Monday, August 30, 2004
In all honesty, I have to say I’m impressed.
Ed Koch’s endorsement of Bush was amazingly powerful. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ed, he’s the guy who ran for Mayor of New York in 1977 on the slogan, “Westway Must Never Be Built,” and then, within minutes of taking his hand off the Bible, realized that Westway kicked ass and should definitely be built-- while the city went about the important business of closing a couple of municipal hospitals in Harlem. Not every politician would have had the courage of his convictions on this-- most ordinary New York Democrat machine pols would’ve stuck with the platform that got them in. But not Koch-- he bucked the system in ‘77, man, and he’s still buckin’ today. For a quarter century, the name “Ed Koch” has been synonymous with integrity and rectitude. He’s a beacon of sanity and light in dark times. If he says George Bush is our man, I think Democrats should sit up straight and listen.
And then McCain. What is there to say about McCain? McCain is McCain. The quintessential maverick, quintessentially mavericking all those other sucker-quintessential pseudo-mavericks who try to bring that weak shit to the hole. When he called Michael Moore a “disingenuous filmmaker,” I realized that my own piddling critiques of Moore were so much dust in the wind. As McCain explained in his post-game interview with CNBC, Michael Moore’s film suggested that Iraq under Saddam was some kind of Biblical paradise, and that’s so wrong it’s just . . . just . . . disingenuous, is what it is. Isn’t it weird that Democrats won’t say anything bad about Saddam? Rock on, John. The disingenuous must die!! Die, disingenuous Democrats, die!!
And then, listening to the testimonies and watching the montages after McCain’s speech, I began to think about my own prejudices as a liberal-left blogger. Seriously, the last time I had a substantial debate with one of my liberal-leftist colleagues about the Bush presidency, it was at an American Studies panel at Tiny Elite Liberal University titled, “Republicans-- Do They Merely Give Voice to the Vilest Elements of American Society, or Are They Themselves the Vilest Elements of American Society?” At the time, I argued strenuously in favor of either the former or latter position, but now that I’ve finally seen some actual Republicans up close on TV, I’ve had to reconsider. These people really seem very nice, once you get to meet them. They’re not wild-eyed ideologues-- they’re just ordinary folks, sitting there in Madison Square Garden, trying to have a good time. They’re as sensible as you or your grandmother, and all they want is for people to love one another, inclusively, in a big tent that is inclusive. They love their country, and you should too.
And then . . . Rudy G.
Now, I’ve spent most of my life hanging around with effete English department liberal faculty, and as a result, I’ve always imagined Republicans as evil trolls who file their teeth at night and spend their spare time trying to figure out how to pass tax cuts for their ultrawealthy friends while passing the costs along to widows, orphans, and gay men with disabilities. Tonight, I came face to face with those caricatures, and the caricatures won. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Rudy was great, and great Americans loved Rudy.
Rudy G. channeled Fafblog, declaring that George Bush can “see beyond today and tomorrow-- he can see into the future.” Then Rudy G. channeled Peggy N., declaring that Bush “has already earned a place in history as a great American president,” based on his resolve and his firm hardness in those first few goat-petting hours. And then Rudy G. did this great segue to how the Germans set those 1972 Olympics terrorists free. Also that evil Abu Nidal guy on the Achille Lauro: he showed that terrorists would be met with appeasement, accommodation, and compromise. Not by Reagan, who was president at the time and who was amazingly hard and firm when it came to terrorists-- no, no, Abu Nidal was set free by Europeans. The very same Europeans who continue to live in Europe today! And you know what else Rudy said? We’re gonna play offense, not just defense. We’re gonna lead and not just follow. Hell, yes! As a hockey player, and as a blogger, I have to say this makes sense to me.
And John Kerry? Kerry would try to appease those “foreign leaders” who opposed the removal of Saddam. Boo! Boo Kerry! Boo bad foreign leaders! But right here at home, it turns out, a construction worker hugged Bush really hard, and a Secret Service agent said to Guiliani, “if this guy hurts the President, you’re finished.” It’s hard to argue with that.
Folks, I’ll level with you on the level-- I did not know any of this. I did not know that Kerry said he would have voted before against the $87 billion after he did not vote for it. I did not know that President Bush stayed with those 9/11 construction workers “much longer than was planned.” Thanks to the liberal media and the hyper-liberal campus by which I am surrounded, I have been contributing to the left-wing blogosphere echo-chamber without once questioning my assumptions about the Republican party. But today’s GOP really is a remarkable bunch. “The best speech I’ve seen at a convention,” said William Kristol of Rudy Guiliani’s performance. “He knew what he wanted to say. The Wednesday and the Thursday and the Friday, and the construction worker hugging Bush, and all the other things he said,” said Fred Barnes. How can you argue against someone who knew what he wanted to say? You can’t, is the answer, and that is why, after only one evening of this convention, I’m willing to bet that this land is Bush land, where people know that they say what they say in the way that they just said it.
More tomorrow! (Tomorrow) We’re Gonna Rock You Tomorrow!!!
UPDATE: Readers ask, “did Fred Barnes really say that?” Yes, readers, he really said that. I watched the Fox wrapup, typing away on my spiffy new laptop, and Fred Barnes really said that. We don’t make stuff up on this blog-- we’re not that imaginative.