Liveblogging The Republican Convention - Day Four

If an undecided voter responded strongly to the yelling from Mitt, Rudy and Palin, and then watched McCain, they were probably disappointed and let-down by McCain.
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So it's the last night of this thing. I wonder if the Republicans will burn anyone in effigy tonight. It's really the only way they can top the frothing rage of last night's televised flame war.

The stock market dropped 344 points today. I wonder if Senator McCain will say that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

Senator McCain should tell some of his hilarious jokes tonight. I'm thinking maybe the joke about a gorilla beating and raping a woman and leaving her for dead. Or maybe the joke about Chelsea Clinton. After last night, neither would shock me. I seriously believe that the crowd would roar and the barbecue media would largely ignore it.

That Matt Damon commercial is really beginning to freak me out. Almost as much as T. Boone Pickens' Romulan eyebrows.

As I watch the GOP nominate Sarah Palin, I still wonder how last night was such a huge success. I mean, did anyone seriously believe she would choke on her own tongue or something? The speech was written before the campaign even knew who they were going to be forced by the right-wing to choose (minus the pronouns and biography) so, yeah, okay, she can speak and she can willingly submit to a level of snark unbecoming of an American public official. But because she didn't blow a loogy onto the camera lens, she hit a "grand slam." Imagine if Senator Clinton in her speech last week included a syllabus of distortions about John McCain and joked that, for instance, one of McCain's various gigs didn't include any "actual responsibilities."

Wow, a wide shot of the auditorium. Half full. You know... because the Republicans are all about making history.

Scarborough, who was falling over himself to praise the events of last night, just said that the arena feels like a mid-Summer rules committee meeting tonight. And... Ooops! Olbermann calling out Tucker Bounds and the claim that McCain is taking the high road tonight and I could hear Scarborough in the background saying something like, "Thank you Keith Olbermann for... (something something)." Then Keith said with a grin, "Excuse me, Joe's talking off mic?"

Just flipped over to CNN in time to hear Campbell Brown discussion Governor Palin's record number of federal earmark requests. $197 million in earmarks in FY2009. Why does Campbell Brown hate women? And now John King is suggesting that McCain and Palin simply disagree on some issues, like most tickets. No but John, this is Governor Palin disagreeing with Governor Palin.

O'Reilly: Sarah Palin just became a big star. So... a celebrity?

Now Karl Rove in on. Is it me or does Karl always sound like he has a sinus infection?

O'Reilly saying that the Republicans hate the media because of the media's liberal bias. Uh-huh. Thom Hartmann yesterday invoked a very telling passage from Chapter 5 of "The Art of War" in which Sun Tzu advises "masking strength with weakness." In other words, most of print, television and radio is owned by conservatives, but the far-right has disguised its biggest strength by claiming it's a weakness. Smart! Transparent and phony now. But smart.

According to MSNBC, the Obama campaign has raised $10 million since Palin's rant last night.

On MSNBC the panel is talking about whether half the nation will hate the other half after election day. Well what do we know right now? On one hand, we have a Democratic candidate who has gone out of his way to reach out to conservatives and Republicans. On the other hand, we have a Republican candidate who has embraced the far-right and divisive elements of his party just to get election -- you know, country first and all that, right? Anyway, I think Senator Obama, much to the consternation of many liberals and progressives, will make a serious effort to be a unifying figure. I don't see McCain doing this given the debt he'd owe to the evangelicals and Limbaughs.

Tom Brokaw finally with some reality. He just said that he's amused by all this talk about taking back Washington even though the Republicans have been in control of the executive and legislative branches for so many years.

O'Reilly with Senator Obama on The Factor. Probing thoughtful questions like, "Are we in a war against terra'?" And, "Is Iran part of that?" O'Reilly doesn't understand that Iran is Shia, and al-Qaeda is Sunni. Thankfully, Senator Obama is setting him straight.

O'Reilly just used the word "perspicacious." And now Senator Obama is telling O'Reilly about the FACT that the Anbar Awakening is responsible for the reduction of violence in Iraq.

O'Reilly: "You can't send ground troops into Pakistan because all hell would break loose." Shhh. O'Reilly doesn't know that we sent ground troops into Pakistan this week.

Has this been discussed before? The Republican Convention logo. Am I crazy or does it show an elephant humping "2008"? See for yourself:


I was watching O'Reilly and missed it... Was the 9/11 video as exploitative as I imagine? I seriously believe that the co-opting of 9/11 by the Republicans -- even though it happened on the watch of a Republican president and Congress -- is probably the most disgusting, cynical aspect of the Bush-Rove legacy.

Lindsey Graham talking about how everything is perfect in Iraq. And he seemed to just say that the combat brigades have come home already. Oh have they? Anyway, weird that things are so good, but we can't leave and discontinue this $10 billion per month occupation.

Graham using the "he doesn't get it line" from Senator Obama's acceptance speech. The Republicans love doing that. McCain mocking the "change we can believe in" line. It's awesome when our elected, public officials are proud to go on television and say, "Nanny-nanner-boooboo!" Dignified! Classy!

Last night or the night before I wrote that the fundamentalists have officially supplanted the last remains of any secular forces inside the Republican Party. Tonight, Andrew Sullivan wrote about the scary brand of fundamentalism we're looking at here:

Since the GOP is now primarily a religious organization, it's interesting to look at the theology of the brand of Republicanism that Palin comes from. Assemblies of God Republicans believe in sixteen fundamental truths, outlined here, including the Rapture. Since the GOP now holds that there can be no distinction between politics and religion, and that presidential debates need to be held in churches and moderated by pastors, it would be helpful to ask if she shares the views of the pastor of the church she grew up. To be specific: does she believe that Alaska will be a refuge in the "end-times" for the saved of the lower 48 states? He said that right in front of her. She didn't seem in any way fazed.

Chuck Todd saying that many down-ballot Republicans are urging the McCain campaign to not talk about Iraq. Todd saying the word "stubbornness" in reference to McCain several times. So not only does the McCain campaign have NO ground game, but they're also angering down-ballot candidates. What that means is that no matter how close the national polls are, the November 4 results might -- and I underscore might -- be much wider.

Jake Tapper reports that the Palin camp has issued the following statement:

"the Obama/Biden Democrats have been vicious in their attacks directed toward me, my family and John McCain."

The Obama campaign has gone out of its way to urge everyone to lay off the families. But I think we know what this is. This is a tactic to coax the surrogates and talkers to resume the attacks on Obama's family as a form of lopsided retaliation. (h/t TPM)

The Cindy McCain video is on. In the spirit of the previous comment, I'll reserve my remarks about Cindy, but here's a shocker... they didn't mention that they met in "exotic" Hawaii and that McCain was cheating on his wife for the umpteenth time.

Question from the comments: "What the hell is Lindsey Graham smoking when he says that Obama hadn't been to Iraq in years and "didn't even sit down with General Petraeus?" Yeah, I'd like to think that General Petraeus has better things to do than to meet with all 535 members of Congress. But by way of debunking Senator Graham:


I wonder if Cindy McCain's outfit costs more than my house. Her banana suit from Monday did. $300,000. Seriously.

Cindy McCain, who flies around Arizona in corporate jet, is also a hockey mom. That must be a fancy carpool.

For a night with the theme "Peace" there sure is a lot of war talk.

Yeah, it's over-the-top exploitative. Here's the 9/11 video from the RNC. Shameless.

The photo of Rudy and Rumsfeld was particularly incongruous and awful.

By the way, Cindy McCain said she wants the federal government off her back. I hate to be repetitive, but... she realizes that Republicans have been in control of the federal government for most of this decade, right?

Here's the McCain video. Almost as exploitative as the 9/11 video.

And here's McCain.

Seriously, didn't they learn their lesson about the green? It's a dollop of sour cream in the middle of a bowl of guacamole.


Two minutes in and he invokes 9/11.

Someone's holding a "McCain Votes Against Vets" sign.

And a bunch of interruptions by protesters. This is going well. Did they just ballyhoo their national security cred?

Classy remarks to Senator Obama. Seriously. But when he said he wants people to stop yelling at each other, he clearly forgot to tell this to his running mate, he forgot to tell Vlad Rudy and he forgot to tell Mitt.

He isn't even on the policy section and it feels like it's been nine hours already.

Pork projects: "I will make them famous!" FACT: Sarah Palin is responsible for $200 million in earmarks this year alone. And, yessir, he made Palin famous alright.

Keith Olbermann's response to the 9/11 video:

Don't veto my beer, Senator!

McCain fever! Catch it!


Another person yawning on camera.

To be fair, some of these positions would otherwise resonate quite strongly with Republicans and independents dialing in for the first time, but I can't imagine that many people would leave the Redskins game to see this dirge.

Will anyone on FOX News Channel ask him why he didn't wear an American flag pin?

The Georgia section is creepy. This sounds eerily familiar:

They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire.

"I will reach out to anyone" -- this couldn't have played well in a crowd of far-right Christian zealots.

"Senator Obama does not" (have scars from a POW camp in Vietnam, and for that, he's a bad bad man who hates America). What was he implying by that remark? Senator Obama was six years old when Senator McCain was captured. It's not like he dodged the draft.

I wonder if the Christian fundamentalists on the floor realize that "Country First" implies that God is, at most, second. "Family" has to be right up there, which might push Jesus to around fourth. Then again, I don't think they analyse their propaganda that closely.

He just totally went off saying "fight" over and over. Tonight's theme is "Peace." Just a reminder.

It's over. Chris Matthews said that McCain will be ahead in the polls next week. I don't think so.

Andrea Mitchell is being buried alive! With balloons!

Here's a great example of cable news working from the same script over and over... Asking if Senator Obama needs to recalibrate or change their strategy is ridiculous. Senator Obama isn't running an off-the-shelf Democratic campaign that scrambles to just keep up -- it's a disciplined and pragmatic organization. The press should know this by now. Do they expect Obama to totally adjust his entire campaign based on McCain's sleepy war-mongering tonight?

FACT: Balloons make Wolf Blitzer uncharacteristically giddy.

Michael Gerson, Bush's former speech writer who invented the "smoking gun in the form a mushroom cloud" line, just said that the policy section only spoke to the converted and won't win over the middle. He also said that McCain made it clear that he was a maverick -- of the past, but he was unclear about how he'd be a maverick as president.

Thinking in terms of undecided casual voters who watched both last night and tonight's coverage... If an undecided voter responded strongly to the batshit yelling from Mitt, Rudy and Palin, and then watched McCain, they were probably disappointed and let-down by McCain. If they responded well to McCain, they're probably now -- by contrast -- wondering, "Who the hell were those maniacs last night?!" That can't be a positive dynamic and it can't help Matthews' prophecy come to pass.

Stretch talking about how unlikely it is for McCain to be the leader of the Republican Party. Yeah. When I heard this, I thought, Man -- what a really sad story. Think about it. In order to become the "leader" of the party and the nominee, the party had to become seriously damaged and usurped by the Christian right, and McCain had to sell out his former self and become a far-right water-carrier who was subsequently strong-armed into choosing a far-right Christian running mate instead of his first or second or third choice.

Keith: "Bulletin: Andrea Mitchell is safe."

That's all for me. Next up, the big debates. Thanks so much for joining me tonight! Hey -- if I mention that I'm enjoying a lovely Sam Adams Summer Ale, do you think they'll send me some for free? Cheers!

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