If they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. But did they make it there?
Well, the Grand Ol’ Party has finished with their party with minimal surprises in NYC. Bush and Cheney were renominated. The Bush twins said what they wanted. Alan Keyes put his foot in his mouth. Candidates for 2008 were hitting the states with early primaries and caucuses. And the Governator was a big hit.
Here is what I saw in New York.
1. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had one of the biggest applause lines when he questioned Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911. Some say McCain had no idea Moore would be there. All the better that Moore was in the balcony. Moore handled it gracefully by taking a bow. McCain’s follow-up line? “I’ll have to use that line again.”
2. VP Cheney’s line that about the flip-flops of Sen. Kerry. “John Kerry sees two Americas. The feeling is mutual. America sees two John Kerry’s.” Personally, I thought it was a great line from one whose lines are not normally fit to print.
3. Senate candidate Alan Keyes (R-MD or IL or whoever needs him) comment about Mary Cheney, the daughter of the Vice President, was a classic Keyes. Say what is on your mind and don’t think about the consequences. Or as is quoted often, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” Keyes said in a NY interview that gays and lesbians were "selfish hedonist." When asked the obvious follow-up question regarding the daughter of the VP, he didn’t back down from that description. Well, I guess we know Cheney won’t be campaigning in Illinois with the candidate. Illinois Republicans are continuing to wonder if they would have been better off with letting Obama have the seat by default.
4. Ads hit the papers and airwaves that were asking good questions. Sojourners, an Evangelical Christian group that’s primary focus is “spiritual renewal and social justice”, released a print ad stating the obvious: “God is not a Republican … or a Democrat”. (That’s obvious. She is a Green.) The ad states that God is not the express property of either party and for someone to say that God favors one candidate over another is blatantly wrong. The Log Cabin Republicans ran an ad on national cable TV and in the NY market quoting Ronald Reagan: "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears." It was Reagan's opposition to a California ballot initiative that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in the public schools that was instrumental in starting the Log Cabin Republicans 27 years ago. The ad asked if the Republicans are going to be the party of Reagan or a party that will “follow Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum's lead by dividing the GOP with an intolerant social agenda based on fear and exclusion.” A question for the Log Cabin Republicans: why are you folks still members of the GOP? GOP doesn’t stand for the “Gay Ol’ Party”.
5. Was it the “in your face” attitude against gay and lesbians that kept Mary Cheney and partner out of sight when the families joined the nominees on stage? Mr. Cheney, your family has every right to be there with you on stage. Mary should not have to miss this family celebration because of her sexual orientation or the bigotry of some of the people in attendance. This omission is not what a party sporting “family values” should have shown the nation.
6. Speaking of daughters, the Bush twins took center stage showing their independence and dissing Grandma Bush ever so slightly during their 5 minutes of acceptable fame. Even the delegates weren’t sure how to take the comment about “Sex and the City”. The hamster comment, a direct reference to the Kerry kid’s story of dad saving the hamster with mouth to mouth, was a good one, though. “We had a hamster, but he didn’t make it.”
7. President Bush summed up the election very well with this comment from his acceptance speech, "You know what I believe and where I stand." Mr. President, that could be as damning as Kerry’s remark about examining his record.
Final shot, it was obvious that the Republicans wanted to “give ‘em Zell” in the keynote address. It is a shame that Miller does not come close to the description used about him as the “conscious of the Democratic Party”. His accusations about Kerry’s record were stretches if not blatant lies. Sen. Miller showed his true colors with Chris Matthews on MSNBC with the after convention interview. A duel?
Oh, well, it’s good to be in the heartland for the next 60 days. This campaign will not be pretty. Uglier by the day and we’ll be here to call the campaigns on it.