July 29, 2004

Lileks. Lileks. Lileks.

Make sure you really go read it, too. But here's a taste:

Let me be the first to say this about Kerry’s speech: I liked it better in the original French. This of course is a predictable twist on the remark about Buchanan’s stemwinder in ’92, famously described by some wag as sounding better in the original German. Hugh has been talking a lot this week about the Michael Moore factor at the convention, and whether his . . . peculiar remarks taint the party. Probably not. It won’t get reported in the dino media. If Pat Buchanan had said the Democrats woke up at 11 AM every day and tried to figure out how to screw white people today, I think that would get press. Moore says the Republicans wake at six and figure out how to screw minorities, and it’s ha ha colorful commentary from the merry prankster, and besides, Ann Coulter said some awful things, and besides, Pat Buchanan was a politician who actually got votes in the GOP primaries.

The last point is true, and relevant; it was made by a Democrat guest on Hewitt’s show. But it shows how things have changed. What makes a greater impact – getting some old flinty cranks in Vermont to pull the lever for you, or putting out a movie in every multiplex that practically accuses Bush of supplying box cutters to the 9/11 hijackers? Moore is a new-media politician, and just because he doesn’t stand for office doesn’t mean he’s not as much of a political operative as the people who prowl the hustings and grimace their way through a New England flap-jack photo-op. And spare me the Ann Coulter parallels. The day Ann Coulter shows up in the presidential box with a former POTUS, like Moore showed up with Jimmy Carter, we can talk.

I was at both conventions in 1992, and the GOP version was a dispirited affair. Clinton had sparkle, the big mo, and a foundering economy to hammer; Bush was your father’s Oldsmobile. “Change” was the mantra. After 12 years we needed “Change,” whatever that might be, and the sax-blowin’ shades-wearin’ hubba-double-Bubba ticket had a fresh cachet the Bush team could not match. The Buchanan speech was a disaster – and not just for its effect on the swingers. I remember sitting in a bar the night of the speech with a portly squat guy covered in GOP buttons, listening to his lament. “This isn’t my party,” he said. “Okay maybe he has a point here, or another point there, but that speech – that’s not my party.”

If Moore introduced Kerry and gave a typical speech – “The Republicans have hate for breakfast!” – how many delegates would later lament that their party had become something they no longer recognized? Don’t know. Just asking. But I do know that the 96 convention had a different attitude towards the nominees than I sense from the 04 DNC convention. Bush 41 never really fired up the troops. But in 96 people liked Dole. They knew in their bones he was going to crater, and they knew that the Dole on the stump was a dull version of the real thing. Bob Dole was smart, peppery, funny as hell (really) and lacking in that ponderous self-importance that settles into a Senator’s heart. He was really a good guy. And he was going to lose. Ah well.

I don’t sense the same affection for Kerry. I also don’t think it matters. Right now I have a browser window open to Fark, and a T-shirt ad shows Bush’s face with the logo “American Psycho.” What else do you need to know? As Teddy Kennedy said in his convention speech: “The only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush.” It’s really quite simple, isn’t it? We live in a manufactured climate of fear ginned up by war-crazed neocon overlords. There is no threat. The only thing we have to fear is Bush, who sits as we speak in the Oval Office sucking the marrow from Whoopi’s shin-bones.

If so, I wonder why anyone agreed to the stringent security policies that characterize this year’s conventions. Why the bomb-sniffing dogs? Why the snipers? Why the metal detectors, the invasive inspection of bags? Is it all an elaborate defense against Bush crashing the party and setting off a bomb belt, shouting God is Great, y’all!

No, they’re fearful of something else.

Damned if I know what, though. Damned if I know.

I really must make that man's blog a daily stop. He's such a damned good writer. Also, if I suck up to him enough he might get me onto the Hugh Hewitt show and I'll get famous; then this might turn into a steady job.

Posted by Attila at July 29, 2004 01:44 AM

It was even better on the radio.

Posted by: John at July 29, 2004 07:13 AM

I'll bet it was. I need to tune in to Blog Radio more often.

Posted by: Attila Girl at July 29, 2004 10:24 PM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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