Republican Convention 2008

Dateline: Minneapolis

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Your reason team began its invasion of the Twin Cities yesterday afternoon, just in time for a corporate-tastic "MORE TO LIFE" party at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. On the way there I ran into the staff of The Daily Show, who were bummed that Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty wouldn't return their calls and credential them for the Monday-Tuesday Rally for the Republic. "If they're worried that we'd make fun of them: Well, yeah," said field producer Miles Kahn. "Who do we not make fun of?"

Back to the party. It was on a slightly smaller scale than the corresponding party in Denver, which I take as a further sign that corporations are putting their money on blue and expecting to work with Democrats come January. Security was mellow, hence the presence of Code Pink ne'er do well Medea Benjamin:

The topics of the night were Hurricane Gustav and Sarah Palin. On Gustav, I'd characterize the Republican reaction as one long "phew." Bush and Cheney can't come to the Twin Cities? Oh, too bad! Fresh-scrubbed Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will be on TV screens demonstrating how a zero-experience executive gets things done? Good luck to him! No one yet was talking about the possibilty of further convention nights being cancelled or reworked. That's all happening today.

On Palin, what had been a sense of euphoria was tempered by 24 hours of blinkered news coverage. The consensus was that Palin could be a disaster or a narrow boost. If McCain had picked a bland white guy running mate, he'd be on the path to defeat: with Palin, he at least has a chance of exciting the base and pulling some female independents for victory. Be assured, exciting the base was what this was all about. Rumors swirled about how much money the campaign had raised since the pick (around $7 million) and how this was a jolt for bored, distaff conservatives. But there's a heavy expectation that reporters will try and trap Palin in a gaffe on an issue she 1) doesn't understand or 2) disagrees with the 72-year old guy on. And if that happens, we're in Quayle Country, population Ferraro.

NEXT: I Dreamed I Saw Todd Palin Last Night, Alive as You and Me....

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  1. So Sarah Palin is to be held to a higher gaffe-standard than the other three candidates?

    I thought the bar was pretty low as one POTUS candidate doesn’t know how many states there are and the other doesn’t know how many houses he has. Joe Biden can be measured in words per gaffe and it is not even triple digits.

  2. “But there’s a heavy expectation that reporters will try and trap Palin in a gaffe on an issue she 1)doesn’t understand or 2)disagrees with the 72-year old guy on.”

    When did we cede so much power to reporters? Really, if there goal is to play gotcha at the expense of the electorate, isn’t it about time we stated regulating “Big Media”?

  3. “When did we cede so much power to reporters? Really, if there (sic) goal is to play gotcha at the expense of the electorate, isn’t it about time we stated regulating “Big Media”?”

    They consider themselves the fourth estate. So, what, exactly, short of libel laws checks their power?

  4. John Stewart getting snubbed by the Ron Paul campaign is a great example of the 1st ammendment in action. Stewart can make all the jokes he wants about who ever he wants, and anyone who thinks he is biased is free to not hang out with him.

  5. “John Stewart getting snubbed by the Ron Paul campaign is a great example of the 1st ammendment in action. Stewart can make all the jokes he wants about who ever he wants, and anyone who thinks he is biased is free to not hang out with him.”

    You confuse comedy with reportage.

    Though to be fair to Stewart, he sure has come around on Obama jokes. He brutalized Obama during his Democratic Campaign “coverage”. That can’t be helping with the youth vote.

  6. Does Biden get a pass on gaffes because he’s perceived as some kind of superhero in the “experience” department?

    Just imagine the media’s reaction if Trent Lott had said “”I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

    The double standard is astounding. Why is that idiot given a pass with the media setting traps for Palin?

  7. “John Stewart getting snubbed by the Ron Paul campaign is a great example of the 1st ammendment in action. Stewart can make all the jokes he wants about who ever he wants, and anyone who thinks he is biased is free to not hang out with him.”

    So all McCain has to do to get fair media coverage is stop hanging out with the New York Times?

  8. So, has anyone on the Reason team been caught up in a SWAT raid yet?

  9. I think we’re going to get mucho gaffes from both sides. There’s plenty of time yet.

  10. “I think we’re going to get mucho gaffes from both sides. There’s plenty of time yet.”

    But that goes back to Jimmy Olson’s question “When did we cede so much power to reporters?”

    Do we really want our leaders chosen via a game of musical gaffes?

  11. Security may have been mellow at the convention parties, but unfortunately this hasn’t been true in other parts of the city. Police and FBI agents have been busily intimidating activists by raiding private homes, confiscating computers, arresting journalists and lawyers, and in general acting like Beijing cops at the Olympics.

  12. Hey, who pays that knucklehead Benjamin to roam the nation anyway?

    I’m just askin’…

  13. I don’t think the Paulians should snub/ignore Stewart, but at the same time they shouldn’t be pushovers. This constitutes a perfect opportunity to humiliate them via some event like a 100 yard dash for reporters (and slide in some ringers who can really RUN) or something, because we know they’ll have an agenda it would screw-up. At least a long and humiliating session of telephone tag is appropriate at this point…
    JMR

  14. Hurricane Gustav got to be a topic? Sweet! I’ll be on my way to safety(sort of) in about an hour or so. FEMA check, here I come!

    *crosses fingers*

  15. Yeah, Chuck, I’m kind of curious to hear what the Reason team knows about the raids on activists and journalists.

    I’d assume that libertarian journalists, being all skeptical of cops and war and cool on civil liberties would be prime targets. Hell, I kind of worry for Radley Balko, given how many cops he’s pissed off.

  16. “Yeah, Chuck, I’m kind of curious to hear what the Reason team knows about the raids on activists and journalists”

    You don’t need reason to tell you. The answer to that is here (look at the photos):

    “http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_10346122?source=rss”

    Do you support the plans they made?

  17. You confuse comedy with reportage.

    For many people, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are their sole sources of political coverage. And while Jon Stewart is funny (though not as funny as Colbert) he is a partisan left-wing cheerleader who takes a disproportionate number of swipes at politicians sporting an R versus those sporting a D. I can see why the Paulites are leery about him mocking their mock convention.

  18. Crap! Stuck in Gautier now!

  19. “And if that happens, we’re in Quayle Country, population Ferraro.”

    I lol’d.

    As for Paul and the Daily Show, that’s unfortunate. Yes, of course TDS would mock them. But if I recall correctly Jon Stewart was very nice, almost supportive, when Paul was on his show during the campaign. That kind of snub is unjustified, and it’s not like Paul is really in a position to be picky with his publicity.

  20. California Kate–

    I read the article, which is 90% devoted to giving the police version of events, and looked at the photos. If you’re referring to the ALLEGED plans to block the roads so the delegate buses can’t gt through, then it sounds to me mostly like a nonviolent protest, which hardly justifies full-on raids by SWAT teams in masks and body armor.

    As for the photos, except for the “shield” and the supposed buckets of urine, it looks pretty much like what you’ll find in my garage. What does “materials that Fletcher said could be made into Molotov cocktails” mean, anyway? They had empty bottles and gasoline there? Send ’em to Gitmo!

    Far more concerning, though, is this:

    Police surrounded a duplex at 951 and 949 Iglehart Ave. shortly after 1 p.m. Two women who left the house were handcuffed while officers waited nearly two hours for a search warrant to arrive. The other occupants remained in the house until it was searched, when they were taken to the back yard in handcuffs.

    The search was connected to the convention, said St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh. Without elaborating, he said the home was being searched for “probable cause to believe there was illegal activity there.”

    There were at least 10 people in the home and most were out-of-town visitors who identified themselves as journalists. Some in the home are here to document police activities and possible police improprieties during the convention, said Eileen Clancy, a co-founder of I-Witness Video, a New York-based media group.

    The search ended when police found nothing of interest.

    And this:

    Several squad cars pulled over a bus heading eastbound on Interstate 94 near Minnesota 280 around 6:20 p.m. Saturday and impounded the vehicle. No arrests were made.

    Delyla Wilson, her husband and daughter live on the bus and use it as a mobile permaculture demonstration, going city to city to teach people about sustainable living practices. They made the RNC part of their tour.

    Wilson said police told her at first it was a routine traffic stop, but then later said they were impounding the vehicle to execute a search warrant at a later time. Officers allowed the seven people on board to get their dogs and chickens off the bus, she said, but weren’t allowed to retrieve their computers and other personal belongings. They waited about two hours to get a ride from a friend.

    This is intimidation, plain and simple. The police well know that by the time the courts can issue any relief, the convention will be over.

  21. Without elaborating, he said the home was being searched for “probable cause to believe there was illegal activity there.”

    Excuse me. Aren’t you supposed to actually have “probable cause to believe there was illegal activity there” before you search the place?

    Oh I forgot. Everything’s different since 9/11.

  22. Aren’t you supposed to actually have “probable cause […]”

    Well, how does a warrant sound? They got those.

  23. Isaac, I’m just spitballin’, but I would hazard a guess that it was more like “the home is being searched on the basis of…”

    The wording is just way to clumsy to actually mean the police were fishing.

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