Jon: Well, so much for the â€œcivic dutyâ€ I believed would guilt the Popdose community into following the political conventions: Even my heretofore partner in blogging crime, Ted Asredagoo, abandoned our noble cause to catch a Waifs concert last night! (You know, Ted, Hootie & the Blowfish played a gig not five miles from my house on Tuesday night, but did I skip out on Hillaryâ€™s orange â€œtraveling pantsuitâ€ to catch them? Noooooooo! I thought to myself, Hill, I only wanna be with youâ€¦)
Before I introduce our guest analyst for the Bill & Biden show, allow me to note that, after two evenings dominated by women, the Democrats finally let the testosterone flow last night. As a result, there are no women to objectify â€“ except MSNBCâ€™s Norah Oâ€™Donnell, about whom I always have just one thing to say (even when sheâ€™s eight months pregnant): Hubba hubba. So, without further ado, our surprise curmudgeon: Dw. Dunphy!
Dw.: These Democrats sure can talk! Don’t they know I gotta work in the morning? Anyway, it’s my turn to hang out with Jon and the ‘Bots on the Satellite of Love. Dr. Forrester’s evil show for the evening: Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. I’ll make sure I have extra hamdingers at the ready.
Jon: WTF is a hamdinger?
(Editorâ€™s note: Jon, betraying a lack of pop-culture understanding that should get him banned from Popdose forever, apparently is unaware that hamdingers are deviled-ham patties that were sold by the block and often used for fish bait â€“ a fact that is common knowledge to fans of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, as hamdingers played a key role in episode 512 and made a brief appearance in episode 513.)
Jon: What a bunch of dweebs Iâ€™m working with here! (Hey! I just figured out what that pretentious â€œDw.â€ thing is all about.) Last night Ted blew 200 words on Vulcans, and now I have to deal with MST3K?
Dw.: I missed tonightâ€™s roll call, but I doubt I missed anything of consequence. I don’t need to know about the great state of Blah-Blah where the women are strong, the men are good-looking and the children are above average. I’m from New Jersey, where, no matter what’s ailing us, we’re all gonna die of cancer. Try spinning that as a promotional tool â€¦
Tonight Bill really has to gladhand the crowd, and God help us all if he pulls that “I’m the first black president” crapola. He needs to say, in unequivocal terms, this is how it was meant to be. This is Obama’s year, and with a subtle tongue Bill must let the bad blood and sour mash wash under the bridge. If he doesn’t, both Clintons will have done more harm than good.
Bill playfully admonishes the crowd to â€œSit down!â€ as his introductory Standing O threatens to last longer than his allotted time, then notes, â€œI love it, you knowâ€â€¦
Jon: Good old colloquial Bill. Look at him! I see Bill and I think of 16 million new jobs, peace in Northern Ireland, eight years of uninterrupted prosperity, and a good, five-cent, poontang-scented cigar. Goddammit, I miss him! Where have all the good times gone?
Dw.: I would gladly suffer him once more to get the country back to pre-2000 status … The twinkle in the eyes, the dimples in the cheeks, the busted capillaries. Bill is becoming a Rankin/Bass cartoon character right before our eyes.
Jon: I believe youâ€™re thinking of Mr. Magoo â€“ Iâ€™m sorry, I meant John McCain.
(Editorâ€™s note: Mr. Magoo was a UPA cartoon, not Rankin/Bass. Dammit, Jon, get with the program!)
Jon: Blow me … OK, weâ€™re five minutes in and Bill hasnâ€™t begun to make this speech about himself. He said at the outset, â€œIâ€™m here to support Barack Obama,â€ and by golly heâ€™s doing just that. He just noted how Bidenâ€™s experience and expertise will complement Obamaâ€™s â€œproven understanding, instincts and insight.â€ Iâ€™m sure the Republican robots will jump on that and say, â€œSee? See? Obama doesnâ€™t have experience!â€ But itâ€™s only in a world run (into the ground) by Republicans that â€œunderstanding, instincts and insightâ€ such as Obamaâ€™s are not enough. If only somebody would have the balls to discuss how frequently McCain has expounded on foreign policy and been dead wrong!
Dw.: “Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm.” Kind of has that ham-fisted blankness, like Hillary’s “No way, no how, no McCain” line. I wonder if they were written by the same person.
Dw.: I wonder how much of this was calculated for effect. I know these speeches are pre-scripted and cleared way in advance, so was it planned that Hillary has her day and Bill smoothes the waters after her wake? Maybe it’s just my perception. I need more coffee.
Jon: Bill is famous for re-writing speeches on the way to the podium â€“ and clearly his â€œready to leadâ€ line was written no earlier than this morning. Theyâ€™re the words everybody was waiting for â€“ the words the McCain campaign carped on Hillary for not saying Tuesday night. She spent a healthy chunk of her speech blowing wet kisses to Obama, then Tucker Bounds or whichever McCain hack got out of bed first this morning called the press and announced, â€œSee? Hillary didnâ€™t say that Obama is â€˜ready to lead.â€™ Because heâ€™s not. Nyah, nyah.â€ Fucking morons.
Dw.: I really hoped Bill would get deeper into what has been lost, or changed, or distorted in the last eight years, but maybe that’s more a Joe Biden line than a Bubba line. I don’t believe heâ€™s giving us anything we’ll be looking back on in future poli-sci classes, though.
Jon: Everyone remembers Bill as a great talker, but his speeches were like Chinese food â€“ yummy, yet forgettable. Actually, just now he had a very nice turn of phrase: â€œThe world has always been more impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power.â€ I like the way he finally mentioned his administrationâ€™s accomplishments, but only in juxtaposition to the horrors visited on America since 2001. And comparing Obamaâ€™s age and experience now to Billâ€™s in 1992 is a brilliant touch â€“ people remember the Clinton years so fondly now, and heâ€™s linking his legacy to Obamaâ€™s promise in a quite effective way.
Clinton wraps it upâ€¦
Jon: Oh, there it is. You just knew it was all gonna come back to â€œa place called hope.â€ I believe Bill and Barack just morphed into one. Can you feel it? Iâ€™m sure Bill will screw it up by the weekend, but right now Iâ€™m feelinâ€™ it.
Dw.: Iâ€™m both anticipating and dreading Joe Biden. He really needs to sell me on how such an insider as himself truly deserves to be on a “change” ticket. I’ve been pretty clear that the only thing that could turn me toward the GOP this year is if the DNC suddenly turns into a bloody black mass, complete with a human sacrifice…
Jon: That was Chicago in â€™68, I believeâ€¦
Dw.: Still, I want to believe in this ticket, and Biden has me on truly iffy ground. He lacks that dynamic I’m hoping for, and that’s part of my trepidation. The other part is that he’s a goddamned long-winded snoozefest at the podium.
Jon: Shut up, Iâ€™m getting verklempt watching Beau Biden talk about the car accident that took his mom and baby sister. Thereâ€™s not a dry in the house â€¦ Beauâ€™s leaving for Iraq soon as a JAG, but he didnâ€™t even mention where heâ€™s going as he exhorted the crowd to â€œbe there for my dad.â€ Heâ€™s a hero! A humble hero!
Dw.: I think my TVâ€™s going on the blink. Beau’s suit is fuzzing out on the sides. Either that or I’ve now had too much coffee.
Jon: Thatâ€™s not a caffeine buzz â€“ those are your tears. Go ahead, Dw. â€“ feel your feelings.
Joe Biden begins with an ode to his family, including his 1,000-year-old momâ€¦
Jon: Biden has these people riveted, in the hall at least. His voice is as calm tonight as it was histrionic the other day in Springfield, but both styles are effective for him.
Dw.: I do like the fact that he’s hitting McCain’s voting record. Clinton went in there in an abbreviated way, but Biden’s digging in a bit more.
Jon: Bidenâ€™s indictment of McCain on foreign policy is exactly what has been missing. If only he had been chosen earlier, and had been out on the trail for the last month to answer McCainâ€™s attacks on Obama.
Dw.: He has a role to play, and he’s playing it — experience, foreign policy, and an attack dog to keep Obama above the fray.
Bidenâ€™s speech ends, and here comes the family â€¦ and Obama (surprise!) â€¦
Jon: I love these moments. Look at those Biden grandkids! Canâ€™t you see them romping around the White House lawn with Malia and Sasha? It would be like the last scene in A Time to Kill â€¦ or the last scene in Remember the Titans â€¦
Dw.: Obama looks really spry next to Biden. This is going to be a major benefit in the Obama/McCain debates. I’m afraid McCain’s just going to wind up looking like an albino Yoda â€¦ But when it’s all said and done, Bidenâ€™s speech felt really, really calculated and not terribly inspirational. That â€œsparkâ€ moment, where I would think, â€œOh, now this puts his vice-presidential status in context,â€ didn’t happen.
Jon: Iâ€™d argue that it didnâ€™t need to happen. Biden is an amazing Senator who has long deserved a move up Pennsylvania Avenue. His credentials speak for themselves. I donâ€™t have your issues with him … but then, I supported him in 1988 until he screwed it up.
One more comment before we call it a long-winded night: Chris Matthews is offering up his usual manic post-mortem, his hair flying in five different directions and his eyes red and bulging. He looks like Lloyd Bridges toward the end of Airplane!; I keep expecting him to whip out a tube and say, â€œI picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.â€
On that note, get ready to get Mile High with Barack on Thursday night!