September 04, 2008
…to See Ourselves As Others See Us

One thing about the Brits, they know their snark. A self-described “liberal European elitist journalist” — Oliver Burkeman of The Guardianlive-blogs last night’s performances in St. Paul:

8.18pm: [Quoting Romney] “I know what makes jobs come, and I know what makes them go.” What made jobs come and go often enough in the past, as Ezra Klein points out, has been the noted private equity firm chief executive Mitt Romney.

8.32pm: Mike Huckabee actually just said this: “My Dad lifted heavy things”. And this: “I was in college before I found out it wasn’t supposed to hurt to take a shower.” It’s something to do with having to clean himself with stones, because he grew up so poor. But this is an almost entirely crazy speech, I’m afraid to say. That’s an unbiased opinion.

8.50pm: Themes of the evening so far: xenophobia, “anti-elitist” rabble-rousing, media-bashing, smalltown boosterism versus liberal city people. Pretty unpleasant, all told.

9.05pm: Wait, wait, wait, WHAT? John McCain was a prisoner of war. He has proved his commitment with his blood. On the other hand, Obama worked as a “community organizer”. “What?” says Giuliani, pretending not to understand. He laughs unpleasantly. The crowd laughs. “Then he ran for the state legislature — where nearly 130 times he was unable to make a decision yes or no. It was too tough. He voted ‘present.’ I didn’t know about this ‘vote present’ when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t get to vote present when she was mayor or governor.”

“Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada. Nada. Nothing.” This is real, jeering anti-Obama stuff, the nastiest we’ve heard, and the delegates are loving it — yelping and whooping.

9.18pm: If you say the war in Iraq is lost, you are saying that Osama bin Laden has won, and that makes you a terrorist. Or something like that.

There’s something rather troubling about the way in which Giuliani enjoys the roiling up the audience. He claps softly to himself, and chuckles.

10.12pm And in a parallel to Obama’s surprise arrival at the end of Joe Biden’s speech, here’s John McCain. “Tremendous, tremendous, fantastic, tremendous,” he says, vaguely hugging the Palins. “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next vice-president of the United States? And what a beautiful family!” Militaristic music. McCain and Palin are both doing an awful Republican version of Hillary Clinton’s already sufficiently awful pointing-and-smiling thing.

Shortly, these psyched-up delegates will hold a roll-call vote officially to nominate McCain. First, three country singers including John Rich are reading out random bits of famous American speeches and documents, in between lines of the national anthem. Extremely strange.

Brilliant, now Rich is singing his criminally stupid song Raising McCain.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 04, 2008 09:37 AM
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Thanks for the pointer. I watched the speeches and was screaming at the TV at the utter mendacity of not understanding the parliamentary purpose of a "present" vote or the insanity of praising governors for not voting -- executive ain't legislative, Rudy, you bozo. This from a guy who located the city disaster center in a location that was bombed once just so he and Judy could have a fuck-pad within walking distance of the Mayor's office. From a guy who killed hundreds of firefighters because he didn't think adequate radio communication was important.

Posted by: zeno2vonnegut on September 4, 2008 11:47 AM

I'm afraid mendacity is basic to all modern democracies, Western style.

In our cultures, what you are has long ceased to be of any importance. What counts is what you make yourself appear to be by the media.

Posted by: Peter on September 4, 2008 12:36 PM

PS: And, I can tell you, all over the world peoples are afraid of another American government hearing voices and listening to advice from The Lord Above. Like to invade Godless Iraq.

It's up to you, folks. And, being German, if you choose McCain and his croonies, you'll have to carry the consequences. That's a lesson another (and better) America taught me and my generation.

Posted by: Peter on September 4, 2008 12:49 PM
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