Tuesday, August 1, 2000

"Tonight you heard from the best speaker in our family," gushed George W after his wife's speech, and anyone who was still awake could only assume that was intended not as a compliment to her, but as a shrewd way of lowering expectations for his own performance.

The nominee's wife warmed up her audience with a recap of the last six years. "George was elected governor. We moved to Austin with our then-13-year-old twin girls," she began. "Since then we've been through dating, drivers' licenses and, just a few weeks ago, high school graduation." But enough about George, let me tell you about the girls...

Education was the theme of the evening, a tricky issue for George W to handle with a straight face, to say the least. Earlier in the evening, speaker Sharon Darling told the crowd that "literacy and the Bush family are practically synonymous... Even Millie, the Bush family dog" wrote a book. And soon, W plans to have Condaleezza Rice summarize it for him.

"I watched my husband make a difference," Laura continued, "not by giving one speech on reading, but by giving 100." He gave number 101 the other day, and according to the New York Times, it went something like this: "If you don't know what you're supposed to know, we'll make sure you do early before it's too late." Somewhere, Lynne Cheney is spinning in her grave.

George W wasn't the only person proud of his wife's speech. In Dayton, he told an audience that Laura's dad was too, despite the fact that he's dead. "I suspect from heaven he's smiling down," W said. "I don't even know if he's Republican." So W, who once demurred when asked if non-Christians could go to heaven, is now allowing entry to Democrats? That's taking inclusiveness a little too far.

And speaking of inclusiveness, having Colin Powell on the stage last night magically erased, in one half-hour speech, decades of Republican attitudes toward African-Americans—from Barry Goldwater to the party yesterday afternoon where the Temptations were reduced to performing as a back-up band for J.C. Watts.

Powell may be the only person who truly enjoyed Laura Bush's speech, if only because he knew how good he'd sound in comparison. Powell is a decent speaker (so articulate, the Midwestern delegates all say) which means he probably, stunningly, actually intended to say that the growing prison population means, "two million convicts, not consumers." As if families are daily lamenting that their sons, husbands and fathers aren't around to take them to Footlocker.

—Daniel Radosh

[ 100% True ]

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