Wednesday, August 2, 2000

"This is boring, boring, boring," moaned Phyllis Schlafly on the floor of the convention. And as always, Phyllis Schlafly was wrong, wrong, wrong. In fact, yesterday's convention activities were so exciting that at least one person suffered a minor stroke. True, it was Gerald Ford, and you know how excitable he is, but still. Anyway, doctors assured reporters today that President Ford is recovering nicely and is now "perfectly awake." However, anyone who heard Elizabeth Dole speak is still only semi-conscious.

"It doesn't seem like there’s quite the party atmosphere you used to get," whined Dr. Dick Lewis, a Pittsburgh Republican who told the New York Times he was hoping for more "goofy bowler hats." But we say if Lewis wasn’t having a good time, it was his own fault. For a guaranteed good time, he should have donated $250,000 in soft money. Those folks who did – the GOP calls them Regents – were having a blast. The Times reported that at one party, Regents "sipped soup out from mock Fabergé eggs as a string quartet played." Then they all danced around a burning homeless person wearing goofy bowler hats made of pure gold.

Of course, that kind of elitism was being officially disavowed at the First Union Center itself. This is a different kind of convention for a different kind of Republican. And indeed, we were impressed that the TV cameras kept finding black people in the crowd, until we realized they were simply showing the same seven people over and over. And that all of them were played by Eddie Murphy. But there's no question that, just as the Democrats used their '96 convention to swipe the Republican agenda and put their own friendly façade on it, the Republicans are now returning the favor by swiping the façade. George W himself told a crowd in West Virginia yesterday that "this nation is sick and tired of the politics of personal destruction"—a phrase coined in '96 by Bill Clinton.

Not that this matters, given Americans' notoriously short attention spans. Hell, John McCain took the stage last night to the strains of the "Star Wars" theme – an allusion to his old stump speech in which he compared himself to Luke Skywalker fighting his way out of the Death Star. Now let’s see, whose campaign was represented by the Death Star? It's all so hazy now.

Meanwhile, Phyllis Schlafly did have one complaint slightly more valid than boredom. Apparently, an overzealous security guard confiscated one of her staff member’s knitting needles and "snapped them in half." Sure that’s not a big deal now, but she's really going to need them once George W makes his first appointment to the Supreme Court.

--Daniel Radosh

[ 100% True ]

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