The second night of whoop-de-do is underway in NYC with Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) yapping and pledging to "stay behind the podium" this time, a self-deprecating reference to her Oprah act (well, Phil Donahue act) from the last convention.
Things are starting to get interesting here–she's segued from defense and the killing of terrorists and into a different ethos: "We believe in life." And life, she's making clear, doesn't include gay marriage (though it does include the Man from Galilee, a confirmed bachelor).
If the GOP pulls off another night like last night, it's possible that John Kerry will concede by lunchtime tomorrow. But that's unlikely once the terrain shifts from the War on Terrorism, etc. and to domestic and cultural issues.
I'm also getting a sense that the Republicans may be setting themselves up for a fall. At some point during Rudy G.'s performance last night, I started thinking that he was a political Scheherezade, that he had to keep telling stories to stave off the inevitable–not his own execution in this case but the appearance of the actual sitting president to whom all props are directed. Like Marlow in Heart of Darkness (or, more appropriately given Kerry's konundrum, Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now), we're sitting around waiting for the audience with Kurtz, receiving more and more incredible stories of his greatness and wonder. After a certain point, you realize that the mystery man is never going to pay off your expectations.
Kerry only had to worry about Bill Clinton as a warm up act (and a very good, but ultimately irrelevant rant from Al Sharpton); the Dems further helped him out by letting Jimmy Carter et al run off at the mouth. Between Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bush, no Daniel Webster in disguise, is going to have do a pretty swell job to make the final night of festivities something other than a disappointing anti-climax.
It may well be that the GOP convention is shaping up as the political equivalent of the 1984 movie Footloose. Throughout that godawful kids-gotta-dance flick (which, being an '80s movie, features a Kenny Loggins-infected soundtrack) the tension builds toward the inevitable moment when Kevin Bacon, who has singlehandedly brought dancing back to town, has to hoof it for the cameras–and manifestly fails to deliver the goods. How many degrees of separation are there between Bacon and Bush?