Remember those glory days when the Republican National Convention was a huge drinking game called find the one black guy? Well, those days are over. Not because of a dramatic influx of people of color, but because Fox has a new marching order. Show lots of shots of women. Especially young women. It's a little creepy, and pretty darn obvious pandering.
Speaking of pandering, tonight is Sarah Palin's big chance to see how many times she can use the phrase "executive experience." As always, I'm watching Foxnews, so you don't have to. Buckle up, it's gonna be a long night…
6:01PM – We open with the traditional Alan Colmes joke about how unpopular he is in the hall. I believe that means 6 more weeks of winter…
6:03PM – Karl Rove and Colmes get in a little shouting match (Alan wore his big boy pants today!) and Rove extolls Palin's experience "standing up to the City Council."
6:04 – And here comes Sean: "The media has decided they are going to decide who the next president is this year." As opposed to most years, Sean.
6:06 – Mitt Romney gets the biggest ovation anyone named Mitt has ever received. I'm pretty convinced of that.
6:08 – Sean decides to ignore Romney's speech so he can remind us that the media has decided they want Barack Obama to be president. I wish the media would decide it faster, so we could stop hearing about it.
6:08 – With a straight face, after blasting the media, Hannity predicts "one of the highest rated political speeches in history." Not one of the best, but one of the highest rated. Hmm.
6:14 – An Obama spokesperson has this great exchange with Sean "I think even your viewers know that that man is Barack Obama." Sean, letting his legendary objectivity drop for a second, "No they don't."
6:17 – McCain's campaign adviser said earlier today that this campaign isn't about issues. I don't see that quote getting plastered all over everywhere. Darn that liberal media.
6:18 – Everytime Fox goes to commercial, we get crowd montages. Twice now they have shown someone who decided he looked a little like Abe Lincoln, and he should go for it. I bet he's gonna be proud of those pictures in a few years.
6:22 – Fox gives us 2 minutes of crowd shots of Republicans dancing. It's like a private high school dance. And, lots of shots of young women, no shots of the one black guy.
6:23 – Alan asks Norm Coleman what decisions Palin made as head of the Alaska National Guard. Question #34,879 not answered during these two conventions.
6:24 – Sean loves calling Obama a community organizer. In fact he is already over 5 uses of the term. However, Coleman messes it up, and refers to Obama as a community activist twice.
6:25 – Sean is shocked. Shocked I say. He has "never seen a campaign to destroy a candidate like this." At least since 2004.
6:28 – Huckabee takes the stage, and signals that this is not a kinder, gentler sort of night by calling the attacks on Sarah Palin "tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert." OOhhh. That's right, he went there.
6:29 – During Huckabee's nice words about how historic it is to have an African-American candidate for President, no matter what party, the crowd offers a textbook definition of the phrase "smattering of applause."
6:30 – Huckabee refers to Obama's "Excellent European adventure." And suggests that Barack was infected by those always dangerous "European ideas." Actual quote. "european ideas." Sheesh.
6:34 – Newt Gingrich predicts that half of Hillary supporters (apparently the blue collar ones) will move over to Palin's side.
6:37 – As Fox goes to commercial, I flip over to PBS and am immediately graced with not just one token black guy, but another in rapid succession. See, public broadcasting knows how to broadcast a convention!
6:39 – Huckabee tells a rambling story about an Arkansas teacher that wouldn't let her students have desks. Apparently, in a Robert Heinlein sort of twist, veterans were the only ones who really earned desks. Hmm, is this a bad time to mention that Bush is cutting the GI Bill?
6:40 – T. Boone Pickens shows up with Sean & Alan. He doesn't endorse either candidate, but does say that Barack came pretty close to saying what he wanted to hear last week. Sean reads him an excerpt of Palin's speech about energy. Pickens response leads to this classic: "Well, she forgot Natural Gas." Hannity: "Well, she's pretty close."
6:48 – Hannity says that a biased media has set out to destroy an honest woman.
6:49 – Ever the classy guy, Hannity mentions the electricity in the hall, and says "if you work for another network, you probably feel a cold tingly feeling running down your leg."
6:54 – Juan Williams gives the first good answer I have heard about the William Ayers questions. And, of course, Fox quickly interrupts him & cuts to commercial. Look, more young women!
6:57 – Cindy McCain scares me. I'm pretty sure she only has one facial expression.
6:59 – Finally, Sean throws it to Brit Hume. Sadly, Brit has a worse seat than Sean. Still, perhaps now some sanity (until Bill Kristol appears.)
7:01 – We go pretty much directly to Rudy, who gives an amazing speech. He rips into Obama. I note suring this speech that the crowd is out for blood. They lustily cheer any attacks.
7:06 – in a rhetorical tool stolen from Mike Huckabee, Rudy starts a rambling story about the candidates as job applicants, sort of drops it, and then goes back to it. It's a good thing he has some zingers in this script, because structurally this speech is a mess. And, the community organizer (drink!) crack leads to a 30 second laugh break.
7:07 – McCain hits Obama on his penchant for voting present in the State Legislature. "Yes or no was too tough" for Obama. "Present doesn't count in executive jobs."
7:09 – "For president, 'present' isn't good enough." Hmm, maybe not the tack to take, given the current occupant of Crawford. I mean the White House…
7:10 – McCain calls Obama the least qualified presidential candidate in "at least the last 100 years." C'mon, are you forgetting Alan Keyes? Or Paul Tsongas?
7:10 – the crowd chanting "zero" just seems so spontaneous. In fact, during the DNC, Fox made a point of talking about how the crowd is coached. So far, we haven't seen that story here.
7:12 – Pandering alert: Rudy brings up that magic 3AM call, and says "I bet you never thought Hillary would get cheered here!" I bet you never thought her votes mattered.
7:13 – I feel bad because Giuliani says something I really agree with. "Change is not a destination and hope is not a strategy." Ouch.
7:14 – It's almost always a bad idea to use the phrase "let's talk specifics" in a political speech, but Rudy goes the extra mile, and says it, and then talks about no specifics. He also suggests that McCain will "reduce government to strengthen the dollar." How exactly will that work?
7:14 – Mark it down. 7:14PM, I have seen one of the scariest sights of my life. A sustained, impassioned and slightly crazed chant of "drill, baby, drill." From thousands of rabid Republicans. Yikes! The chant goes on so long that Rudy can't stop it. I'm genuinely frightened by that.
7:16 – in a tremendous upset, Rudy takes more than ten minutes to mention 9/11. Shocking.
7:19 – An early contender for line of the night, talking about Obama's flip-flops: "If I'm Joe Biden, I get that VP thing in writing." Oh tag.
7:21 – Rudy trots out the UN to get the Nikolai Carpathian boo. I swear, they should put up a picture of Boutros-Boutros Ghali twirling a Snidely Whiplash mustache.
7:24 – Rudy is talking about the derision of Palin's small town. "Maybe they cling to religion there?" Huge crowd response. Although, Rudy isn't exactly the moral touchstone to be discussing small town values.
7:26 – Did anyone else get a little whiplash from how quickly the Republicans became radical feminists? Rudy tells us he is outraged that anyone would question if Palin would have time to be a mother. "When have they ever asked a man that question?" I wonder how the crowd feels about the ERA and equal pay?
7:29 – I'm a little surprised that we don't get a video introduction to Sarah Palin, instead she just comes right out after Rudy is done. As Palin basks in a response that could put Obama adoration to shame, Britt Hume implies that the applause for her might not stop. There's just no controlling the love this crowd feels for this woman.
7:33 – Has anyone else noticed the ressurection of McCain's middle initial? Well, Palin calls him John S. McCain a few times. Could this be foreshadowing for something?
7:37 – in introducing her baby, her husband waves the sleeping babies hand. That was cute.
7:40 – Aha! Now we get a comparison of McCain to Harry Truman. As an aside, I think Truman was a pretty bad president.
7:42 – Palin gets her first of many zingers in suggest that the job of small town mayor is like being a community organizer (drink!) except you have actual responsibilities.
7:48 – The governor of Alaska had a luxury jet? Man, do I live in the wrong state.
7:53 – Another "drill, baby, drill" chant, and this time Palin picks up on it. No less creepy the 2nd time. I guess if you have no problem shooting wolves from an airplane, you don't really mind destroying the mating grounds of caribou.
7:54 – Palin talks about "dramatic speechs to devoted followers." Euphemism alert!
7:56 – OK, I am biased (although, I think you all know I am no big fan of Obama or Biden) but even to me, this speech is just mean. I mean she is a very good speaker, and she is having a lot of fun up there, but the speech itself is just mean spirited and sort of off-putting to me. I'm sure saying that makes me sexist to Gloria Steinem's new best friend Sean Hannity.
7:57 – Palin gets a big cheer for mocking Obama's worry that "we aren't reading terrorists their rights." Ha, the Constitution, who needs it?
7:59 – Showing the skills needed to win, Palin just name checked every battle ground state in the space of a minute.
8:00 – The video board behind Palin (which has been static images all evening, usually an absurdly large American flag) keeps switchin images behind Palin. It honestly looks like a bad screen saver or something. Now it's a shot of Old Faithful (no, not Bob Dole, the geyser. Speaking of which, where is Bob Dole? Did he die and I didn't notice?)
8:10 As Palin's speech ends (again, I thought it was just too overt an attack piece. I thought it was far harsher than anything the Dems did..) McCain comes out for a round of awkward hugs with the Palin family. He has a mic, so let's get a quick hit from John S. McCain. Wait, that was it? He literally came out just to say "nice job" and then stand around awkwardly for several minutes. During that time, McCain made several weird shrugging gestures that seemed to indicate that he wasn't sure why they were still on the stage. Very strange.
8:14 – Britt brings in the panel, and they all fawn over the speech. Juan Williams is notably absent from the post game wrap up.
Every speech tonight was a pretty open attack on Obama, and the crowd just lapped it up. It really was a little scary. I just got a pretty mean spirited vibe from the whole evening that kind of turned me off. It wasn't about who Sarah Palin is, it was about the media elite and community organizer. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised, but I sort of am. Look, it was a good speech, don't get me wrong, but I think it's historical context was cheapened by it's shortsightedness. I am also a little shocked at the idea that supporters of Hillary will be going over in droves to a woman who is anti-abortion, and very religious conservative. I just don't see that happening.
Oh, and the final count was 13 "community organizers." Good job, Coleman, your screw up cost them 2 more.
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