM
  43. Hi, Matt.  Why stop with Iraq?  Think of how accountable Cheney has been by publishing the names of his “energy policy” friends on his own personal blog, how accountable Bush has been in releasing all his Harken records to the press, and how accountable Ashcroft has been in hunting down and prosecuting the people who blew Valerie Plame’s cover.  There’s a whole heapin’ helpin’ of accountability!

    Posted by  on  09/05  at  03:57 AM





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