August 31, 2004
In the Heart of Darkness
Dick Cheney sat just a few rows in front of me. Thousands of Republicans pumped there fists, yelling "woo, woo, woo" as Rudy Guiliani disgraced the memories of our dead neighbors in his partisan rant-- a skilled rant filled with the lies we've come to expect-- but it was almost a comfort to have any residual positive feelings for Rudy from his unifying role on 9-11 dissolve as he laundered that goodwill into partisan bile.
Having marched with the hundreds of thousands of protesters on Sunday, it was almost surreal to be sitting in the stands at the GOP Convention, courtesy of a press pass from my gig at the Progressive Populist. But heck, it couldn't be stranger than for Michael Moore, who John McCain referred to as a "disengenous filmmaker", leading the crowd to drown him out in roars as they pointed at Moore sitting in the press gallery. Moore smiled and tipped his hat to the crowd, soon leaving for the television interviews that would have to follow.
The lies of the night are that skilled Bushian variety. Any individual sentence is merely exaggerated or bent just a little, but paragraphs are constructed to convey ideas that are complete lies. The classic of the night was of course the endless-- we needed to respond to 911. We had to defeat Al Qaeda, so we had to go to Afghanistan. And of course we had to fight terror by Saddam Hussein, making a link that has been repeatedly proven to be a lie. Or Rudy's comment that Saddam Hussein was himself a weapon of mass destruction, a way to repeat a lie, refuse to apologize for the lie.
Or the man from the Justice Department who defended the Patriot Act. He attacked critics for saying that the Patriot Act allowed searches of peoples' homes without informing them of the search. He said that was untrue, since judges had to issue warrants. That nonsequitor, seeming to refute the charge, of course did nothing of the sort.
It's a testament to how weak their arguments are that the GOPers won't make an honest case. Why not just say they are willing to trade off some civil liberties for greater security? It's a reasonable, defendable position, but one they know they would lose. So they lie.
Or they can't just say it was good to remove Hussein because he was a dictator, a very reasonable position, since they know many will say, but couldn't that goal have been accomplished with less destruction of Iraq?
So we had last night's spectacle. Interestingly, the crowd roared louder when Cheney's name was mentioned. Maybe it's because he was present, but it seemed reasonable that this crowd just feels more of a "red meat" connection to Cheney, who so unapologetically lies on behalf of the Iraq War, refusing to concede a point to reality.
The negative attacks on Kerry are all part of the package. Us "Bush haters" don't have to attack Bush as a person, because we can name policy after policy we disagree with. But th Bush people know that Kerry's real position on the war-- it was neccessary to put pressure on Hussein, but the rush to war without finishing the inspections process and strengthening our alliances was a disaster-- is the position most Americans agree with. So they have to lie about Kerry's position and make him out to have changed his mind.
They can't mention domestic issues, since they know on health care and taxes and jobs, Kerry's positions are more in tune with the country. They can't discuss the environment, since they know Kerry's positions are more popular. They can't mention civil rights given Bush's laxness in enforcement and promotion of antigay policies.
So that leaves lies and the politicization of the 911 dead. Sitting in Madison Square Garden amidst the whoops for that policy, it makes me long to go read Pat Buchanan's new book. Where he hates, it's at least honest hate and bigotry, not the manufactured cynicism I experienced last night.
Posted by Nathan at August 31, 2004 09:24 AM