Elephant Walk: The Hockey MILF & the Meatheads

Dw. Dunphy: Yes! I have been waiting for this all week: Palin Time! Do you think they’ll do the Dead Parrot sketch? Maybe even … the Cheese Shop?! I can’t wait for — What? No, please! You can’t do this to me! I have so little to look forward to! This is the only thing that got me through the week! I spent the entire evening digging out my Knights Of Ni helmet!

Fine. You win. But the Alaska chick better be hilarious.

Levi -- baby daddy, 'f---in' redneck'Jon Cummings: Well, the lead-up today has been pretty darn amusing. First there was the saga of Levi, the baby daddy, and his vulgar MySpace page that concluded that he was “in a relationship” but “I don’t want kids.” Then there was the leak of an off-mic conversation between Chuck Todd and Peggy Noonan in which she admitted Palin wasn’t “the most qualified” candidate and said of her selection, “I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives … Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at, they blow it … It’s over.”

Ted Asredagoo: According to my brother in-law, who lives in Alaska, Palin will be an albatross around McCain’s neck. This so-called maverick who brought home the pork to Wasilla, who was in favor of the “Bridge to Nowhere” until she was against it, who is anti-choice except when it’s her own teenage daughter who’s “with child,” and who is allegedly using the power of her office to punish her former brother in-law because, well, he’s divorcing Palin’s sister.

Mitt Romney moves (though his hair doesn’t) onstage, and quickly launches into a tirade about “liberal Washington”…

Dw.: Romney is painting eight years of George W. Bush as “liberal Washington.”

Jon: I know this guy wears magic underwear, but he’s truly delusional. Yeah, Mitt, the Supreme Court’s really “liberal.” (Well, it is if torture is your idea of good conservative values, which Mitt clearly does.) Teaching to the lowest-common-denominator test under No Child Left Behind is “liberal.” The slightest hint of regulation of oil speculators is “liberal.” Well, douchebag, if “liberal” is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

Dw.: America — more awesome than Atlantis in every way. “America — the hope of the earth!”

Jon: So the solution to all the problems created by the Bush years is to pursue…the policies of the Bush years!

Dw.: Oh, Mitt, you big, dumb baseball glove. Go get yourself a couple extra wives.

Between speeches, GOP protesters flank the MSNBC outdoor newsdesk. One reads “MSNNBC=DNCTV.”

Jon: Republican protesters are too stupid to spell correctly.

More speeches … Huckabee, Linda Lingle (?) …

The beauty queen and the governorDw.: These speakers tonight are really kinda stupid. They’re saying “Washington is broken,” but the floor is full of supporters of George Bush. They don’t think it’s broken at all, and the polite silence at those statements bears that out.

Jon: Well, Republicans only come to life when they’re on the attack, when they’re being negative — primarily because they have no issues to cheer, and because they don’t really want government to do much of anything. So when a guy like Huckabee comes up, a good man and an actual good Christian, he gets nothing more than tepid applause.

Dw.: Folks, I say this with snark-free honesty and fear: No matter how badly Dubya has done, his supporters are still with him 100%. Does that frighten you? Well, if it didn’t, this will: Rudy’s on.

Rudy Giuliani emerges, smug and loaded for bear…

Dw.: You’re chomping at the bit, Rudy, so go ahead — free yourself of the burden. Bash the media some more. Because the media does all the voting, apparently.

Jon: Rudy mentions that Obama was a community organizer, and Republicans laugh. That, right there, shows you how out of touch these crackers are.

Dw.: What’s that they’re chanting in the crowd? I want to know what they’re saying! I’m dead serious here. Were they attempting to drown something out?

Jon: I’m not completely sure, but I think they’re chanting “zero, zero.” As in zero experience? As in, Giuliani has zero credibility or honor? Or as in, these Republican delegates have nothing between their ears? … Oh, now Giuliani’s dissembling about Obama voting “present” in the Illinois legislature. The facts about the protocol of voting “present” in that legislature are readily available here and here, but as Obama said recently, these Republicans seem to pride themselves on their ignorance.

Dw.: “Drill baby, drill!” shouts the audience, and now we see what this is all about. It’s not about electing a president. It’s about a crude fetish — pun intended.

Jon: Keep it up, Nuremburgers! This kind of mean-spirited chanting may be cathartic as you rip the sinew of your red meat in Minneapolis, but it will help lose you an election in November. Just ask Poppy Bush.

Sorry, I’m done with Rudy. Hitting the fast-forward button on the TiVo … now.

When the TiVo grinds to a halt, Sarah Palin is onstage…

Dw.: A four-minute standing ovation. Did you expect anything less?

Jon: When you’re hot, you’re hot. (Jerry Reed’s dead!) And Sarah’s smokin’.

Dw.: She’s got an aw-shucks thing going, and the crowd is eating it up. She’s talking up the kids, the husband … She brought up a commitment to special-needs kids, so give her points for that. “The difference between hockey moms and pitbulls: lipstick.” Memorable! But we still haven’t gotten into the guts of policy.

Jon: Omigod. When Sarah tells her story, I like her. I really like her! And not in a Sally Field way, either.

Dw.: But now she’s doing a “liberal media” dig. This speech is supposed to reframe her as a hometown girl who’s also experienced … I can’t tell if it’s really going over, or the audience is just filling in the gaps.

Palin says, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities” …

Jon: “Actual responsibilities.” Joe Klein reported tonight that among the “responsibilities” Palin took upon herself was the attempt to ban a number of books from the Wassila Public Library.

Ted: Palin says being a mayor is about leadership, while community organizing (one can infer from her logic) has nothing to do with leadership. I suppose that, while cramming to pronounce geographic locations like “Caucasus” and the “Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia,” she never bothered to find out what community organizers actually do.

Hint hint, Sarah: They work with people — you know, those hard-working people you praise from the Midwest who have been downsized, union-busted, and sometimes live in polluted environments. Community organizers get them to, as you put it, “challenge the status quo, serve the common good, and leave the nation better than [they] found it.” Helping the truly disadvantaged get organized to take control of their communities — what do you call a person who does that, Sarah? Oh, yeah: an elitist who’s “on a journey of self-discovery.”

Jon: This Sarah Palin, I don’t like so much. All of a sudden she sounds distinctly like she’s clinging bitterly – and sarcastically, and condescendingly – to her guns and religion. For a minute there, I thought she was going to do something different. But then she settled for being a typical Republican politician, the type that routinely resorts to abject mockery and bullying of opponents in a way that is truly tasteless and hateful. And the sheep in that audience tonight are lapping up that hatred, and they’ll carry it out of the hall into the country with them.

Dw.: Here we go again. Palin’s equation: Energy independence = drilling.

Jon: Drill, baby, drill!

Dw.: You need to cycle away from the subject of oil, Sarah. The President and Vice President are listening.

Jon: Did you say something about Sarah’s cycles? You sexist liberal creep!

Dw.: She says the solutions to our energy problems must engage “American ingenuity, American resources and American workers.” But hasn’t our ability to engage those things been outsourced to China?

I’m dismayed, but not surprised, that she and these other folks insist that offshore drilling is the cornerstone of energy independence. Sure, there have been occasional bones thrown to alternate fuels, but they’re just tokens. The “straight talk” is that the GOP is still addicted to the bubblin’ crude, and if that’s who you vote for, that’s what you’re gonna get.

Jon: Well, at least energy is one subject about which she thinks she knows something – even if she’s completely wrong and pandering pathetically. When you get past how charming she is, how feisty, how down-to-earth, her speech has been almost entirely substance-free. When we wake up tomorrow the economy will still be in the toilet, we will still be in two wars Republicans have screwed up beyond all recognition, and McCain and Palin still will not have a single plan to do anything about either situation.

Palin wraps it up … and here comes the family portrait, eventually complete with great-grandpa McCain…

Dw.: Want to know the truth? I thought Palin came off as more affable than Joe Biden. They both gave basically the same sort of speech, but she has a lot of personality. I can already see the pundits loading up the praise for her feistiness, which is what her speech was meant to do. The press will eat it up like candy, in spite of how often they were vilified tonight.

Ted: Her speech was very good. She threw red meat to the hungry dogs, and they tore into those scraps like they hadn’t been fed in weeks. The base is energized now — the crowd wanted her to rip off Obama’s head and stick it on a pole, and she did it because she’s hungry.

However, she’ll have to temper her quest for power. When John McCain came onstage, she gave him a perfunctory hug and stood away from him. He looked a little lost at times, and she just abandoned him in order to savor the applause for what she knew was her gold-medal performance. But alas, you’ll have to accept the silver on this one, Sarah. What a sexist world we live in.

Dw.: The Republicans have screwed up the nation royally over the last eight years, yet they’re still asking us to “stick with the fighters” and deny power to the “elites.” Sadly, you can see the right-wing coalition forming around Palin much as it did around Bush. When he would screw up, they’d rush to his side and praise his humanness and down-to-earthiness. Already they’re building that protective phalanx around Palin, where every liability is recast as an asset. I fear the undecided voters will buy the code…again.

Ted: A relative of mine used to hurl gay jokes at the dinner table, in the living room, and, well, anytime the spirit moved him. But once his daughters came out of the closet, he was the most tolerant and respectful person when it came to lesbians, and never uttered a gay joke in public again. Something similar is happening to the Republicans in the last 24 hours — but instead of tolerance for lesbians, it’s the charge of sexism that we’re hearing over and over.

That protective phalanx you’re talking about has been constructed to shield Palin from the personal stuff that’s been brought to light over the weekend. Suddenly Republicans want to portray themselves as feminists, and liberals as sexists! But they haven’t embraced feminism because they believe it; they’ve embraced it because one of their own needs protecting.

Still, Palin has shown tonight that she’s not a woman who needs the Code of Chivalry to protect her. She is, as Keith Olbermann said, Tracy Flick from Election — that is to say, a Machiavellian girl who gravitates toward and feeds off power, and who won’t flinch to use that power for political gain.

Jon: Meanwhile, this entire convention – this entire political party – has been hiding behind the skirts of one man’s biography, as though McCain’s heroism alone should negate the Republicans’ disastrous failures of the last eight years. Well, now they’re hiding behind Palin’s skirts as well — never mind that she has absolutely nothing to say about the state of the country, nor any policy ideas whatsoever or any experience that would help her implement whatever ideas the advisors cook up.

I guess we’ll see Thursday night whether McCain himself has anything to offer. When was the last time a presidential nominee’s acceptance speech promised to be such an anticlimax? Oh, well … one more night of convention watching won’t kill us. Right, fellas? Right?