Thursday, August 3, 2000

"How vastly stupid can they be?" thundered L. Brent Bozell about his fellow Republicans, referring not to their delusion that Dick Cheney had given a rousing speech, but to their decision to have the Rock introduce Dennis Hastert, a former wrestling coach who is now, reportedly, the speaker of the House. A convention spokesman countered that the Rock is an "entertaining part of a very substantive program." Which may be slightly overstating the merits of "Raw is War."

"This will hurt Republicans in more ways than they can possibly imagine," Bozell continued, sending us into just such a reverie of imagination. "Anytime a Republican gives a speech about raunch or violence, the bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, people will be able to point to the Rock." To which the Rock maturely responded, "Grow up!"

"Some of our people have just got to grow up," muttered Rev. Jerry Falwell when asked about grumbling among conservatives that Bush is not as insanely far to the right as they are. "Our crowd needs to get into the battle, keep their mouths shut and help this man win."

Speaking of people who need to keep their mouths shut, Pat Robertson rallied his faithful to the Bush cause by reminding them that "Five people"—the Supreme Court—"can decide the destiny of unborn children. Five people can decide whether we can pray or not pray. It looks as if two or three of those unelected officials are getting ready to retire or go on up to that great court in the sky." Where they can pluck harps and kill babies for the rest of eternity.

The Fallwell/Robertson wing of the GOP has been greatly pleased by George Bush's decision to name Dick Cheney as his son's running mate, and Cheney did not disappoint them last night. He called Al Gore a liar, a fear-monger and a mediocrity—but he did so "respectfully," campaign spokesman Ari Fleisher insisted.

If Cheney intended to "draw contrasts with Vice President Gore," as Fleisher put it, it was odd to hear him use an applause line—"It's time for them to go!"—that is most familiar as one of Gore's from 1992. But it was even more odd to hear that other notable VP-candidate catchphrase—Admiral Stockdale's "Why am I here"—in the mouth of Ralph Nader, who showed up at the First Union Center to condemn "the most spectacular display of cash-register politics in the history of our country."

If you missed any of this excitement, perhaps you're among the 90-something percent of television viewers who have been watching something—anything—other than the convention this week. Which would actually put you in the company of one Marvin Bush, younger brother of the George W, who spent a TV interview this morning talking less about the campaign than about last night's "Survivor."

Marvin Bush eventually attempted to tie the two together by saying, "George is a survivor. And I’ll tell you something, it was interesting. When Sue went into this whole dialogue business—this dialogue last—or monologue I should say—about political—the political process and what it takes to survive, George is a survivor."

Interestingly, what Sue actually said, speaking slightly more coherently than any Bush could, was that the shady deals being made among the castaways was no different from the corrupt world of politics, in which lobbyists write big checks to politicians and expect to be treated well in return.

George W's brother praising him as master of cash-register politics? As a wise man once said, "How vastly stupid can they be?"

Daniel Radosh

[ 100% True ]

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