I’m not watching the RNC convention. (“Why bother?” I thought, since I pretty much know the Repo script and it’s just as simplistic as Starlight Express, though with a plot that has far less contact with reality). But Cecil’s posts made me curious, so I poked around. From reading about the convention at Tacitus, Instapundit, Power Line, Real Clear Politics, and various other places, it sounds to me as though William Saletan summarizes Wednesday evening pretty well:
The 2004 election is becoming a referendum on your right to hold the president accountable. That’s the upshot of tonight’s speeches by Vice President Dick Cheney and Zell Miller, the Republican National Convention’s keynote speaker.
The case against President Bush is simple. He sold us his tax cuts as a boon for the economy, but more than three years later, he has driven the economy into the ground. He sold us a war in Iraq as a necessity to protect the United States against weapons of mass destruction, but after spending $200 billion and nearly 1,000 American lives, and after searching the country for more than a year, we’ve found no such weapons. Tonight the Republicans had a chance to explain why they shouldn’t be fired for these apparent screw-ups. …
“A senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequence to the nation,” said Cheney. “But a president always casts the deciding vote.” What America needs in this time of peril, he argued, is “a president we can count on to get it right.”
You can’t make the case against Bush more plainly than that.
If the convention speeches are any guide, Republicans have run out of excuses for blowing the economy, blowing the surplus, and blowing our military resources and moral capital in the wrong country. So they’re going after the patriotism of their opponents.
There’s much more, including the inescapable logic that the Bush plan is to make our country more like a banana republic than ever before.
Unfortunately, after the speeches, the talking heads (yes, I read through their transcripts too) were very polite and accommodating to their Repo masters. For instance, before Chris Mathews’ interview with Miller—the one that had Miller wishing out loud that we could return to the days of legal duelling—the Hardball bunch spent half an hour parroting the Repo line, from Mathews calling the speech “an indictment of John Kerry” to Brokaw and Russert criticizing Kerry’s Senate record. The Internet has also reacted very predictably, with opinions that were set before the convention began. (The Daily Howler is all over last night’s lies. QandO has a roundup of online reactions that criticizes both sides. And an extensive collection of links to blogviating about Miller’s speech is at Daly Thoughts.)
By not watching, I didn’t miss anything except more of the same, and perhaps a little more high blood pressure. But I hope a lot of undecided voters were watching. Miller’s dishonest and antiliberty ravings would scare thoughtful lovers of democracy; the metabehavior of the press and bloggers won’t change voter attitudes at all, but perhaps the actual behavior of those in power will. And so the hope in progressive minds has to be, “oh, I do hope the Republicans are getting tremendous ratings.”