Dw. Dunphy: I thought I’d start things off tonight with a joke: So … Judas, Benedict Arnold, and the dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark who gets the spikes through his face walk into a bar. They see Joe Lieberman, turn around and leave, saying, “Shit, they’ll let anyone in here these days” … Well, it ain’t funny, but it is original.

Ted Asregadoo: He’s here ’til Thursday, ladies and gentlemen!

Jon Cummings: Try the red meat! The Republicans are having a special.

9:40 p.m. EDT: Laura Bush emerges to introduce her absent hubby…

Dw.: Laura seems to be having trouble with the TelePrompTer.

Jon: Is our children learning?

Ted: I feel like taking a nap.

Jon: Get your ass up! If I can sit through this, you can.

Dw.: I speak for all of us when I say this is a sacrifice for the good readers of Popdose.

Jon: Here is Laura’s “straight talk” about the achievements of hubby’s administration: 1. No Child Left Behind (enacted with more help from Democrats than anyone else, never fully funded by Bush, too reliant on standardized tests, school districts nationwide despise it); 2. Supreme Court justices Alito & Roberts (selling the populace down the river to big business, ready to gut Roe v. Wade on a moment’s notice); 3. Faith-based initiatives (even the former director of the program says the Bushies were pandering, then disrespectful to church groups); 4. The African AIDS initiative (hard to argue with this funding, though the policy behind it reeks of Christian-right asininity – and Laura’s “before” statistic that only 50,000 Africans were receiving treatment in 2001 is a steaming pile of horseshit); 5. Afghanistan & Iraq “living in freedom” (millions of them might beg to differ – if you can hear the women’s muffled voices beneath their burkas); 6. Having “kept the American people safe” (hahahahahahaha).

And heeeeeeere’s Georgie…live via satellite…

Jon: This man is all hats and no cattle … Ooooh! He just dissed the “angry left”! That’s me, you guys, and – if the polls are to be believed – about 240 million other Americans.

Dw.: I’m getting what I expected – war hero, surge supporter, 9/11 flogging. Not terribly inspiring.

Jon: What FX wizardry! He’s there, but he’s not there. Sorta like his domestic policies these eight long years … and let’s look at the clock! 9:58 EDT … 9:59 … and he’s gone! Just in time to avoid any presence on the big three networks!

Well, you can run, President Shit-for-Brains, but you can’t hide: More people are watching these conventions on the news channels than on the networks. Thanks for reminding us what a strong supporter of yours John McCain has been.

A video presentation celebrates the most recent Republican president they’d like us to remember: Ronald Reagan…

Ted: God, talk about Daddy worship…

Dw.: This is to be expected. They’re really pushing hard to make McCain a Reagan Republican, aren’t they?

Ted: I like how they wove in the term “maverick” to connect Reagan with McCain.

Jon: Too bad the Reagans largely broke with McCain because of the shoddy way he treated his first wife, who was a friend of Nancy’s…

Ted: But all is forgiven … isn’t it? Please say St. Ronnie is smiling down on John tonight…

Dw.: What’s with the flippant voiceover?

Ted: Well, unfortunately, Don La Fontaine was booked this evening…

Dw.: “In a world where the living dead feast upon the bullcrap of the powers that be…”

Ted: I think this whole chat ought to be in LaFontaine’s voice.

Fred Thompson, a.k.a. the Cryptkeeper, emerges from the wings and begins to move his lips…

Ted: Fred Thompson! Yay! A celebrity came to St. Paul!

Dw.: I want to hear the audience chanting Die Hard Two! Die Hard Two! … This audience is so… so… uh…

Ted: I think they are having a hard time understanding him because he forgot to take the marbles out of his mouth.

Thompson enters into an impassioned depiction of McCain’s Navy and POW experience…

Dw.: Thompson’s really giving McCain the Passion of the Christ treatment, isn’t he?

Ted: Damn you Dunphy, you stole my thunder!

Dw.: Look, McCain’s service was never in question. But Vietnam McCain would not hang out with Washington McCain. Thompson’s rhetoric only illustrates that.

Jon: Fred just ripped the “pork-barreling ways of Washington” … hey, that sounds like fun!

Ted: That must be what happens on the “cocktail circuit” he was talking about a minute ago.

Dw.: Pass me some pigs in blankets. No, the jumbo-sized ones. Yeah, that’s the stuff … Hey, Fred: What did you say about McCain when you were running against him?

Ted: He said, “John is my friend, but on the issues that’ll get me elected, he’s my enemy.”

Jon: Actually, Thompson didn’t attack McCain much during the primaries – he was McCain’s 2000 co-chair, after all – but he did spout some opportunistic BS about McCain’s immigration stance, and a supporter of his paid for a Swift Boat-style ad questioning McCain’s standing among his fellow former POWs.

Dw.: God, , where is that Law and Order “donk-donk” sound to shut this guy up?

Thompson flings red meat on abortion, national security, taxes … and then, finally …

Dw.: Donk-donk.

Ted: I see some empty seats.

Jon: Apparently this hall seats about half as many people as the Democrats’ hall in Denver – the indoor hall.

Dw.: This crowd is just so … so… white.

Jon: I haven’t seen this many white people in one place since … the last GOP convention.

Dw.: Or a Klan rally. Oops, now I’m a dead man.

And with that, Joe Lieberman slinks onstage…

Jon: Fred Thompson just spent 15 minutes ridiculing practically everything Joe Lieberman believes in. What kind of pussy-whipped, self-loathing, moronic former Democrat then gets up onstage and says, “Yeah – what he said”?

Dw.: A winner, that’s who!

Ted: Lieberman … party of one.

Jon: That’s pretty much his standing reservation at the Senate dining room … I’d love to eviscerate that little fucker.

Ted: How many delegates are going for beer right now?

Dw.: It’s like when a band plays “the new song” … time to go pee.

Ted: “I just want to thank all the Republicans in the house right now for the anal pounding you gave me in 2000.”

Jon: “You might remember me by the nickname you chose for me … ‘Loserman.'”

Dw.: Al Gore should whup his ass.

Ted: “I would like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn … A bridge John McCain built!”

Dw.: Who is this guy again? Oh, right – a weasel looking to save his political life by jumping on any bandwagon dumb enough to have him.

Ted: Boy, these people are cheering just to keep themselves awake.

Lieberman says, “Never mind party unity … this is a time for national unity”…

Ted: National unity!

Jon: But only if McCain wins. Otherwise, it’s NUMA! And Republicans should feel free to resume being anti-government, gun- and bottled-water-hoarding lunatics.

An anti-Obama chant rises from the gallery …

Jon: Oh, please, let the angry white boys of the Republican Party start up with the bullying chants from the convention floor, just like in ’92. That went so well for Poppy Bush! Bunch of thugs…

And … scene.

Ted: Oh, thank God it’s over.

Dw.: So, let’s review the evening’s themes. America: Good. Rest of world: Bad. McCain: A hero who got tortured. Palin: Can skin a moose.

Jon: That’s “field-dress a moose” to you.

Dw.: The Republicans, ready to face the challenge of matching an electrifying Democratic Convention, wow us with the same old crap! God bless America!

The Florida delegation get their Tommy Bahama onTed: The twilight of Republican dominance was very evident tonight. Unless things change dramatically with Palin’s speech Wednesday and McCain’s Thursday, it’s clear the Republicans are struggling to figure out the political terrain. Lower taxes, opposition to abortion, and a strong military were the biggest applause lines tonight, and while those issues are no doubt important to die-hard Republicans, it’s less clear whether they are important to voters in the general election. The old Karl Rove triumvirate of “God, Guns, and Gays” may not work the same magic this time.

Jon: Well, Fred Thompson tried to keep those social-conservative balls in the air tonight, and offered up the evening’s only prime-time red meat. It was pretty tame compared to past years, even if Pat Buchanan called his speech a “barnburner” – it might have been a barnburner for the pacemaker set, but Pat used to breathe more fire on a random Wednesday afternoon than Thompson did tonight. Lieberman’s speech did nothing to quicken the pulse, either. Who, exactly, is this man’s constituency anymore?

By this point last week, Michelle Obama had spun an exquisite web of family and achievement, leaving the nation enraptured, and Hillary Clinton had torn the Republicans a new a-hole while stitching her own party together. Tonight we saw a bunch of old white guys talk up an even older white guy. All eyes Wednesday morning will be on the overnight ratings, to see if anybody was even paying attention to this geezer squad. But then, Wednesday night — Start your MILF monitors, gentlemen: It’s Palin time!