September 02, 2004


Andrew Sullivan is back from vacation and isn't any more impressed with the Republican National Convention than I am.

How to convey the spectacular incoherence of last night's continuing infomercial for the re-election of George W. Bush? The evening began with a series of speeches trumpeting vast increases in federal spending: on education, healthcare, AIDS, medical research, and on and on. No, these were not Democrats. They were Bush Republicans, extolling the capacity of government to help people, to cure the sick, educate the young, save Africans from HIV, subsidize religious charities, prevent or cure breast cancer, and any other number of worthy causes.
What a complete and utter joke these things are. I''m a swing voter, so I know both parties are trying to pitch to me right now. And I am not going to let myself get huckstered by either one of them. The Democrats pretended to be Republicans at their convention and swaggered more than generals at a Latin American military junta's parade. And now the Republicans are pretending to be big-government bleeding hearts. Gimme a break, people. If you want my vote, don't insult my intelligence. Seriously.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 2, 2004 01:22 PM

It is interesting though that you and Sullivan see it so differently. Sullivan is claiming that Bush has in fact been a big government bleeding heart and you are complaining that they really are not and trying to fool you. Sullivan wants them to be Reaganite and you are claiming that they really are Reaganite's trying to put one over on us. I love you both, but I think you are both wrong in different ways here.

Posted by: Lance at September 2, 2004 01:53 PM

Wow, big surprise. Sully blogs, Totten quotes. Monkey see, monkey do.

Pretty tough words from someone who posts below about not even following the topic in question.

But Sully is against it, so Totten must be too.

PS: I hate to burst you ego, but holding the two-party system hostage to your individual vote is LAME.

PPS: I fully expect to be called a racist, nazi, bigot, dixicrat, brownshirt and (gasp!) homophobe for disagreeing with Sully and his Pet Blogger. Here is me shedding a single tear. Bo-hoo!

Posted by: Mike at September 2, 2004 01:58 PM


Chill out. You're not a Nazi near as I can tell.

Yes, I posted below about not following the topic in question. And I've been following it for the past couple of hours now because I can't find news about much else that's interesting. I'm going to write about Zell Miller, too. I've read the speech now and seen the video with him and Chris Matthews.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 2, 2004 02:13 PM

I fully expect to be called a racist, nazi, bigot, dixicrat, brownshirt and (gasp!) homophobe for disagreeing with Sully and his Pet Blogger. Here is me shedding a single tear. Bo-hoo!

I wouldn't call you any of those. I would call you rude and infantile, though.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 2, 2004 02:17 PM

A.S. has become a shrill shill. Oh well.

I paid alot more attention to what Senator Miller said and what the Vice President said than anything else.

Of course, one notes that Administration did spend the money on the stuff they said they did, so I'm not seeing them pretending to be anything than what they are, unlike, say Senator Xmas-in-Cambodia.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 2, 2004 02:25 PM


You should check out Zell Miller's speach from last night. Then check out his tearing Chris Matthews a new one later.

While you can make a substantial argument that the whole thing is an infomercial to you, trying to say the same thing about Zell Miller is going to make you look dumb. The Senator from Georgia did not get fired up last night as part of a commercial.

I think you're seriously missing something.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at September 2, 2004 02:33 PM

I see you HAVE seen Zell's great national defense speech.
Listing defense votes that Kerry voted against, against, against ... (should have written in a cadence, the audience wanted to join in! Just like Rocky Horror!)

[I want to see ALL of Arnold, but can't find a video download.]

Note the Kerry says he wants to talk about the issues -- which is ALL that Zell talked about; so the Left says Zell is full of hate. He's sure angry at the Dems...

Blinded by Bush-hate into supporing phoney Kerry.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 2, 2004 03:06 PM

The conventions have become infomercials. MT is right. Zell Miller's speech last night was thrilling/disturbing depending on your view because it was heartfelt and honest. That doesn't mean it was right or true. But honesty and genuine feeling are rarely expressed at things like this. That's why Miller stood out.

Posted by: spc67 at September 2, 2004 03:14 PM

I suspect that the Republicans are a lot more likely to follow through on their implicit promises to make government bigger than the democrats would be to follow their own respective implicit promises.

Posted by: Jaybird at September 2, 2004 03:27 PM

I agree with double. You're probably not a nazi, but you don't have to be such a sarcastic ass about it.

Posted by: David at September 2, 2004 03:47 PM


Well DUH! Of course it's an infomercial. Just as the Dem convention was. It is the Right stirring it up. I've watched about 10 of these so far (20 if you count both sides) and they are always infomercials. The only difference is whether the knife goes through the tomato or the aluminum can.

It's politics and I've been waiting all year for this. Don't lose track of the purpose of the conventions. They are not there to please the opposing party. They are not there to satisy the media. They are there to generate excitement in the undecided and to wind up the faithful and send them into a righteous spin. I think the Dems forgot but the Publicans are smokin' hot this year. Every time a lefty whines another notch gets carved into the bedpost!

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at September 2, 2004 04:32 PM

Suppose they're pitching to the undecided.

The biggest part of the undecided at this point is people who have been trying not to pay attention.

If you're trying to get somebody's attention just long enough to get them on your side, when they don't want to pay attention, it's hard to underestimate their intelligence.

Keep it simple. Never mind whether it's lies -- they wnn't pay attention anyway.

There are people who say the one who cares least about a relationship controls the relationship. Here's an election where the ones who care least about the election control the next 4 years.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 2, 2004 08:55 PM

Say what you will about Sullivan's take on the Republican Convention, his review of the Democratic one was ABSOLUTELY dead-on.

Visit the site. It's titled "Nice Convention, Shame About the Candidate". And I'm not exactly one to rant and rave about Andrew Sullivan. This article just hits so many things on the head, though.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 2, 2004 09:26 PM

Why do people care what gold-plated-bandwidth scamming Sullivan says? A few more links from you folks and he'll need another pledge week to pay for the traffic! Pfft.

Posted by: Mason at September 2, 2004 10:41 PM


Just discovered your blogsite. Excellent here!
I'm a bit more conservative than you are, I suppose, but I do like your analysis of the RNC Convention, although I basically liked it.

One thing, though: you state that you're a little older than Matt Yglesias, and that some 12 years ago it was easier to be a Republican, in terms of party identification.

I don't remember it that way (I'm 36). I remember, first, last and always, the media ALWAYS made it uncomfortable to be a Republican and to be proud of it. The same was true on any campus I visited (there were no conservative student groups with any visibility at all) in the late 1980s.

Republican registration has moved to parity with the Democrats, nationally only NOW, and much of that is due to the fact that alternative media and talk radio actually let people of conservative Republican views feel like they could be open about it, even AFTER Ronald Reagan left office. Imagine what it would have been if the alternative media had the pull that they do now, for good reason, back then!

Posted by: Aaron at September 3, 2004 07:50 AM

Aaron: you state that you're a little older than Matt Yglesias, and that some 12 years ago it was easier to be a Republican

Actually, I said it was easier to be a non-Republican 12 years ago. I have never been a Republican, but I'm closer to being one now than I have ever been.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2004 10:37 AM

Are you . . are you UNDECIDED? For the love of GOD.

Posted by: kc at September 3, 2004 04:16 PM

I don't see how you think the Reps are anything less than "bleeding hearts" -- how high does gov't have to go?

I don't think you're being honest with yourself on this -- what is the measure of a bleeding heart? Bush, as Sully and other small-gov't types say, is failing, miserably, at making gov't at all smaller--he IS a big gov't Rep.

Almost certainly 4 years of Kerry would see a smaller gov't than 4 more years of Bush. Because the Reps wouldn't let Kerry spend like he promises -- but they WILL let Bush spend as he wants.

You have gay friends, Sully is gay. Kerry is against gay marriage; so is Bush. But only Bush means it. You WILL GET a president who opposes your own position -- do you honestly want the one who is lying?

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 3, 2004 04:26 PM


This election isn't about gay marriage for me. It's one variable out of many that are on my back burner. But at least Kerry doesn't want to change the Constitution.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2004 05:58 PM

Comparing a Senators Keynote speech to a protester,a private citizen?

That is real lame.

Posted by: Mac at September 3, 2004 10:07 PM

Ahh, yes, you hit on something just then, Michael.

Same-sex marriage as an issue shouldn't be a top-tier kind of thing. It isn't for me, honestly. I'd love to see every one of my gay friends who want to get married be able to if they so choose, but that's kind of small stuff compared to keeping us all safe or doing something about the 45 million people with no health insurance. But it hits at something that does matter alot to me: Fucking w/ the Constitution.

The Republicans are so drunk with power right now, it scares me. They're so drunk with power, they're proposing 3 Amendments to the Constitution in their Party Platform! If that's not the mark of big government, I don't know what is! It's no wonder the small-government agenda is being thrown out the window under Bush. Republicans control the government and are kind of saying to themselves, "hey, this isn't so bad." Principle is buckling to power and, for the sake of democracy and limited government, someone needs to give them a solid bitch-slap back to reality.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 3, 2004 11:08 PM

I hope people vote for John kerry for HIV/AIDS related issues, he has alot planned and I know many who are supporting him!

Posted by: DaveyBoy at September 4, 2004 03:26 AM

Mr. Totten: I do think you are mistaken about the current Republican party faking its big government agenda. The entire administration is certainly not composed of big government conservatives, but it is certainly the administration's honest leaning. Which is a good thing, in my opinion. There are some things only governments can do, and in modern society there are a few additional things that only government can still do well. Given that Bush is the better choice when it comes to global security, may one not hope that - when it comes to matters like poverty and education and Africa and AIDS - the next Bush administration be sincere about its agenda of compassion?

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at September 4, 2004 05:53 PM


Posted by: Glenda Trantham at September 5, 2004 10:05 AM
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