THE BLOG
09/02/2008 08:04 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Livefearing the GOP Convention -- Day 1.5

All right, all right. I ignored it long enough but I'm too much of a political junkie to do it forever. I just symbolically bit down on a .357 magnum round, poured myself a glass of Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, and I am now liveblogging the coverage.

7:45 p.m.: House Minority Leader John Boehner claims that the Dems, having gained the majority in 2006, did not "learn the lessons" of what the voters told politicians in that election, though Republicans did. I know, I know ... it doesn't make any sense to me either.

7:53 p.m.: Former Sen. George Allen refers to Palin as "a reformer and a maverick." I patiently await her standing in the polls dropping by at least 10 points. (Note: This raises an important question: Who can journalists turn to in the GOP crowd to give positive reviews of the GOP ticket without hurting the GOP ticket?)

8 p.m.: The RNC airs a video that begins with slow-panning shots of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- UNIRONICALLY. Oh God. Sweet Jesus. It just showed Rosa Parks. The crowd screams loudest upon seeing the wreckage of the World Trade Center. No one should have to see this crap. What sort of degenerate mind thinks this up, after the last 8 years of wholesale constitution-raping and civil-rights abusing?

8:03 p.m.: Jo Ann Davidson, RNC co-chair, on now. Mostly forgettable. The speech takes on a whole quasi-feminist bent. Davidson references a couple of early Wyoming female delegates in 1892, not offering that the only reason they were there was a bad attempt to get women to show up in the frontier. Look, ladies! You can actually vote in our state! Come on out! Davidson likely mentions this because she was, in fact, one of those delegates.

8:08 p.m.: Norm Coleman speechifies. I pour my second drink and rumenate on the possibilities of a Sen. Al Franken. Coleman mentions that St. Paul was called "Pig's Eye" until a Catholic priests established a church dedicated to St. Paul. I ponder what the Twin Cities would be like if only the name had stuck.

8:11 p.m.: Coleman tells the first Obama joke of the convention. It doesn't bear repeating. Not because I'm an Obama fan, but because it wasn't funny. Then he tells a warm, fuzzy tale about Thomas Jefferson, the first Democratic president.

8:16 p.m.: Small child who won an essay contest on "What Does the American Flag Mean to You?" speaks.

8:16:10 p.m.: Smoke break.

8:22 p.m.: Back. Hey, true story -- when I was in 5th grade, I won an essay contest entitled "What Does the Constitution Mean to Me?" But, hey, these are Republicans -- the flag means way more than the Constitution ever could.

8:23 p.m.: Not sure who's speaking, but he's throwing out Bible verses. Crowd shots of everyone bowing their heads. Mind you, I did my 10 years of Catholic school. I'm not diametrically opposed to religious belief informing politics -- since then, I've become a far less religious person, but I understand the good that the institution can do. But I'm always a little wary of using God for partisan political purposes, and this sure sounds like that.

8:25 p.m.: Teenager Ashley Gunn speaks to the convention. She sounds like a cool lady. She started an organization to move poor people into homeownership. She doesn't discuss the fact that charity alone cannot move all people who need homes into ownership, but hey, she doesn't have to. She's doing the best she can with what she has.

8:33 p.m.: Michele Bachmann comes out and says that Minnesota has a "lot of liberals, but they're happy liberals!" The crowd rumbles. A few mixed boos. The idea of happy liberals does not sit well with these folks.

8:36 p.m.: Bachmann: "Some presidential nominees know more about service than others." I agree -- the way Barack Obama gave up high-paying jobs to work in the poorest sections of Chicago is really touching.

8:37 p.m.: Bachmann claims that McCain has bolstered reasons for young people to join the military -- despite the fact that McCain opposed the new GI Bill. Then she says that government is not a charity, or the church. That's certainly true -- government is much more able to provide for its people than either charity or the church.

8:39 p.m.: Some guy and his daughter come out. Don't care. Flip to FOX News. Bill O'Reilly is in Minnesota, talking about a little white girl who was murdered in Florida .... um... seriously?

8:41 p.m.: Now he's on some sort of criticism-of-Palin-is-sexist slant. I recall the man's ratings and fight off a brain hemorrahage. He asks the women on the show, "Hey, ladies ..." I change the channel.

8:44 p.m.: Jesus, Bill O'Reilly is such a tool.

8:46 p.m.: On MSNBC, Tom Brokaw is throwing out the new legitimacy of Teddy Roosevelt as a Republican figure. Given current environmental policies, I giggle slightly before flipping back to C-SPAN.

8:48 p.m.: No wonder Brokaw was gabbing about TR -- the GOP is showing a video of the man. Where would he be today? Given the fact that he left the Republican Party back then and ran on the Bull Moose ticket, what would he have to say about the robber barons of today? I can almost feel the man spinning in his grave.

8:49 p.m.: Christian singer-songwriter Rachel Lampa (identified only as "singer-songwriter," something that might fool political journalists who have done that their whole lives, but not this former music writer) takes the mike.

8:49:10 p.m.: Smoke break.

9:07 p.m.: Gorgeous firefighter captain Shanna Hanson describes the horror of the bridge collapse in Minnesota. Cut to Bush Sr. and Barbara, who are inexplicably laughing. How long, Oh Lord, how long?

9:12 p.m.: Another video of the Republican Party that was, this time on Lincoln -- once again, a Republican president who left the party and ran on a different ticket. A fact the GOP will never discuss -- in 1864, Lincoln ran on the National Union ticket. Back then in 1864, the Republicans were too extreme for him. They did not comply to his begging that we all acquiesce to the better angels of our nature.

9:17 p.m.: Tommy Espinoza, President and CEO of the Raza Development Fund and godson to McCain's son, claims that no man can survive a prison camp without faith. Um ... really? Because one of the first casualties of the Nazi extermination camps was faith in God. To this day, that has had a deep effect on the Jewish diaspora, one that I have seen through the wonderful people I have met through my wife. People who, while they may not beleive in a higher power, never once had their faith in humanity shaken. So, um, screw you, Espinoza.

9:20 p.m.: Rollicking video on George H.W. Bush's service in WWII. I have nothing bad to say. Back then, dude was a stud. But that was before he became CIA director, then led the Iran-Contra scandal and sold arms to the same people who murdered a couple hundred marines in Lebanon. So, screw you even harder than Espinoza.

9:24 p.m.: UPS Pilot Bill Gross of Cleveland, N.D., discusses horrorshow stories of farmers who would be destroyed were it not for Farm Shelter, a nonprofit organization he founded. Of course, this ignores the fact that universal healthcare with a real social safety net would make such a charity unnecessary. But, hey, God bless him for the work he does. Hopefully, once we get a new Democratic president, his organization won't be necessary. (Also at this time, I pour drink number four.)

9:29 p.m.: Captain Leslie Smith, who was deployed as a public affairs officer in Bosnia, describes her horrorshow story. She ignores the fact that McCain has voted against veteran's care so, so many times. It's weird to have an admitted PsyOps officer talking up John McCain. I mean, really, what else is there to say? She has an awful, heart-rending story -- she lost a leg and an eye, for God's sake. But she still stands up there proudly and stands by the man who has, if you will pardon the mean expression, shit-canned every single veteran's benefit bill to come down the pike. I can honestly say, I do not understand. And as a journalist, I truly want to understand.

9:36 p.m.: Video about Mike Monsoor, who gained the Medal of Honor for falling on a grenade to save his buddies. rarely have I seen a soldier's death so baselessly used for political purposes. If there was at least a letter or a video showing support of John McCain, that would be something, but this ... this is something just terrible. Just soul-crushing to see. And so they bring out his family to make it an endorsement-by-proxy. I feel a little sick, and I know it's not the whiskey.

9:43 p.m.: Smoke break. Gotta get one in before The Man Himself takes the stage.

9:52 p.m.: One cannot be surprised that Laura Bush is sent out to do the dirty work. It has, after all, been her solemn duty ever since her husband's poll numbers went so far south that they're hovering just barely north of cancer. Switching from C-SPAN to MSNBC.

9:53 p.m.: Gotta give Bush credit. When he says "The next president of the United States, John McCain," he sounds like he really means it. But then he gets into the usual Bushisms. He has "stood at the resolute desk" and "If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain's resolve, you can be assured the angry left never will." Equating Democrats with commie torturers is a neat trick.

9:58 p.m.: It's applause line after applause line. From a purely Republican standpoint, it's actually a solid speech. But, of course, that's what Bush has always done. And as the Republican base grows smaller and smaller, that applause has seemed weaker and weaker. It may seem loud in this room, which several news anchors have juxtaposed with the Democratic meeting place in Denver as surprisingly small, but looked at with the far away eyes of a man outside the system, it is the crying of a dwindling group, more insignificant with each passing day. I used to have far more loathing for this man than I do now. At this moment, on a pure political level, I feel little more than pity.

10:05 p.m.: Tribute to Ronald Reagan, the greatest example of a man manipulating the Republican masses the country has ever seen. And that tradition does not fail now. Brilliant for the room, but how does it play now? I think a lot of the Republican Party has forgotten the fact that the youngest people to vote in the election this year were born in 1990. The cult of personaility will have less and less effect as years go on. And in the long-term historian analysis, he will have to actually stand next to the rest of the men on these videos. Men like Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, who realized that the radical Republicans of their own ages were no longer conducive to a true American dialogue. And when that true history is written, when we have slipped past the yammering of immediacy, we will realize the stature of Reagan in the grand scheme, and it will be far lesser than the Republicans could hope.

10:10 p.m.: Fred Thompson comes out and talks about how great the country is, no matter all these people that want to claim "we're in the middle of a Great Depression." He apparently doesn't believe that. Of course, those Law & Order checks and the senatorial retirement checks must surely keep him warm at night.

10:16 p.m.: [He] wasn't a troublemaker, he was the leader of the troublemakers." -- Fred Thompson.

Woooooo! John McCain boozes better then all them other Navy boys! Wooooooo!!!!!

(Crack fifth drink, but switch from Irish whiskey to Miller Lite.)

10:20 p.m.: Fred Thompson says that if you want to know John McCain you should look at the people serving today. Yeah. I know a lot of them. I have family members in the military. I have many friends who have been in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and some who will soon return. Precious few of them actually like the fact that Republicans have sent them to Iraq. In fact, most of them believe the words of Pat Tillman, who believed in the war in Afghanistan but took one look at Iraq and said, "This war is so illegal." And trying to take those men, trying to take what happened in Vietnam, trying to take all those stories and trasnfer them to what is happening now in the Middle East is exactly what I would assume would happen when you unleash Fred Thompson -- a man who, by profession, specializes in B.S. -- and ask him to speak at a convention. Christ, how awful. How long will they milk our veterans for votes? How long will I actually have to deal with seeing them pull votes from our war dead?

10:30 p.m: Fred Thompson takes on the Democrats in a bulldog fashion, mainly because he has nothing to lose. I mean, when you're an actor who has vague attempts at politics, you have two choices in the Republican Party -- either talk a lot of junk about the Democrats, or run for president. Hey, it worked for Reagan! And Thompson's ideas about how the economy works reflect the economic understanding of a 2-year-old kid (natch, the crowd at the RNC cheers). How far, really, can the American worker be screwed before he stands aside and thinks that maybe, just maybe, it's the Republicans doing the screwing?

10:38 p.m.: The crowd goes wild over Thompson's speech. Not unexpected. He did deliver a great speech for the crowd he had. And now, here's Joe. ...

10:39 p.m.: ...

10:40 p.m.: ... I'm sorry, I can't get past the jowls. Hey, remember when this guy was vaguely interesting? Remember when his calls for bipartisanship were even half-way heartfelt? You know, back in 2003 or so?

10:41 p.m.: Yes, Joe, they "see Democrats and Republicans fighting each other" because Democrats recognize that this country will be destroyed under Republican rule. Unfortunately, unlike the 60-percent or more Americans who recognize that George Bush's presidency has been a horrorshow that has made decent people weep, you haven't seen it. You believe in everything the Democrats stand for, except for this war. You believe in everything the Democrats stand for, except for bombing the living hell out of a random country, and killing off thousands of American soldiers. You beleive in everything the Democrats stand for, except the absolute best thing they stand for. I don't even know what to say to Joe. I truly understand Republicans -- I find it easy to walk a mile in the other guy's shoes, and so figure out how they think -- but I don't understand joe. I'll never understand Joe. More so than anyone else who has spoken tonight, even the president himself, Joe Lieberman is a terrible human being. Because he knows what we shoulod be doing, but he just doesn't care. He wants his war, he wants his horror, and he will be god-damned if the Democrats stop him. I will never understand Joe Lieberman. Never.

10:47 p.m.: Smoke break. I can't listen to this guy anymore. I am Michael Corleone to his Fredo. He breaks my heart.

10:57 p.m.: Lieberman calls for Democrats to vote McCain. But there is zero reason for Democrats to buy that. Lieberman says that Democrats may not believe in everything McCain stands for, but they can count on McCain to get things done. .... but if McCain stands for everything that you are against -- if you know that McCain stands against veterans benefits, a decent social safety net, an America that means something more than a playground for the wealthy -- why would you vote for his getting things done? It makes no sense! And, with that, I will watch the reactions to the speech on all three cable channels. I invite you to watch them all too -- yes, even Fox News -- and realize that, truly, Joe Lieberman carries no power. In fact, he carries nothing but water for the powers that be. Good luck, good night, etc.