Liveblogging the RNC day 4: John McCain is a POW.
One final day. One final speech. The most famous POW gets to tell his tale of POWing out to the masses. Bring your chips and popcorn. Bristol, hold hands with Levi. The RNC ends with CODEPINK crashing the party. Thank god we got this live.
Here we go:
6:00 Eight US Olympians lead the center in the pledge of allegiance. No Michael Phelps. He had a prior engagement with Atlantis.
6:02 Trace Atkins sings the national anthem. Dude has a seriously deep voice. Any lower and it’d be a belch. Maybe that’s why he didn't win Celebrity Apprentice.
6:04 Demetrios of America leads group in prayer. He wears a black headdress. Looks like he crawled out of Rome circa 1453. Folks behind me question aloud if he’s a Jew.
6:07 Demetrios of America finishes prayer. He’s catholic, or, Jewish enough.
6:08 Der Blatt is a no show. Some Asian Guy with Hip Glasses (SAGHP) takes the spot of Dieter, the amazing German.
6:09 Tom Cole takes the stage. He has on a bright blue tie. Murmurs go off throughout the center. These people want this whole thing over. (Later in the night: Coleman walks around 7th street drunk with a blonde around his arm.)
6:11 Eric Paulson makes a surprise appearance. He wants us to reflect. He’s a new generation leader. He’s into pro-growth. As he speaks, a young fat Republican walks about in a light pink tie. He gives Paulson a golf clap. He’s also wearing white suspenders. Paulson is the future. But he scares the present.
6:13 Paulson is off the stage.
6:14 Jay Love takes the stage. Jay. Love. Huh. Is that his porn name? Or is he a Beach Boy? All sorts of engaging questions tonight. He gives a shout out to guns. He gives a shout-out to umm… hunting. Dude is from Alabama. Hates Nancy Pelosi. SAGHP asks if this is Forrest Gump.
6:15 Love off the stage. Sheesh, these dudes are coming and going faster than Harriet Meyers during the Supreme Court nomination process. New guy stands on the stage. Looks like the past two guys. Cannot tell these people apart. The Republicans are unleashing their clones. This is clone 3.
6:16 Clone 3 has been to Iraq. God bless America. That’s all you need to know. Clone 3 departs the stage.
6:18 Clone 4 takes the stage. But this one is a younger. He looks like Doogie Howser. He entered a congressional race with the odds stacked against him. Black people were in his district. But he won the race by 227 votes. Booyah! Hey Wanda Bear, how you like them apples?
6:19 Doogie says once more that he is popular with black people. Unfortunately, the lone black person in the audience cannot confirm this.
6:20 Is this like speed dating? Doogie just vanished and another Clone 5 came out. He is white. He has an American flag pin on his shirt. He does not like taxes. His is the voice of change. He loves being part of the party of reform. He walks off the stage. People applaud. Rinse, wash, repeat. Rinse, wash, repeat.
6:22 Dude from Nevada walks on the stage. He’s a dead ringer for J Peterman on Seinfeld. Rocks a pink tie. Hair is perfect and silver. He name checks Reagan. Somehow people who were not paying attention to him, cheer. It’s automatic. Like a Republican gag reflex or a funny bone or a… huh? He just name checked a Fogel. Okay, it’s not Jared. This Fogel died in Iraq instead. That’s different than a guy who hocks footlong value meals.
6:25 Nevada clone says that John McCain knows freedom. McCain is about one story away from becoming Chuck Norris. Actually, he is already there: Did you hear that John McCain went to the Virgin Islands back in his Air Force days? Yeah, after his visit they just called them the islands…
6:26 SAGHP is patronizing the guy from Nevada. SAGHP is vaguely gay.
6:27 Name slip alert: Sarah Pray-lin. Okay, it’s not that far off and actually, more on point. Maybe it was done on purpose.
6:29 Lights fade. Cue movie. Graveyard. Flag. Robert Duval’s voice pipes from the speakers. This one is for America, the red, white and more red. Images of marines and children clutching flags receive applause. Image of MLK receives two or three charity claps.
6:30 SAGHP chomps loudly on his gum. I miss Dieter.
6:31 Mitch McConnell takes the stage. If he had red hair and a tall hat, Ron Weasley would call him, Dad. Let’s just call him Mitch McWeasly seventh order magician. McWeasley announces there is only one nominee for vice-president. He does the deed to nominate Palin. Somewhere Pawlenty is crying. “I vetoed 31 bills times for nothing?”
6:33 “Hockey Moms of the world unite!” (PSA: Do not let your daughter go steady with the local team’s goon.)
6:34 Alaska delegation going bonkers. Someone need to shoot a moose, quick. They all wear hard hats and neon work vests. “Drill, baby! Drill!” They chant. (Alaska to congress, not Bristol to Levi.)
6:36 McWeasley disappears. Guy with extremely hoarse voice nominates Palin. He gives the crowd the thumb-fist popularized by Clinton. He calls the crowd to stand for Sarah. His voice cracks. Mitch McWeasley reappears and takes over the mic just in time.
6:40 Sarah Palin is the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. It’s official. Lock and load, mudda-fukkas. Lock and load.
6:42 Barracuda blasts over the speakers. Republicans heart, Heart. Down on the floor, a pudgy guy from New Mexico raises the roof. But the VIP section remains pretty much empty. Probably a good choice, the next speaker is comparing McCain to a big elephant and the RNC to a youthful gathering. Like "traditionalist-feminism," saying "young Republican" aloud makes you cross-eyed.
6:46 News Hour host Gwen Ifill caught texting.
6:47 Gwen Ifill stops texting.
6:49 It’s about damn time. Some blonde takes the stage. She blasts the elite media. She tells them to turn around and listen up. Not a single head lifts from their laptops. Who wants to pay attention when your buddy Suemehda Sood from India is on Gchat?
6:53 Rosario Mario takes the stage, says “Buenos Noches.” White woman answer with “Aye! Aye!” Mario says she has plenty in common with Palin. She came to the U.S. without the ability to speak English and lives in California. Idaho delegation looks confused. But then Mario says her son has Down syndrome. Ahh, yes. Idaho nods. Mario says her son is now 23. That makes him too big to pass around during the speeches.
6:56 Zzzzzzzzzz. Boring night so far. The group is experiencing post-Palingasms. It seems like they just want to smoke a cigarette and turn over and go to sleep.
6:57 Black guy on the stage. I repeat. Black guy on the stage. Says we are special. Not Trig special, but special. Screen behind him flashes websites that provide hurricane relief.
7:01 Another Mexican takes the stage. Wait. Whoops, a Cuban. A Florida-based Cuban. Has plenty of foreign experience. Cuba is close to Florida, He hold his hand in a Clinton fist, too. Is this by design? I thought Clinton had a trademark on that.
7:06 Tim Pawlenty in the house. People give him a standing ovation. This is his tryout for 2012. He leads with a diss on Obama and shout-out to John McCain. Then he talks more about John McCain. “Put our country first.” Someone told him he’s not the VP choice, right? “Put our country first!” “Put our country first!” Did anyone tell this guy? “Put our country first. John McCain kick moral ass.” Someone told this guy he got passed up for a gun totting bassakwards Alaskan beauty queen, didn’t they?
7:10 Pawlenty talks about his patented "Sam’s Club Republicans"--i.e. poor and middle-class people who should vote Democrat but inexplicably vote to give tax breaks to the rich. If only. If only. Pawlenty is going off about the awesomeness of McCain. He’s giving him a verbal blow-job. And he ends it all by swallowing … his pride.
7:12 Bill Frist is still alive?
7:13 Frist tells the story of a poor kid he came across playing naked with a wheel and a stick. He says the kid has the name, America. Not sure if the story takes place in Sudan or Eastern Tennessee.
7:15 Frist hypes up medical diplomacy. Apparently, he has no idea how painful co-pays are at home.
7:16 BREAKING NEWS!!! Dieter in the house! Dieter in the house!!! German guy from the Advocate sits down. He pulls out a titanium Mac book pro. SAGHP reaches beneath my legs to help Dieter plug-in his power cord. Dieter says to SAGHP, “Oh, my god. You are the best.”
7:17 I’m vaguely jealous of SAGHP.
7:18 Frist finishes with a, “God bless the children of the world.” Wow, Frist sure as hell has never seen the children of East Cleveland. Those are some seriously poor, malnourished kids, too. But they are totally less photogenic. And they killed in long distance running, damn smog related bronchitis.
7:22 SAGHP and Dieter continue to flirt. No idea who this female this speaker is? But her speech is like the forty or so before. Step 1: John McCain got beat. Step 2: John McCain got character. Step 3: John McCain got his groove back. Step 4: John McCain stars in romantic comedy with Whoopie Golberg. Whoops. Shit. Didn’t want to give away the ending… sorry.
7:24 Guy announces that John McCain is part of the Teddy Roosevelt wing of Republican Party. No one cares. Pssst… name drop Reagan. Aww, man, the murmurs are twice as loud now. It’s like sitting through the slide-show of advertisements before the feature film. Get this thing going, we’ve got blow to snort and hookers to pound.
7:26 Old people chant: “Yes we will! Yes we will! Yes we will!” Take that Millennials.
7:27 Crowd is having trouble with the “we will” alliteration. They get tired mid-way through and simply cheer. “Yes, we--can we go back to POW stories and God talk now? All this chanting makes us tired.”
7:30 Footloose interlude. Texans doing synchronized hat wave. Pennsylvanians are doing yellow hanky wave. Crowd has absurd amount of homemade McCain signs that were made at home by the McCain campaign. Whatever interns they got to do them did a bang up job. They look authentic. Maybe they sub-contracted them out to some 5th grade illegals.
7:34 Mary Fallin takes the stage. She relives the domestic terrorism acts on the Oklahoma Federal Building. Off in the distance is the Fox news anchor. From this vantage point I can see her legs underneath her desk.
7:36 Fox News girl leaves desk, not that I’m watching or anything.
7:37 Speaker asks us to remember the big stick of Teddy Roosevelt? McCain’s mom is the only one nodding.
7:38 Fallin just uttered the word “haters.” That Daddy Yankee endorsement is really doing something to the Grand Old Party.
7:39 Video: Muslim haters. Dark people appear on the screen. They carry guns. They kill us. “The date was September 11th. 9-11.” Rudy appears on the screen and receives applause. “We will never let it happen again.”
7:42 Video ends. U-S-A chants begin.
7:43 Brian Clay enters the house. He’s that American decathlete. No, not Dan. No, not Dave. No, he doesn’t even wear Reeboks. But he flashes his gold medal. The theme tonight is sports.
7:45 Clay tells the story about convincing a Czech to run the 1500. People give him standing ovation because people love winners.
7:47 And speaking of winners… out comes Joe Gibbs. Yes, tonight is sports night. Keith Olbermann probably thinks he’s back in Bristol. (With Palin now on the ticket that last sentence reads dirty.)
7:48 Gibbs reads zero off the teleprompter. Gibbs doesn’t need a teleprompter. He coached the Redskins. He’s a physical education major. Hesah fukin football coach for chissakes. You think his halftime speech against the Broncos was rehearsed? Hell, no! You gotta speak from the heart, the only place that matters on the field of battle. Gibbs says he veered away from God’s game plan. Crowd nods. He continues to veer away from the speech. The teleprompter scrolls out of control. Does Gibbs even know how to read? I mean it. Why should he? You learn, X. You learn, O. What more do you need on the gridiron? And don’t answer steroids and a black quarterback with above average foot speed.
7:51 Teleprompter throws in the towel then shoots itself with starting pistol. It reads in all caps: “MUSICAL INTERLUDE.”
7:53 Gibbs finishes.
7:53 John Fogerty’s hit, “Put me in coach” blasts over the microphone. I have psychological issues with this song. Try playing baseball in Oregon during the spring. Every other inning is a rain delay and the only tape the announcer has is this garbage. “Put me innnnn coach!” Shoot me. Shoot me now.
7:58 Texans are back to the synchronized hat wave. Song ends. Fogerty fades out, theme from Top Gun fades in. “Highway to the danger zone.” Good song choice considering Sarah Palin is your VP.
7:59 Outloud thought: Is this the song that’s played when Republicans make their way to heaven? SAGHP doesn’t respond, he’s busy checking email.
8:00 Lindsey Graham comes to the stage with his girls’ name. That’s right, Lindsey Graham has a, aww forget it. Lindsey says the surge has worked. He looks insanely stoned. Is there good bud in SC? No matter. Lindsey says Obama sucks. He lets the terrorists win. But not John McCain. He wants to beat those beards back into their caves.
8:07 Guy wearing cowboy hat descends stairs with a giant stogie in his mouth.
8:10 Lindsey introduces a film about Sarah Palin aka Caribou Barbie.
8:11 Video highlights: Palin likes to moose hunt. Alaska is beautiful, the gateway to the Klondike. Video flashes a picture of her with a polar bear button on her jacket. It’s a symbol of something she kills. Palin receives a standing ovation. Tom Ridge appears and people sit down.
8:12 A guy with white hair sits down next to me in the spot reserved for the Jewish Press seat. “I’m not Jewish,” he says.
8:13 A guy with white hair gets up and leaves. “I thought this was row, D,” he says.
8:15 Dieter checks me out. SAGHP doesn’t notice. Life is once again wonderful.
8:17 Tom Ridge tells the story about McCain in the primary. It’s like the story of the Natural. At any moment a baseball will strike Mitt Romney and sparks will fly out his head.
8:21 Norm Coleman’s group sits directly behind me. They are drunk.
8:22 While the DNC built up to a climax, the RNC is building up to a let down. Absent tonight are the POW stories, the Hanoi Hilton references, the fact that he cannot salute the flag because of the torture he endured for his country. What replaced them are stories of McCain being a Maverick and not quitting when the chips were down. It’s gone from War stories to half assed half-time pep talks.
8:28 More Top Gun musical interludes
8:29 Video: Cindy Lou McCain; The everyday Budweiser heiress next door.
8:30 The Palin’s show-up. Bristol and Levi holding hands again.
8:31 McCain lied about his age to get laid. Maybe we do have things in common…
8:33 Budweiser money helps Bangladeshi children.
8:35 The McCain’s make their appearance. Delegates wave white signs that read, “We Love Cindy!” Cindy introduces the family. Boys have perfect high and tight haircuts. Cindy tells the government to get out of our way.
8:35:01 Government moves.
8:41 Whoa… I just spaced out and thought I was at a Miss Universe pageant. Up on the blurry jumbo screen that’s hidden behind the stage--but visible to the hacks typing away on their computers-- she looks about 24.
8:46 Cindy is really straining to read the teleprompter. They even write in the word “[APPLAUSE]” to help her out.
8:50 Bristol and Levi stand. They release their grip to clap. Bristol and Levi sit down. They immediately hold hands once more.
8:53 Seriously boring speech. But every speech tonight was seriously boring. The programmers tonight whipped up a whole lot of nothing. And Cindy McCain is a snore.
8:55 It ends. It finally ends. Cindy stop reading the teleprompters and Johnny Be Good blasts over the speakers. Texans do synchronize hat wave again. People begin to wake up from their Cindy-induced coma.
9:01 Reporters who already filed their last story for the week wander back in, severely drunk and happy this shit bang is almost over. The crowd starts dancing around.
9:04 Video: McCain. It’s like something from the History Channel. It reminds the audience that this guy is old. He has seen a ton. But if he wins and then croaks early… the country is in the hands of Palin, who is ready to shotgun beers off the First Dude's “Artic Cat.”
9:13 or maybe 9:11 John McCain walks into the center of Xcel. Cheers. Claps. The electronic flag waves in the background.
9:15 An Iraq Veteran Against the War stands in the balcony holding up a sign: “McCain Against Vets.” He succeeds in his protest. The crowd ignores McCain. They chant “U-S-A!” directly at the soldier/protestor.
9:19 Is McCain standing in front of a green screen on purpose? Is this a shout-out to Steven Colbert?
9:23 CODEPINK protestor squeals. She sidetracks McCain. Another CODEPINK protestor squeals. McCain deals with it well: “My friends. Don’t be diverted by the ground noise and static.”
9:25 Thing are getting interesting Protestors are disrupting the speech. They are ruining his flow. Every so often a cry yells out and the delegates respond by chanting U-S-A! U-S-A! The Secret Service is standing at attention. Hands are up to their earpieces.
9:28 Things are returning to normal. McCain will stop all pork barrel spending--but what if it’s for Alaska? He fought tobacco and healthcare companies and union bosses. (The union bosses line is the only one the crowd claps at.)
9:31 John is feeling it now. He’s in a groove. He doesn’t mind a good fight. He’s been through battles. He is much better at town halls. He fights for laid-off workers from Michigan. Yay, Michigan’s crap economy!
9:38 “Taxes: Boooooooo. Taxes: Boooooo. Taxes: Booooooo.”
9:39 Government Healthcare: “Booooooooo.”
9:40 John starts the meat and potatoes part of the speech. Fellow journalists make like SAGHP and start surfing the web.
9:42 McCain says bad teachers need to find another line of work… like teaching PE?
9:44 “We’re going to stop sending $700 billion to countries who don’t like us very much…” and invest it in the Zoolander school for kids who can’t read good and wanna learn how to do other stuff good?
9:48 Text from friend in Miami: McCain’s a terrible orator.
9:53 Whenever McCain talks about working to end partisan politics the crowd gives him golf claps. When he spews partisan bombshells the group screams. When he gives them his awkward looking grin they look back with awkward looking grins of their own.
9:55 Finally, McCain talks about his POW moment. The story of all stories comes from the dude who lived it. Can McCain’s yarn about McCain top Thompson’s yarn on McCain? Maybe. This is the first time McCain speaks naturally. You can tell he’s told this story before. This is the first time he actually sounds human.
9:59 Crowd is eating up this story. It’s the story about McCain being a POW and falling in love with his country. It’s a good story. Have you heard about it? You know, the McCain POW story?
10:03 McCain starts saying the words “Fight with me!” again and again and again and again and again and again and this crowd is severely drunk right now off his POW story.
10:05 Speech ends. McCain start waving. “We’re all just raising McCain!” blasts through the speakers. McCain and Palin families walk out onto the stage.
10:06 – Balloons drop from the ceiling. Levi cusses himself for not wrapping it up.