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RNC, Night Four -- the view from Cow Hampshire

I'm planning on starting on the liveblogging around 8:30, when General Franks takes the podium.

After my stellar record of predictions last night (I went 1 for 4, and nearly backed out of my one successful one), I'm gonna invite everyone else to make predictions. I'm opening up betting pools, and everyone is invited to wager in the comments. And I'm actually offering prizes -- I have GMail invitations up for grabs. Betting closes at 9:55 Eastern Standard Time, and the decision of this judge is final.

1) How many times will President Bush use the word "evil" in his speech?

2) How far into his speech will Bush first use the word "evil?"

3) How long will it take for Bush to refer to either "Kerry" or "My opponent?"

The pool is now open...

J.

8:30: Geez, that's enough brass to equip a marching band. More evidence that the military is generally a fundamentally conservative organization, and the feeling's mutual. This is intended to gut Kerry's military record as a weapon against National Guardsman Bush... I dunno if it'll work, but it'll help. It'll help a LOT.

8:34: "I'm Tommy Kelly, and I approved of this message." For an instant, I thought it was gonna be "...and I'm reporting for duty." Damn... that woulda been SO DAMN BRUTAL.

8:38: "I choose to fight them... over there." "Over there, over there, send the word, send the word over there. That the Yanks are coming..."

General Franks has obviously been reading my pieces about why we shouldn't treat the War On Terror as a law-enforcement issue.

"Hope is not a strategy." It's also not a birth control method. But it is a place in Arkansas that has much to answer for...

8:43: Is the waving flag behind General Franks giving anyone else "Patton" flashbacks? If I hear him say "We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass" or mentions "a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face," I'm calling foul.

And there's a kick to the "unilateral" line of attack against Bush... although I wish he'd given real numbers.

8:50: Overall, Franks didn't say that much exciting or surprising -- or even that significant. The real message here is the messenger. Franks is a highly-decorated, highly honored, very successful and popular soldier. His book's at the top of the best seller lists. And that was a HUGE number of fellow flag-rank officers behind him. That's taking Lieutenant Kerry's military credibility and knocking it down to size.

8:55: "Dancing In The Streets." Please, last night was bad enough! Don't encourage them! Dear God, not more dancing Republicans!

The horror... the horror...

8:58: Clarification on the betting: Bets need to be stated in minutes from Bush's first word into the microphone, and no, losers need not pay for losing. But bribes are always welcome...

9:00: Another mention of Bush's Oldsmobile. I wonder if I'm the only one who instantly associates politicians and Oldsmobiles with Chappaquiddick and Ted Kennedy causing the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

"...did everything he could to avoid the dance floor at my wedding." Hell, even he agrees Republicans shouldn't dance! Forget the No Gay Marriage or No Flag Burning amendments. We need a Constitutional Amendment to keep Republicans from dancing.

9:05: Oh, this is too rich. Just a little while ago Bush got into a pissing match with the NAACP for skipping their annual meeting. Now their 2004 Image Award winner is singing at the Republican National Convention. Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it, Julian Bond.

9:20: Another "immigrant makes good" story, with anti-Communist personal testimony. I wonder if I'm the first person to compare Mel Martinez with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

And I wonder if I keep mentioning Schwarzenegger just to prove I can spell his name without having to look it up or cut and paste?

9:42: Pataki's up now. And it's more 9/11. He's reminding us just how we all pulled together at that time, in so many ways large and small. I remember doing my small part at the time, as did my co-workers. It's a cliche', but it's true: sometimes it takes the worst to bring out our best.

9:44: And you're welcome, New York. We all know you took the hit, but it could have been any of us. And it could be next time.

OK, now Pataki's going after Kerry. More red meat... I don't think he'll match Miller, but it could be nasty.

Only if we're lucky.

Nope, he's praising Bush. That's fine -- there's a record there to be pushed forward.

"He said he'd do it, and he'd did." That could come back and bite Bush on the ass. Just attach that to his inevitable gaffes and misstatements.

I'm having Dr. Seuss moments. "I mean what I said and said what I meant."

OK, NOW we're going after Kerry...

9:48: "Hype is on the way." A for effort, but no winner. "Win one for the Gipper, lose one with the Flipper." Better, but it doesn't quite do it, either. Pataki's trying like hell, but just can't quite get a rallying cry out.

Oh, good, he's kicking Clinton. Not even mentioning them by name, but it's abundantly clear he's kicking the husband of his state's junior senator. But last night they had Kerry's governor and lieutenant governor go after him...

9:53: "A box cutter is a weapon of mass destruction." No, a WMD is a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon. And we've found a couple dozen chemical weapons in Iraq -- why the hell hasn't that gotten bigger play?

"Respectfully, Senator, that's not good enough." Damn straight.

10:01: Man, I hope this is the last time I have to see dancing Republicans for another four years. Forget WMDs -- if we could have linked THAT to Saddam, the invasion would've had at least 98% support.

Did I just see Rudy Guiliani kissing Ron Silver? I thought the GOP was the party AGAINST gay rights, gay marriage, etc. etc. etc.

10:07: NICE reveal. Stage magician worthy -- the crossing flags, then Bush appears and steps out from between them. Someone's being very, VERY clever...

10:12: Say what you want about Bush's speaking ability, you must acknowledge this: unlike Kerry, he doesn't step on his own applause lines. He lets the crowd give their response. That's where Kerry shows he's a lousy speaker. As was said about Chris Matthews, part of being a great speaker is being a great listener, and that's one place Kerry and Matthews fall down. Bush LISTENS.

10:14: Does that pride extend to Neil Bush? He seems more like a Kennedy than a Bush...

10:18: "Nothing will hold us back." Bill Clinton had "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," Dubya's got Starship's "Nothing's gonna stop us now." At least it's better than when Reagan tried to co-opt "Born in the USA" without actually LISTENING to the lyrics, and getting smacked (rightfully) by Bruce Springsteen. I think that's what turned Springsteen from bard for the common man to liberal activist; it was a backlash to Reagan's trying to hijack his song. Can't really say I blame the Boss... it was one of Reagan's biggest gaffes.

10:23: So far, I haven't really seen the advantage of the "Theatre in the Round" format. Maybe it's because I'm watching on TV, maybe because C-SPAN is using a very tight closeup that just shows Bush and the flags on the screens in the backdrop. Maybe Kevin can tell us if it's different there in person.

10:25: "In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code." It's not a pledge to abolish the IRS and the income tax, as was rumored few months ago, but it's something.

10:30: "As I have traveled our country, I have met too many good doctors, especially OB-GYNS, who are being forced out of practice because of the high cost of lawsuits. To make health care more affordable and accessible, we must pass medical liability reform now. " Take THAT, John Edwards.

And is it obvious that Kevin came through with the text of the President's speech? Much obliged, Fearless Leader!

10:31: "Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security, and dignity, and independence." This oughta give the "all property is theft" loonies screaming nightmares.

10:33: "This principal is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations." Now the President is stealing from me!

OK, OK, I stole it from someone else. But it's refreshing to hear my thoughts shared by the President -- who once again is refusing to step on the audience's reactions.

10:37: "The web address is not very imaginative, but it's easy to remember: GeorgeWBush.com." He shoulda said it was "dubya-dubya-dubya-dot-georgewbush.com." Woulda been a nice touch.

Yes, he smacks Kerry a bit, but nowhere near as brutally as others (especially Zell Miller). But in an appropriate way. Straight, but not rough. Needling, not stabbing. Almost.... dare I say it? Presidential.

10:45: Another protestor hauled off. She apparently went off just as Bush talked about "nuculer weapons." I suspect an English teacher finally snapped. I don't blame her -- it drives me nuts, too.

10:48: Another protestor, I presume -- C-SPAN didn't show this one. I'm wondering if it was another English teacher, or if Kevin found his way back into the Cablevision Suite? I sincerely hope Mrs. WizBang can wire him the bail money... IF she wishes to wire it to him...

10:52: "...breed violence for export." Paging Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, please pick up the white courtesy phone."

10:55: "I actually did vote for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it." That single line is going to be used over and over and over, driven like a stake through John Kerry's heart. And rightfully so. It's gonna be the "brainwashed," the "Poland is a free nation, " the "malaise," the killer rabbit, the driving the tank photo op, of 2004.

11:00: "Our good friend Israel." 'Nuff said.

11:02: "In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, 'Germany is a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed.' End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials." Nothing like a Presidential bitch-slapping of the New York Times. And when it's so richly deserved.

11:05: "People sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it." Now I regret Kevin gave me the text in advance. I wish I could've heard that line cold.

11:12: Wow. He's not the greatest off the cuff speaker, and he's not the greatest at a prepared speech, but George W. Bush had my eyes welling up when he was talking about the families of those who's lost loved ones in the war on terror. Maybe it's just the fatigue (I'm normally asleep before 10, and this is the fourth straight night Kevin's had me up to midnight, then working a full day), maybe it's just my screwed-up emotional issues, but he got to me tonight. I look at him and I think, "he gets it."

Bush was on track to be an entirely unremarkable president before September 11. Congress was blocking his appointments, the economy was floundering, and nobody really was too bent out of shape about anything. 9/11 changed all that. The man who became president for no real visible reason suddenly found himself facing challenges no president had faced in almost 60 years. And he found a purpose for his presidency.

Update: I'm going to bed. Winners will be announced tomorrow, and invitations issued as promised.


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Comments (22)

1. 42. 13 Minutes<br... (Below threshold)
Matt:

1. 4
2. 13 Minutes
3. 17 Minutes

I will be so wrong.

1. 122. 14 minutes<b... (Below threshold)
tony:

1. 12
2. 14 minutes
3. 18 minutes

And I'm guessing he spends the first 4 1/2 minutes talking about the fam.

My predictions:1. ... (Below threshold)

My predictions:

1. 3
2. 3 minutes
3. 3 minutes

1, 2, and 3 are the same, because I suspect Bush will reference his "evil opponent" :-)

No Gmail for me if I win though. However, if you lose here, feel free to ask me. I have a few for grabs.

1.) Our President shall use... (Below threshold)
Darby:

1.) Our President shall use the term Evil, 6 times

2.) He shall wait 6 minutes before the first Evil will be used.

3.) 4 minutes before he mentions Kerry or Opponent.

1. 202. Fifth sen... (Below threshold)

1. 20

2. Fifth sentence

3. Seventh sentence

And since this is a betting pool, that means when i'm wrong i have to give you something? Uhm.. well you could have this pen... or some of these papers from my desk

1. 02. Won't happen<... (Below threshold)

1. 0
2. Won't happen
3. Ditto

1: 102: 5 minutes<br... (Below threshold)
Greg D:

1: 10
2: 5 minutes
3: 10 Minutes

I compared Martinez to Arno... (Below threshold)

I compared Martinez to Arnold at 8:19 central.

What do I win?

I'm betting he says this:</... (Below threshold)

I'm betting he says this:

When I said those words four years ago, none of us could have envisioned what these years would bring. In the heart of this great city, we saw tragedy arrive on a quiet morning. We saw the bravery of rescuers grow with danger. We learned of passengers on a doomed plane who died with a courage that frightened their killers. We have seen a shaken economy rise to its feet. And we have seen Americans in uniform storming mountain strongholds, and charging through sandstorms, and liberating millions, with acts of valor that would make the men of Normandy proud.

Evilwhiteguy, you certainly... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Evilwhiteguy, you certainly live up to your name. Cheating bastard...

Besides, betting's closed. And I've already determined the results...

J.

And he might close with som... (Below threshold)

And he might close with something like this:

To everything we know there is a season. A time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America - and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward - grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth. God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.

I only cheated a little...<... (Below threshold)

I only cheated a little...

"I Hope you Dance"? <... (Below threshold)

"I Hope you Dance"?

Not from what I saw...

Perhaps Womack was hoping t... (Below threshold)

Perhaps Womack was hoping that the vast right wiggling conspiracy takes up some dance classes?

I would like to apologize i... (Below threshold)

I would like to apologize if my "outting" of two paragraphs of the speech was considered out of line. I was not trying to cheat. If I wanted to cheat, I would have used the text that was sent to me to make "guesses". At the time, I thought it would be humorous to make such an accurate prediction.

This is one of my favorite blogs, and I do not wish for anyone here to feel ill will towards me. I'm a convention sponsor, after all. I would not have donated and then done something malicious on purpose.

If I have angered or offended anyone, I offer my sincerest apologies.

Evilwhiteguy, your apology ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Evilwhiteguy, your apology is NOT accepted. You attempted to subvert my contest in a way that is completely unfair and unacceptable, even for someone whose name STARTS with "evil." There must be appropriate punishment for your misdeed.

By the power vested in me by Lord Kevin, Ruler of all WizBang, I hereby banish you from participating in any future contests I run revolving around American national political conventions -- Democratic AND Republican -- for no fewer and no greater than six months.

Should you be found in violation of this exile, you shall be taken from herel be bound and gagged, stuffed into the trunk of an Oldsmobile, and Senator Ted Kennedy shall drive you until he finds a suitably high enough bridge. Then he shall drive off said bridge and you shall drown until you are dead.

The decision of this tribunal is not subject to appeal.

J.

(Official Jester and Royal Kangaroo Court Magistrate of Lord Kevin I)

When he started his speech,... (Below threshold)
tony:

When he started his speech, I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 9:11pm, I was waiting for the Dems response to that, how Republicans are even using the time of day to exploit 9/11.

Then I remembered I'm not on Eastern Daylight Time anymore, and they were only exploiting it to my 1/4 of the country.

That would only be fair if ... (Below threshold)

That would only be fair if Ted were handcuffed to the steering wheel.

Jay, you crack me up. He di... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Jay, you crack me up. He did good; he was Presidential. The line about "11:05: "People sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it." pasted and copied because I can't spell it, was hysterical. So was his saying "Some people think I'm blunt; you can blame that on the white haired lady over there." (his mother of course). Did you mention the "swagger?" "In Texas, we call that walking." Precious. And he can't speak Spanish either. I saw his eyes tear up and his throat quibble when he talked about the families who lost a loved one; thought if they didn't take the camera off him then, I was going to sob and so would he. They took the camera off him. This man is human and he is humane. I love him to death. "If you have shortcomings, everybody will see them, so you better have lots of strengths." He's the man and he more than gets it.

But the line actually was "I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started correcting me." and he smiled. I laughed out loud. This was great stuff. he's a good man and we're lucky to have him. I just don't know if I can take 2 months of Kerry, the GIRLIE MAN!!
~C

and cut it out about dancin... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

and cut it out about dancing Republicans... they must have heard you because they didn't show the Texas hat dancing people tonight. (big grin) And no we didn't see the floor move, we watched it on tv!! too funny, wish I knew you better.
hehehehehe I was so tired last night I couldn't post on "your view from cow hampshire" but I did end up waking up 2 hours later to watch what was happening in Russia and writing about it. Finally, I shut it off when they started announcing Clinton's bypass surgery - hell, he's not the president anymore, give it a rest. Then back to Russia again with a final post on the day there. And if anyone says "the Russians stormed in" I am going to bust their chops!!
ttys,
still got those negatives, need them when I can't sleep at night, :-)
~Cindy

aw, no comeback?sh... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

aw, no comeback?

sheesh!!

:-(

No comeback, Cindy, because... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

No comeback, Cindy, because I was working at 5:00 a.m. Friday and as soon as I got home at 6:00 p.m., I ate dinner and went to BED. I haven't even bothered to declare the winners yet, let alone rebut you!

("Rebut you." I'm so tired, that sounds vaguely obscene. My apologies.)

And while I'd dearly love to keep pounding the "Dancing Republicans" theme into the dust, I will yield to your sensibilities (certain photographic negatives notwithstanding) and drop the theme until Kevin volunteers me to liveblog Dubya's inauguration parties. Besides, my cat is issuing similar demands, and he has sharp pointy claws.

J.




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