My apologies in advance for the length!
I have said since the day I heard that the 2004 Republican National Convention was going to be held in New York City, delayed until the end of August/beginning of September, that it was going to be a virtual 9/11 festival.
But after tonight, the first of four in this GOP superior dance, even I am amazed at how far over the line this performance went.
I am curious, has ANYTHING else happened in this country since 9/11/2001? Have there been any developments pertaining to the economy, jobs, taxes, etc.? Have we been frozen in the events of that day? Has everything else been just a dream?
After watching the parade of white males take the podium tonight (and if you think I am bashing them on not having any minorities on the podium, I have two words for you-Alan Keyes. What did you expect?) and listening to what they had to say, I am almost convinced that nothing else in this election matters other than how the President reacted to 9/11. Let's see, after making his way back to Washington in the late afternoon on 9/11, the President addressed the nation early that evening, then pledged all the support necessary to New York City. He was there, he met with the people working search and rescue, he spoke at a National Memorial Service, and about four weeks later, he authorized the bombing of Afghanistan.
Let's say that the 527 votes that determined Florida went the other way, and that Al Gore was President on 9/11. What would he have done? Well, first, obviously, he would have said that he was the original author of "My Pet Goat" and he would have taken credit for inventing terrorism. Then he would have proposed building a "lockbox" around New York City. Then he would have raised taxes(twice). Finally, instead of invading Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban, he would have invited them to become full members of the United Nations, so we could "work things out" there. Oh, and then he would raise taxes again (twice).
Honestly, is there anyone out there who believes that if anyone else had been President on 9/11, that his or her reaction up until the invasion of Afghanistan would have been any different? I would love to hear anyone not named Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter or Gingrich tell me why.
But I digress, let's take a look at what tonight's three main speakers had to say, shall we?
1. John McCain. Oh John. Why? Why? Why? I thought you were really different John, but it turns out you are like all the rest.
I'm serious about that. I had a lot of respect for John McCain, they way he has handled himself in the public eye since most of America came to know him around the race for the GOP nomination in 2000. Most clear thinking people believe that he was the victim of one of the ugliest attacks in recent political history. After he won the New Hampshire primary in 2000, McCain built a marginal lead in the polls leading up to the South Carolina primary. If McCain won SC, Bush's campaign would have been dead in the water. So Bush did two things: first, he made a much publicized appearance at Bob Jones University, which is an institution that practices racial discrimination but hides it under the thin veil of christianity. Second, he had his attack dogs vivisect McCain. Scores of phone calls were placed to voters in SC by people working for the Bush campaign. These calls were made to get voters opinion on just one question: "How do you feel about John McCain having a biracial child?" Did they mention that, by the way, McCain did not have biracial child? Of course not. Though the question was asked, no one really cared about the answer. McCain lost SC and he lost the nomination. He was no friend of Bush during the first three years of this administration. And he was tolerant of both parties, many times calling for rational thought and refusing to play partisan games.
Apparently, they are all friends now. Why, John McCain even made reference to a "disingenous filmmaker" tonight. The John McCain that I had grown to respect would have ignored Michael Moore, but he would have known that Moore is not all that relevant to intelligent voters.
I don't know what McCain is thinking. He is up for re-election to the Senate this year, but he doesn't need help from the GOP because he is well-liked in Arizona. That race will surely be no contest. Maybe he is gearing up for another shot at the presidency in 2008. Whether or not Bush is re-elected, the GOP nomination in 2008 will be up for grabs. McCain will be 70 by then, but perhaps he has decided that he still wants to be President, even after he has said in the past that he will not run again. What else could it be? Why would he suck up to the man that he should have the most contempt for? What does he possibly have to lose?
I am extremely disappointed in the man. He had me convinced that he was as close to a true independent thinker as we had anywhere in American politics. Sadly, he has proven me wrong during this last month.
2. Bernard Kerik. Recognize this name? I didn't recall who he was until I saw him on stage tonight. Kerik was the chief of the NYPD on 9/11. That, of course, makes him a political expert who is savy enough to appear at the convention and extoll the virtues of the President (and I am going to beat Michael Phelps in all the swimming events at the Beijing Olympics in 2008). Kerik was rich tonight. His best line was:
"As I think about his leadership, I think of the courage it took for our commander in chief to land on an airstrip in the dark of night, a world away, to be with our troops on Thanksgiving."
And carry around a fake turkey made of polystyrene on a tray, but that is another story. And who knew that you could land a plane at night? Kerik also compared Bush going to Baghdad to how he was there for New York in the aftermath of 9/11. He's right, if you concentrate on symbols. Who can forget GW standing on top of the rubble of the WTC, bullhorn in hand, letting the people of the world know that the terrorists responsible would soon be hearing from us? As much as I think he is not fit to be President, that was a "Presidential" moment.
And so is walking around a mess tent carrying a fake turkey after you flew halfway around the world. Hey, I've had jet lag, and let me tell you something, your strength disappears like that (I am snapping my fingers).
3. Rudy Giuliani. This man did a brilliant job as mayor of NYC after 9/11. I can remember listening to him speak, when he said that the number of casualties where going to be "more than we can bear," and I could hear his heart breaking. He loves that city, and he was in total shock at what had occured, but the most important thing to him was convincing everyone that life would be normal again, and soon. He also went to about a million funerals (do ya think GW could take that hint and go to a soldier's funeral maybe?). He was a stud.
Sadly, he is now nothing but a GOP shill. Who knows what he is preparing for, a run for governor, Hillary's senate seat in 2006 or maybe even the GOP nomination in the 2008 presidential race. He is obviously getting ready for something. Why else would he be given the priviledge of being the last speaker on the first night of the convention? Here's some of what St. Rudolph had to say:
"President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is...John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision...President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts; and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often, even on important issues...President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York, John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence he'll pursue such a determined course."
I think it is pretty clear what this all means. If John Kerry is elected President, he'll fend off terrorists...with waffles. I only pray that we have enough syrup. I can see the battle fields of Vermont as I write this...
And by the way, should you doubt my powers of transcription, feel free to check out the article I have been taking this information from.
The irony in this is that John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are the last two people that most traditional conservatives would want on that platform. Both have serious disagreements with the core beliefs of the Republican platform. About the only person traditionalists would hate to see more up there is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who just happens to have a prime time speaking role Tuesday! Do you think he will be allowed to say anything about something else than 9/11?
Here's the deal: the GOP is tap dancing on the memory of the almost 3000 people who died on 9/11. They think that if they parade some of the featured players from that day out on stage, we will all soil ourselves with fear that unless Bush is President that it will happen again. They know that is all they have to run on. If this election were about the economy, George would be facing the same fate as his father, one and done. Don't let the door to the Oval Office hit you on the way out.
Here's a thought, what about the 30,000 people (mostly minorities) who have been killed by firearms since 9/11? Or the people who have lost their jobs since then (Bush faces the real possibility of being the only President to have a net loss of jobs during a four year term), or the 40 million (40 FREAKING MILLION) people who have no health insurance?
Can you do a little dance for them? A little soft shoe for the issues and problems facing us in present time?
You've got such a big stage. And so many worthy performers.