August 26, 2008

I grew up in the age of the party convention as “€œeverything’s already been decided”€ made-for-TV special, and thus I have a certain vicarious nostalgia for the days when these get-togethers were rowdy, contested, dramatic affairs”€”when, say, Bill Rusher was calling out orders to delegates on the floor via walky-talky while organizing the unlikely nomination of Barry Goldwater in “€™64. Something like that will probably never take place again. The Democrats now have instant messaging and Twitter, and yet they use it to send out mushy texts and tweets about how much they looove Michelle. The rumblings of a pro-Hillary rebellion will be easily quelled with a symbolic reading of the senator’s name during the nomination process. 

This being said, while watching the first night of the convention, my sense was that the whole thing wasn”€™t choreographed enough. I mean, if it’s going to be a charade anyway, the least the Democrats could do is put on a show. Maybe Bill’s latest menagerie of bimbos could come out and perform with hula-hoops—something. The DNC needs to take a lesson from the Chinese, who know a thing or two about Nationalist Spectacle, and Vegas kitsch. The funds don”€™t seem to be lacking. Their gigantic blue jumbotron backdrop must have cost a fortune, and yet it doesn”€™t actually seem to do anything.

Worse, the party paraded out the most soporific speakers imaginable. First their was bug-eyed, facelifted Pelosi, who made me turn off the TV for an hour. When I flipped it back on, some smiling blonde senator I”€™ve never heard of was on stage, chirping “€œwith liberty and justice for all”€ and then “€œyes, we can!”€ to close out her intolerably stupid presentation. Then there was Michele Obama’s brother, who’s apparently a basketball coach, but who was so stiff and monotone while giving his pep talk that I imagined that if he”€™d been in charge of coaching the “€™92 Duke squad in its big game against Kentucky, Christian Laettner and Grant Hill might have decided it just wasn”€™t worth it and walked off the floor (instead of doing this.)

Then Michelle gave her speech, which has got to be one of the most diffuse and dumbed-down pieces of rhetoric I”€™ve ever heard. I didn”€™t know the Democrats thought their voters where this brain-dead. At one point, FOX put up a News Alter at the bottom of the screen”€””€œMrs. Obama: “€˜I love this country.”€™”€ This just about sums up the intellectual content of the speech. Apparently some were crying, but then these are the same people who got inspired by John Kerry.  

Even if the writing style in Michele’s speech never got much above a 7th-grade term-paper level, it’s clear that she had a party hack compose it for her. I, and certainly many others, had hoped that Mrs. Obama might insist that she write the thing herself and thus treat us to some really crazy shiznit”€”you know, something that resembled her Princeton senior thesis:

These experiences have made it apparent to me that the path I have chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant. This realization has presently, made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit the Black community more desirable.

This was too much to be desired. Instead we got stuff that was crazy in a wonkish, boring liberal way: Michelle thinks that every child should have a “€œworld-class”€ college education and talked about how Barack didn”€™t want her and her “€œcommunity”€ to “€œsettle for the world as it is “€” even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations.”€ This stuff is so vapid, it doesn”€™t really deserve comment.     

One would expect the Dems to be better showmen than the Republicans, and yet traditionally the GOP has always put on more effective conventions. The Republicans can always rely on their Democratic foil to make them seem sensible, tasteful, and aesthetically gifted.    


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