Tuesday, August 31

Jeremy Dauber's Top Ten Surprises of Last Night's RNC

1. Seeing, after all the "mission accomplished" brouhaha, President Bush on an aircraft carrier. But there he was - President George Herbert Walker Bush, that is, speaking earlier that day on the USS Intrepid. Sure, it seems like a slam dunk - a tribute to America's veterans - but they couldn't have held it at West Point?

2. A defense of the Patriot Act on the convention floor during prime time, with an incredibly earnest former assistant US attorney explaining in detail how some of its criticisms were wrong. Reminding viewers in detail that the Patriot Act really, really doesn't pay attention to what you check out of the library is creepy as well as comforting.

3. During the veterans video, a "reporter" (who, charmingly, had a microphone that said RNC on it), asked a retired soldier if he thought it was important for young people to know what veterans did, possibly the most obvious question in the history of journalism.

4. Michael Moore, somehow in the Garden (you would have thought all the guards would have his picture), happily acknowledging the crowd's boos when John McCain referred to him as a "disingenuous filmmaker" - twice. This was the one time the crowd genuinely got riled up.

5. The first President Bush being introduced to the crowd to a Muzak version of Van Halen's "Jump"; I suppose it was appropriate to someone who celebrates major birthdays by skydiving, but still...

6. Delegates who were wearing Band-Aids, mocking the Kerry injuries that earned him his Purple Hearts. The campaign said they didn't know anything about it, and if you believe that, I've got a swift boat to sell you.

7. Denny Hastert, who, after a strained reference to the DNC as a "Boston Tax Party," attacked Kerry by saying that "this is not the time to pick a leader who is weak on the war and wrong on taxes," begging the question as to when he believes the right time is to pick a weak warrior and a wrong taxer.

8. The tribute to Gerald Ford, which was so badly edited that you couldn't focus on anything the president was doing in the video. Given that the phrase "Ford legacy", to most people, would mean some kind of four-door sedan, though, that might have been the idea.

9. Ron Silver. I'm a fan, but, you know, a little more celebrity wattage before Arnold gets out there might be helpful.

10. Including, in the Broadway medley that opened the show, a selection from "Chicago," the musical about manipulating media bias for your own gain.