As we get rolling here for the big third night featuring Giuliani, Romney, Cindy McCain and The Sarah Palin Show, it's worth noting that Republican strategists Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy think that the McCain campaign is "over," "cynical," "political bullshit," and "it's not gonna work." But they only believe this when no-one is looking.
Suffice to say, Governor Palin's speech is going to be a barnburner. There's no doubt that this thing has been excellently planned and prepared. Palin is, after all, a decent public speaker even though she sometimes sounds like Edie McClurg. But seriously, I expect Palin to cross a huge threshold here and barring any prompter malfunctions, she's going to perform nicely. (See what I just did there? High expectations!)
Some awesome before the awful:
At Keith's prompting, Tom Brokaw on MSNBC just invoked the Dan Quayle comparison, but he made sure to note that the Bush-Quayle ticket won that election. Of course that's true, but they didn't have to run on an eight year record of incompetence -- a record that includes Gonzales, Miers, Rummy, Katrina, Iraq, Bolton and all the rest of it. I don't think the Bush-Quayle team would have been as successful if Reagan had been ending his presidency with a 28 percent approval rating.
A protester behind David Gregory is holding a sign that says, "You vetted Bristol. Is Obama next?" Are you kidding me? We just came through 20 months of reporters asking Senator Obama if he's really a Christian -- asking Senator Obama about Louis Farrakhan -- asking Senator Obama if his wife really, seriously, honestly loves America -- asking Senator Obama if he went to a Muslim school -- asking Senator Obama if he'll reject his Christian pastor -- and all the while accidentally calling him Osama Bin Laden. Not vetted? Idiot. It's no wonder the protester's other sign read: "MSNNBC."
Pat Buchanan mirroring the protester. "The press has been savage on her -- feral on her... It has been a disgraceful performance by the press." Pat Buchanan here! The guy who's been calling Senator Obama "exotic" and questioning whether he's "one of us" and indicting the senator's patriotism ever since Buchanan realized that Obama wasn't Irish. Buchanan is a satire of himself. "Savaged," Pat?! Disgraceful.
Gergen and Bill Bennett are fighting on CNN. By the way, CNN has a clock counting down to the Palin speech.
I might be jumping forward three or four news cycles, but has anyone brought up whether Governor Palin has the temperament -- the ability to deal with the stress of the presidency should she have to take over? We know that McCain has a rage issue, and we know that Senator Obama is cool under pressure. But I mean, it's not the easiest gig in the world and has crushed more than a few chief executives under its weight.
For the record, earlier in the evening Governor Jon Huntsman (real name) of Utah said on MSNBC that Governor Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska borders Russia and Canada. This would be the fourth or fifth serious Republican who has quoted Steve Doocy. Smart! Four more years of Doocy Logic -- that's what America needs.
CNN's Dana Bash managed to find a PUMA on the convention floor. Now what will Senator Obama have to do tonight to win over this PUMA? We have to know! How, Obama, how?!
Bob Dole on MSNBC: "I think it's gonna be tough for Joe Biden, too, you've gotta be very careful -- and not because she's a woman, it's just respect you pay to people -- particularly a woman." In other words: Be nice to people -- not women, and especially women. Huh?
Brokaw: Troopergate is a speed bump, but won't trip up Palin.
From Palin's speech tonight:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities.
Hoo-hoo! Mayor McCheese made a joke. Actual responsibilities, Governor? Yeah, a one-day-a-week gig in a town that's smaller than crowd at the Xcel center must have been an effing pressure cooker. How did you survive?! But you're right -- "mayor of Wasilla" carries way more responsibility than attempting to pull together an African-American community in southside Chicago after it was ripped apart by Reaganomics.
Has there ever been a modern television-era convention in which the sitting president wasn't invited into the room -- or his name not mentioned once from dais other than by his wife? I think we have to go back to 1968 when LBJ skipped the Democratic convention (I'm not 100 percent certain on that).
McCain has apparently employed Doocy Logic (or the McDoocy Theorem) in an interview tonight with Charlie Gibson: "Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that." Staggering. The Republican nominee for president is quoting Steve Doocy -- the guy who when he was at WRC in Washington was the wacky reporter who brought us stories about shut-ins with potato chips that resembled Tip O'Neill.
The GOP is an operation these days that creates its own reality. There were WMDs in Iraq. We do not torture. We are fiscal conservatives. We have won the Iraq war. You know the drill by now: just keep saying it again and again and refuse to answer questions and as long as you have God on your side, everything is okay.
Carly Fiorina just wrapped up. Since she began, I've grown a really long Rumpelstiltskin beard.
The Republicans believe that families are totally off limits, dammit! Except for Mitt Romney whose prepared remarks tonight include the following line:
"Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American,"
Classy. But I guess that's retribution for the speech last week in which someone said, "Just like you, there has never been a day when I stole painkillers from a charity."
And here's Mitt Romney.
Mitt: "Throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin." He knows that the White House is occupied by Republicans, right?
This is clearly the first speech of the convention in which they imply that liberals are effete and girlish. I'm expecting Mitt to drop his pants and begin to chase delegates around the floor with his genitals. ROOWWR!
He somehow implied that liberals think that chanting "USA!" isn't politically correct.
He was fired up, eh? I seriously thought that Mitt would suddenly blurt out: "We must and we will blow up the Moon! ROOWWRR!"
Here's Mike Huckabee.
Sources tell me that Huckabee has dropped the Obama assassination jokes from tonight's remarks. Although he just implied that if Senator Obama is elected, we'll be attacked by the evildoers.
Huckabee: Sarah Palin got more votes running for the mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden got running for president. Yeah, Mike? Senator Obama got more primary votes than you, McCain and Romney... combined. Now that's hilarious.
Hannity & Colmes is allowing the Palin family their privacy... by aiming a camera at Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson right now and then talking about them. Meanwhile, how much time has Hannity spent on television and the radio indicting Michelle Obama's patriotism.
Here's how Hannity works, via a paraphrased argument with Juan Williams that happened just now:
HANNITY: Obama doesn't have executive experience!
WILLIAMS: He ran a dynamite campaign that defeated Hillary Clinton!
HANNITY: That's not foreign policy experience!
See what he did there?
Here's Vlad Rudy to make with the fear-mongering and 9/11.
Rudy's still holding out for a win in Florida.
Rudy going through the McCain biography which everyone knows already. Skipped right over the 1970s.
"He worked as a community organizer." Big laughs from the audience.
Rudy using Hillary's tactic by going after the "present" votes. "He couldn't make up his mind!" with a scary Rudy face and Nosferatu hand gestures. So Rudy's thing here is to turn Senator Obama's biography into a comedy routine. This from a man who's only at the RNC because he put his emergency headquarters inside the WTC after it had already been attacked. Rudy is there because of 9/11 and not because of his own record. I'd laugh at that, but it's too pathetic and ugly.
This guy was the frontrunner for president one year ago. I think he's having a schizoid embolism.
"The Democrats were afraid to use the words 'Islamic terrorism.'" And the delegates boo. Yes, the Democrats ought to use more fear-mongering and 9/11 as cheap political applause lines. Just like Rudy.
Rudy knows that Bin Laden is still at large, right? Even with a Republican Pentagon and White House.
Why are the Republicans so angry?
We need to win this thing for no other reason than to tell this mental patient that his fear-mongering doesn't work.
This Rudy speech here -- you know what it's like? Every day on AM talk radio.
Do you see why it's so laughable when guys like Hannity complain that liberals are "haters?"
Here comes Governor Palin. "Clap! Or I'll have you fired!!" Just kidding. She didn't say that. This time.
She's quoting Byrds lyrics now. That's weird, isn't it?
Wow. She's not snarfing her water or misspelling 'potato' so she must be ready to take over the presidency.
She really does sound like Edie McClurg. "The sportos and motor heads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads... they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."
There's the "actual responsibilities" line. Nah. That's not racist at all. Community organizers are holding our inner cities together by a thread thanks to 30 years of Reaganomics.
McCain-Palin: Mockery First.
Hoo-hoo! She said "eBay!"
She's skipping over that stuff about supporting and campaigning on the Bridge to Nowhere.
She's also skipping the stuff about how her administration is responsible for more earmarks than any other state. But why should that matter for a party that still insists, "We don't torture," and, "The WMDs are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north."
Now she's lying about Senator Obama's Senate record. She says he hasn't introduced a single piece of important legislation. Oh well, I guess she's right-- oh wait! Look! Headline: "Lugar-Obama Bill to Keep Weapons Out of Terrorists' Hands Passes Congress." In his first two years in the Senate, from 2004 to 2006, Senator Obama authored more than 150 bills. Here's more:
Introduced a bill (S.1194) directing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to establish guidelines for tracking spent fuel rods.
Introduced a bill (S.1426) extending provisions in the Safe Drinking Water Act that relate to preventing and detecting contamination.
Introduced a bill (S.1920) amending the Clean Air Act to establish a renewable diesel standard.
Introduced a bill (S.3988) improving benefits and services for members of the armed forces and veterans.
She's awesome... at doing the same fear-mongering thing that all Republicans can do.
Almost done. And she hasn't accidentally tossed a dwarf or called McCain "Magoo." Vice presidential!
Done! And now... McCain.
McCain: "Don't you think we made the right choice for vice president of the United States?" Why? Because she didn't stop her speech midway in order to cartwheel across the "none more black" stage while chanting "Attica! Attica!?"
I feel like I just relived the last eight years of dark, twisted madness condensed into an hour.
Well, my sense is that she'll get some praise for this thing -- and it was a well-delivered speech however loaded with smears and lies -- but how will she respond to the laundry list of scandals that are stacking up? That's the real test.
Norah O'Donnell: "At times it was sarcastic." Understatement.
What I still want to know is why Governor Palin is more qualified than Olympia Snowe or Christine Todd Whitman or Kay Bailey Hutchison. The McCain campaign hasn't answered that question.
Rudy Giuliani didn't win a single primary or caucus. And now he's on MSNBC telling us that Senator Obama barely squeaked by -- even after he was the frontrunner.
There's no way this speech played well with undecideds. The mockery -- especially since it carried the residue from Giuliani's Goebbels speech -- couldn't have positively influenced people who generally have a distaste for ugly politics.
That kind of summarizes the hour. Ugly.
Pat Buchanan speaking for Palin: "This was my choice and I took it." Another pro-choice conservative. Republicans all over the place this week hailing "choice" and "privacy." I suppose that's the silver lining of this convention.
Brian Williams on MSNBC reading from Joe Klein's very important item today.
But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.
Rachel Maddow mentioning that the "big words" in the speech were spelled out phonetically on the prompter.
Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more new-clear plants
Chuck Todd suggests that the mockery isn't going to play well with the middle.
Seriously, the 10PM hour was like reading comments on Hot Air or listening to Hugh Hewitt's radio show.
Arizona's delegates make John McCain the official Republican nominee.
McCain campaign has abandoned an effort to compete for swing voters and go back to the base energizing strategy that worked for President Bush in 2004. The numbers make that look like a tough proposition. But I think a few months from now, everyone will agree this was a mistake.
The one moment that stays with me tonight, oddly enough, was not Palin's speech. It was a line from Giuliani, a New York mayor with a young second third wife and gay friends, mocking a "cosmopolitan" who was brought up by a single mother. It was that Barack Obama's rise could "only happen in America." And it was designed to mock him, the first African-American candidate for the presidency of the United States.
But basically the GOP told the party the Reichstag was still burning, but not any normal person would find this latest round of yelling Republicans persuasive.
I do wonder if she knew how many lies she was telling or if she realized that the Bridge to Nowhere thing had already been rendered inoperative.
Uhm, did I just hear New York mayor Rudy Giuliani do an impression of one of the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guys" drawling, " Does Barack Obama not think her home town is cosmoaahlitan enough? I'm soorrrry Barack that it's not flaaashy enough?" At the Republican convention? To great cheers? Man, the times they are a-changin'
Very aggressive speech by Sarah Palin. Perhaps because it was written for her by the McCain campaign before she was even chosen (or vetted, for that matter.)
The Obama Campaign:
The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change," said Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman.
That's all for me tonight. More liveblogging Thursday night for McBush's show when the crowd of white people at Xcel will mock and laugh at community organizers -- people like Senator Obama, César Chávez and a slacker named Martin Luther King, Jr. -- all community organizers who, according to Palin, never had any "actual responsibilities." Cheers!