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The International Writers Magazine
: Comment

Republican Convention 2004
ELEPHANTS ON EIGHTH AVENUE
James Campion

"You can slap lipstick on a pig, but it don’t make it the prom queen."
Voodoo Madam Sissy Meechum

As far as charades go, the Republicans put on a hum dinger in NYC last week. Unabashedly fabricated references to God and Country and weepy nonsense about fear and military might managed to fuse nicely with insane comparisons of the president to FDR and this clusterfuck in Iraq to WWII. It was an off-Broadway production worthy of Fosse and Goebbels that spent more time trashing the opponent than trumpeting the ugly facts this administration has wrought, smartly spinning the debate back to those halcyon days just after 9/11 when George W. Bush was the angry monarch and all dissenters were labeled treasonous.

The Karl Rove Show is open for business, DON’T WORRY ABOUT MY RECORD, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE OTHER GUY FOLLIES - and it has a two-month run.

Thanks to the zombies over at John Kerry For President, who’ve refused to aim their candidate in taking a stand on anything, the Bush people were able to make the 2004 Republican National Convention a referendum on the opponent, deftly avoiding a "celebration" of the past four years of recession, war, and jingoistic madness.
Politically, it’s easy to understand why for the first time in memory the candidate being nominated for the most powerful post in the land took a back seat (more like the trunk) to the ostensible concepts of the party, all of which were released in its platform; that is, of course, before unleashing a litany of speakers who don’t support much of it.

Celebrity social liberals like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain recalled the tragedy of 9/11 to connect the jagged dots to everything but Aids in Africa, while Arnold Schwarzenegger wooed the immigrant vote with a rousing speech, although admittedly my anxiety tends to rise when I see an Austrian standing at any podium waving his fist to thunderous applause.

In starkest contrast, conservative Southern Democrat, Zell Miller, a phony loon who had the balls to trash the voting record of a senator when he voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was mildly entertaining in that Al Sharpton - "I’m a crazy pissed guy, pay attention to my rant" kind of way. He barked like a strange amalgam of Billy Graham meets Lester Maddox with a three-mile stare spooky enough to remind us all that there are parts of this country better left in the shadows. Bush’s kids are idiots, no surprise there, and his wife was cheerily plastic. Our vice president took up 45 minutes of network airtime looking like he’d rather be getting root canal surgery without a local than speaking to delegates foaming at the mouth. But his tough guy routine is getting as tired as Bush’s cowboy bit. Here is a man with five - Five!- military deferments calling a wounded veteran a wimp. I don’t know, maybe someone somewhere outside that convention is buying these eastern establishment corporate bullies as John Wayne and General Patton, but it’s hard to fathom.

Frankly, the 2004 Democratic National Connection made me embarrassed to cover politics. The RNC made me sick to be human.

Those "tributes" to the victims of 9/11 and the use of the widows of the fallen were the height of exploitation and so blatantly inappropriate in a political arena the ghost of Boss Tweed was aroused in downtown Manhattan and seen scrounging for coins in the toilets at Grand Central Station.

Sitting at home for most of it, and wandering around Madison Square Garden looking for a coherent homeless guy to hand over my credentials to was bad enough, but at least I thought the streets would be alive with protesters or GOP supporters raging with political fire. Instead there was the usual "Look At Me" dinks and college kids trying to score drugs or get laid and 7th Avenue whores tossing plastic Gatorade bottles at Chris Matthews’ head.

There were some Log Cabin Republicans protesting gay rights and a women’s group with a Right to Choose thing going, but mostly cops and helicopters and generator trucks. I was tempted to go hear my friend Bernstein play anti-Bush dirges in Washington Square Park, but I’ve got deadlines and the president was speaking on Thursday night.

So in the grand tradition of my award-winning "Clinton Mia Culpa Speech" presentation here are some highlights of our 43rd president with defining comments parenthetically inserted for clarity:

"I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. (With the notable exception of 9/11) If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. (Not counting 9/11) This will not happen on my watch." (Except, of course, 9/11) "I am running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives." (Except if you’re gay, don’t believe in God, or disagree with anything we say) "To create jobs, (Would you like some fries with that?) my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent." (It’s probably a good idea I stop the insane spending of this Republican controlled government and start creating the record number of jobs lost while I was in charge the first time around) "We will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy." (Not even I really believe this bullshit coming from me) "In northeast Georgia, Gainesville Elementary School is mostly Hispanic and 90 percent poor. And this year, 90 percent of its students passed state tests in reading and math." (Did I just make the analogy that poor southern Hispanic kids are normally dumb?) "I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law." (Like those crazy fuckers who put me in office) "Despite ongoing acts of violence, (If you haven’t noticed) Iraq now has a strong prime minister, (American Puppet) a national council, (More Puppets) and national elections are scheduled for January." (Bet that goes as well as the rest of this thing) "The terrorists know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate." (You know, like Israel, there’s no terrorism over there) "I have returned the salute of wounded soldiers, some with a very tough road ahead, who say they were just doing their job." (A job, I, myself, got out of ‘cause I’m rich) "By promoting liberty abroad, (Bombing more of the brown people) we will build a safer world. (Safe like Iraq) By encouraging liberty at home, (Phone bugging, racial profiling, and passing more laws to throw people in prison for even spelling terrorism) we will build a more hopeful America." (Or I’ll kill everyone while trying)
© James Campion
realitycheck@jamescampion.com
JamesCampion.com

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