Monday, August 30

The Elephant and Pony Show

Y'know, it's really easy for me to sit out here and throw back at the GOP the same stuff they hurled at us about our convention: It's staged. It's hype. It's an infomercial.

Don't get me wrong. It's staged. It's really, REALLY staged. It's almost an overdose of staged. So tightly staged that the delegates don't know where to cheer.

And the hyperbole is overwhelming. The faux reporters on the floor and "in the field" are the definition of hype - all of whom are shrieking with enthusiasm and awe at the overflow of love they're witnessing.

I could easily knock the entertainment (it was nice of Darryl Worley to get dressed for this distinguished event with his three-day beard and clean t-shirt - and his band who almost looked they were called in last minute). But they're the artists of the right, and they're singing to the base.

The fact is, there are people who believe all this, just as we believed in our convention. So I'm not adverse to letting them have their party.

Trouble is, it looks like anything BUT a party. At the DNC, we saw real emotion. Real energy. Real enthusiasm. Here, we see a lot of looking around. A lot of milling about. A lot of bumping into each other. Only the uniformed Texas delegation (all in their denim shirts and white cowboy hats) are showing any outward emotion. CSPAN seems to be fixed on them, since the rest of MSG seems kind of...there. When Lindsey Graham shouted, "Are ya ready to WIN?" the crowd almost replied with a resounding "I guess."

The delegates are so...well behaved. They're almost kinda glad to see John McCain - but despite the "RNC reporters" excitement, they're not really heaping on the love. In short, if they're depending on the crowd to "sell" this convention, they're off to a rocky start.

It might be because they've been inundated all day and night with 9/11. Being in NYC and being reminded of that day relentlessly along with the band playing "Good Times" during the downtime is a sobering combination. Early on, it looks like the Big Apple Gambit might be having a backlash.

An aside: Now Michael Moore is basking in the delegates' reaction at his mention by McCain as a "disingenuous filmmaker" - the loudest this crowd has been all damned day! Nice to use the primetime slot to put Michael Moore in the spotlight during the GOP party. Oops.

Much to McCain's credit, he's not throwing red meat at the crowd by taking any shots at Kerry. But earlier, Ron Silver turned blue in the face and still couldn't get them above a murmur.

Oh, God, they brought out Deena Burnett. If we had any question as to whether or not they'd politicize 9/11, all doubt is erased. The question from all this remains: Will all this reminding of 9/11 keep alive the fact that Bush has basically botched homeland security and went to war against the wrong bad guy?

They've done it. They've officially made 9/11 the centerpiece of this convention in the short time that I've been writing this piece. If this is all they have to fire up this crowd - and it did - the hard cold fact remains: there's a big fat festering poverty-stricken populace outside of Madison Square Garden, thanks in no small part to the money Bush and his USA Corporation threw at Iraq and the rich when they should have eradicated al Qaeda, which now continues to grow.

When the Republicans leave New York Thursday night, they're still going to have to deal with those other sobering truths.