Minnesota DFL Upholds Midwestern Values

Well, you can’t say that the Minnesota delegation to the Democratic convention did anything to hurt the reputation of Midwesterners, although they may have reinforced a couple of stereotypes while in Beantown. The Star-Tribune’s Kevin Duchschere reports that the Party apparatchiks were hardly party animals:

Boston is one of the nation’s most historic cities — and it’s apparently gone largely unseen by members of the Minnesota delegation.
Unlike at other recent national conventions, it seems that most of them spent their time attending campaign training workshops, interest-group caucuses and forums, DFL spokesman Bill Amberg said.
“The stakes are sky-high and people are amazingly focused,” he said. “Half the delegates come back to the hotel, have a beer and go to bed.”

Probably at 8 pm, because Lord knows, those cows ain’t gonna milk themselves.

The Main Event

OK, I may be taking most of the evening off, but I’m not going to miss a chance to live-blog this. Kerry just hugged a bunch of guys who look like they prefer handshakes, and now he’s thanking the crowd. Here we go (all times CT):
9:12 – I’m reporting for duty? With a salute? Out of uniform? That was lame …
9:14 – So far, he’s no Barack Obama. He’s home. We get it.
9:15 – Cute joke about the West Wing. Made me smile.
9:15 – “Trees as the cathedral of nature”. Hug a cathedral today.
9:18 – Those of you who had the 6-minute square in the Jack Kennedy reference pool just won the kitty. So far, not too bad. He’s got some energy and a bit of humor, although he just hit the trust and credibility meme.
9:21 – Now he’s going senatorial … “I will have a [blah blah blah]” … that style may work in the Senate, but it sounds like a haughty lecture. He learned nothing from Obama or even Edwards. He’s not talking with people, or even to people, but at people …
9:23 – A bit better now, especially when he talked about the 90’s and balancing the budget. Oh, and for all of you conspiracy theorists, Kerry just accepted the nomination, so no fake-out for bigger bucks forthcoming …
9:25 – “This son of a millworker is ready to succeed” … as opposed to “That son of a bitch knocked me down.” Well, he’s nuanced …
9:28 – Not bad, really, so far. Long on theme, short on anything specific, other than the reflexive Bush hatred. Now he’s evoking 9/11, something that his party will scream at when Bush does it…
9:29 – He wishes that there were no Democrats and Republicans? Fighting a war on the cheap?? This, from the guy who voted against the funding for the troops? Oh, please. Take two steps backwards…
9:30 – “We only go to war because we have to.” After twelve years of failed containment, I suppose this means Kerry would have waited until the sanctions utterly collapsed, Saddam re-armed, and actually did catastrophic damage before doing anything about him …
9:33 – “Conduct terrorist operations … er, anti-terrorist operations.” Paging Dr. Freud to lingerie …
9:35 – “Strength is more than just tough words.” Something we learned the hard way while we tried to ignore the terrorist attacks on American assets all during the 1990s, mostly with the foreign-policy team Kerry uses for his campaign …
9:36 – Sounds like Kerry has a good plan for homeland security. Too bad he wasn’t in the Senate where he could have introduced legislation to push that plan ahead. Oh, wait …
9:40 – Enron made its way into Kerry’s speech, followed by drug companies.
9:42 – “Help is on the way” – now it’s help? Last night it was “hope.” No wonder they have trouble staying on message.
9:44 – He’s getting better at his delivery as he goes along. He’s talking a bit faster, but still mostly delivers in a stentorian monotone…
9:50 – Wow, we’re going to fit all the moonbat theories in tonight, throwing in the Saudi royal family. Once again, great, let’s not rely on them. Why did you oppose broader drilling in the US, then?
9:52 – Kerry’s got a nerve — implying that Bush sells out to the Saudis and then, one minute later, urging him to take the high road! Now he talks about eliminating division! You gotta be kidding me!
9:54 – And now he makes a point of saying that he doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. Way to be a uniter and keep that positive message going, pal. Bush hatred keeps him going and going and going …
9:57 – Wound up his speech by getting wound up. Obviously the crowd loved it; he pretty much fed them the red meat they wanted and managed to get shots in at Bush despite the Kerry/Edwards insistence on maintaining a positive tone. Most of where Kerry defined himself relied on comparing himself to Bush, a sure sign that Kerry fears his ideas only stand up in opposition, not in leadership.
So endeth the convention. It remains to be seen whether Kerry did anything except excite the base with the four days that made up his fourth introduction to the US. I predict that in seven days, he’ll still be tracking even at best with Bush.

Here’s Another Guy Who Got His RNC Credentials

CNN reports on another new-media kind of guy who got credentials to the Republican National Convention next month in New York City:

[CNN’s Tom] Foreman: Are you going to go to the Republican convention?
[Michael] Moore: Yes, I am. I already have my credentials.
Foreman: How do you think you’ll be received there?
Moore: I think it will be fine. Are you implying that Republicans are not nice people?

Michael Moore, the auteur who brought you Fahrenheit 9/11, has been credentialed as a columnist for USA Today, who earlier felt that Ann Coulter was too incendiary for publication. I suppose they feel no reservations about Moore’s well-known track record for making things up and pulling facts out of context and twisting them to his own purposes.
Perhaps I’ll get a chance to interview Moore. I have my copy of Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man; I’ll be sure to bring it.

Edwards Blinks — A Lot

I’m watching the John Edwards speech, having missed the first few minutes of it, and am not terribly impressed. He’s a good speaker but not terribly energizing. He takes a more conversational approach, and the constant cheering seems a bit strained to me. Only at a few points was it matched by a high point in his speech.
“Hope Is On The Way” — are they implying that Clinton will replace John Kerry? After all, he was the Man From Hope. Maybe that’s what they’re hoping for from John Jr, but while he speaks more naturally than John Sr, I just don’t think it’s much more than a typical smooth politico’s voice. And I don’t know if the stagehands put a spot directly behind the camera, but whenever Edwards looked straight ahead, he either blinked constantly or squinted his eyes. It got to be distracting, as though he was either light-sensitive (migraine?) or trying too hard to look analytical.
He has a lovely family, and from some of the descriptions of his wife’s intro floating around the blogosphere, she will be a real asset and possibly an antidote to Teresa, and Lord knows the Dems could use one. Best I can say is that he did no damage, but the populist “Two Americas” speech seems a bit tired — and let’s not forget it was ultimately a loser in the primaries.
Hey, but hope is on the way — Clash Of The Titans comes on at 10 CT on HBO Family. Isn’t that where I came in this morning?
UPDATE: It’s the next morning, and John Edwards’ address to the convention has mostly slipped my mind. It was weightless, a sort of rehash of his primary speech with a dash of John Kerry endorsement thrown in. However, if you want a hilarious live-blog take on the Edwards speech and the reasons you may want to think twice about Edwards’ “Two Americas” bandwagon, check out Deacon’s post at Power Line:

10:28 Edwards predicts that the Republicans will have the audacity to criticize the Democratic ticket this fall. …
10:33 Under Kerry-Edwards, we’ll have only one school system. Sounds like Communism to me. The best teachers will be moved to where they are most needed. Sounds like Chinese Communism to me.
10:34 We’ll also have only one economy, not the two we have now consisting of people who do well and people who don’t do that well. Sounds like, oh never mind. …
10:48 If you have stubbed your toe, hope is on the way.
10:49 If you’re a soldier in Iraq, hope is on the way. But funding wouldn’t be, if Kerry and Edwards had had their way.

Read the whole thing — there’s plenty more analysis. One thing for which Edwards deserves credit: he actually introduced John Kerry to some extent, something that the rest of the lineup didn’t bother to do tonight.

Bob Graham Cools Them Off

Bob Graham has killed all the momentum that Al Sharpton provided with his emotional and raw attack speech on George Bush. His problem is part content and part delivery. He’s almost as exciting as John Kerry, and that’s no compliment.
First, he compared the first 1000 days of WWII to the War on Terror, saying we have not even established a beachhead. Perhaps that’s because this isn’t an amphibious war, Senator. We’ve managed to liberate 50 million people, though, something we couldn’t claim in WWII until far later. Then he said that proposals to fix security holes still haven’t been implemented 1,000 days after 9/11, but he failed to mention that the bipartisan commission insisted upon by the Democrats only delivered those recommendations last week.
I was going to live-blog his speech, but it’s very hard to do that when I keep falling asleep. He’s managed to stomp out all of the energy at Fleet Center. Why do they have this guy on in prime time?

Al Sharpton Fires Them Up

Sharpton veers far from his approved speech to attack George Bush on prime time, continuing the Festival of Bile at the Fleet Center.

I guess Al Sharpton didn’t get the memo from the Kerry/Edwards campaign that he was supposed to stay positive on the stump. Sharpton gave a fiery speech intended to answer George Bush’s overture to the Urban League earlier this month. After giving only a cursory mention to the ticket’s public policy aims, Sharpton aimed instead squarely at Bush. At one point, Sharpton screamed into the mike:

“Mr. President, read my lips — our vote is not for sale!”

Sure seems that way to me, Al … they’ve been sold out to the Democrats for decades. Sharpton even worked in a reference to reparations, which probably caused John Kerry to have kittens backstage.
Way to be uniters, guys …
UPDATE: CBS Market Watch has the prepared text of Sharpton’s address to the DNC tonight (via Drudge). If you watched him speak, you can see how far Sharpton drifted from the speech the Kerry/Edwards campaign vetted. None of the votes-for-sale theme was part of the original speech Sharpton submitted, including the “read my lips” reference, nor the statement that the black vote had been bought by the “blood of four little girls in Selma,” a nod to Spike Lee, who is in attendance.
Kerry apparently can’t keep his party on message, and the Bush bile-o-meter keeps on a-rising…

If I Was President, All Of You Would Kill Me

I’m watching the Democratic convention right now, and although I can hardly believe it, the Dems have presented a film (“If I Had A Minute With The President”) in which children give George Bush advice on policy. It’s like asking Amy Carter her advice on the most pressing issue of the day about 100 times over. No wonder they invited Jimmy Carter back to the convention this year!
No, none of them identified nuclear proliferation as the biggest problem in the world, but we got to hear about animal habitats, racism, the homeless, and so on. If you’re inclined to take your political advice from 12-year-olds, the Democrats are the party for you!
As if that weren’t bad enough, former Denver mayor Wellington Webb then introduced singer Wyclef Jean to sing a song as a companion piece. Now, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the sideshow acts at the convention, but this one was just appalling. Who sings about being assassinated by Americans if they got elected at a nominating convention? Howard Dean’s favorite singer, that’s who. Wyclef Jean broke some sort of record by squeezing in as many tired political cliches as possible in a four-minute song. Try these insipid lyrics on for size:
Yeah…shout out to children, United Nations, [unintelligible],
John Kerry support foster children,

[spoken]Right about now, if you’re Democrat, let me see your hands in the sky right now…
[chorus]Yeah … yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah …
If I was President, I get elected on Friday,
call a peace treaty Saturday, stop the war Sunday,
Send the troops back home Monday,
If I was President, if I was President, if I was President, yeah …
Instead of spending billions on the war,
I can use that money so I can feed the poor,
‘Cause I know some so poor when it rains that’s when they shower,
screamin’, “Fight the power,”
that’s when the vulture devours,
I know some soldiers who sleep but they can’t dream,
wake up and scream, sounds of M-16,
So take this Medal of Honor for your bravery,
I wish you the best kid, you and your family …
But the radio won’t play this, they call it rebel music,
How can you refuse it, children of Moses,
tell the children the truth, the truth is not all I play Mr. Diamonds,
tell the truth, is that you wear cubic zirconias
Tell them the truth, the truth, your life is worth more than
diamonds and gold …
If I was President, If I was President, If I was President …

[shouted]If you feel me, stand up on your two feets right now!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
If I was President, I’d get elected on Friday,
assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday,
send the troops back on Monday, If I was President,
If I was President.

The entire song was appalling, but the last chorus predicting that Americans would assassinate him has no place in a national convention. Will the Democrats embrace this message of hate?

Captain’s Quarters Invited To Republican Convention!

I am thrilled to announce that I received an invitation from the Republican National Convention to represent the blogging community when George Bush is nominated for a second term!
The Committee on Arrangements sent out the invitations this evening:

For the first time, bloggers will hold an on-site presence at the Republican National Convention called “Bloggers Corner.” Positioned near Radio Row, credentialed bloggers will have the opportunity to connect with delegates, guests and other surrogates for interviews, and to provide original content, including multimedia, to their audiences. Through this behind-the-scenes look at the convention’s proceedings and events, bloggers will play an important role in telling the story of the 2004 Republican Convention.
Bloggers Corner will be located in Madison Square Garden’s Theater Lobby in the corridor adjacent to Radio Row. Electrical outlets, tabled work stations and necessary hook-ups for laptop and other portable computers will be available for high-speed Internet and Intranet access. Main TV monitors will also be accessible in all convention common areas including Bloggers Corner and will carry closed circuit coverage of all floor activities.

The First Mate and I discussed the opportunity to do this, and she supports my decision to go 100%, even though she has some security concerns. (She won’t be able to accompany me, as she won’t get accredited for the floor and probably wouldn’t be up for sitting in a hotel room all day and all night long.) However, we both feel that political activity has become even more important in the war on Islamofascist terror, and if I backed away from this extraordinary opportunity, it would constitute little more than a Spanish-style surrender to fear.
Besides … what could be more fun, and more meaningful, than being part of the most crucial presidential election in a generation?
I’ve already booked my flight, and have asked for some guidance from the COA on finding a room (which they offered as a courtesy to the bloggers invited). As accommodations can be rather expensive, I’ve added a PayPal tip jar to the left sidebar to defray some of my expenses for the trip. I can guarantee you that I will be going regardless of what funds I receive, but if you think you’ll enjoy my coverage of the convention and you have a few bucks to toss in, I’d certainly appreciate it.
And even if you don’t have a few bucks, let me tell you, it was you folks who got me credentialed for the RNC. You’ve made this blog far more successful than I ever dreamed possible, and I’ll never be able to tell you just how much I appreciate it. Thanks for everything!

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UPDATE: Fixed PayPal button … Hat tip to Pete at One Big Swede!
UPDATE II: Wizbang and Slant Point are also invited. Looking forward to meeting you all there! And if you aren’t comfortable with PayPal but you’d still like to donate (bless you!), drop me an e-mail and I’ll let you know where you can send a check.
UPDATE III: More bloggers get credentialed — Michele at A Small Victory, and Matt Margolis (a no-brainer — he does run Blogs for Bush, after all). (Hat tip: Mind of Mog)
UPDATE IV: Added an Amazon donation option, per your requests!
UPDATE V: Big thanks to This Blog Is Full Of Crap, which has suggested sending money to CQ rather than Andrew Sullivan, since Sullivan has decided to endorse John Kerry. At least one of his readers has already put that plan into action.