Republican Convention 2008

The Friday Political Thread: The Garden of Mutual Resentments

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Most of the Twin Cities' temporary population packed up their suits, filed their business cards, and put wheels up at the airport early this morning. I stuck around to work and take in some of those alleged "sights" that had been separated from us by a whole lot of steel fences and a whole lot more cops. Cruising down the highway, looking for my exit, I spotted one of the boys in blue (in yellow jacket and black riot gear, if you want to get all specific) swinging his arm, directing us to move away from the exit and into the fast lane. I did. As we passed the exit, I did what the cars in front of me were doing and slid back into the slow lane.

Deja vu—I thought I saw that cop again. I did see that cop again! He was right next to me, hand-chopping and pointing like an extra in Return of the Dragon, demanding that I pull over. "Stay there!" he said. I stayed there for about 15 minutes until he came back. "Did you see me back there?" Gulp. I did. "You were not allowed to stay in this lane. I'm going to let you off. But the next officer you see, you do what he says. OK? All right?" OK, all right.

The police presence in St. Paul was striking, far more pervasive than that of Denver. While Denver's Pepsi Center was surrounded by a huge perimeter fence, nothing inside but the convention, media tents, parking, and a CNN Grill, the St. Paul XCel Energy Center (and its appendenges) were blocked off from the rest of the city with a labyrinth of gates, some opening out next to bars, some opening out onto busy streets. You could see a friend on one side of a fence and walk ten minutes to find the exit that let you join him. While you did so, cops would leer as if you were smuggling a kilo of china white stuffed inside of novelty dynamite sticks.

The cops were only nominally there to protect the speakers. Anybody worth John Wilkes Booth-ing was in D.C., "leading" on Hurricane Gustav. Mostly, the cops were there to protect us all from the protesters. It was the most absurd over-application of force since Xerxes says "screw it, how about 10 more legions?" at Thermopylae.

But that's just the way everyone liked it. The protesters were mildly put out by the fines they had to pay when they got arrested. Other than that, fantastic! They wanted to get arrested. They wanted to shame the Republicans, and failing that, to be able to say to their friends that they'd shamed the Republicans. And they fed the media. Alt weeklies and left-wing radio had a drama to uncover, ready-made proof of the police state's rottenness. Fox News, blasting from every bar and from a Blade Runner-worthy enormoscreen that leered above the security perimeter had an easy story to cut back to every day. The most surreal moment of the convention for me was walking past that screen, seeing a report on "the protesters moving towards the stadium," and seeing… nothing.

The protesters and the Paulistas were engaging in a more apparent, more low-key version of what Republicans had this week and Democrats had last week. They were acting out, proving to themselves that there's a reason for their boiling political anger. It was a little less obvious with the Democrats, if only because they're running the less pessimistic campaign this year. But you could see it in the way their candidates framed their speeches and their biographies. Joe Biden isn't the word salad-tossing blowhard who's reigned Washington since the original release of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. He's a scrappy kid from Scranton, who grits his teeth about this here Bush economy as you are every time he boards the train to work. Sarah Palin isn't an amiable social conservative with a resume shorter than that of John Edwards. She's a hockey mom! Why do you hate hockey moms?

It's never going to make sense watching a made-for-TV-event from the inside. I understand that the Clinton's solipsistic speeches, Obama's monster truck rally, and Palin's just-follow-the-script bash-o-thon played great in living rooms. Behind the cameras, you see the results of taking politics too seriously: tens of thousands of people engaging in voluntary resentment, fantasizing about the use of state power, and calling themselves part of movements.

See you in four years! Bring more flags.

And if you want to chew it over some more, consider this the weekly political thread.

NEXT: Poor Charlie

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  1. I don’t think the people using the term “angry hockey mom” in an endearing manner have ever actually met an angry hockey mom.

    We have youth hockey in my state. Those women are something.

  2. Nothing much happening around here. Anything going on in your neck of the woods?

  3. I call for the formation of a new political movement; The Cartmanians

    SCREW YOU GUYS
    WE’RE GOING HOME

  4. McCain still thinks he can switch Michigan w/o Romney?

  5. McCain still thinks he can switch Michigan w/o Romney?

    Apparently he thinks he has a shot. I don’t, but I thought he didn’t have a shot at getting the GOP nod.

  6. It was a little less obvious with the Democrats, if only because they’re running the less pessimistic campaign this year.

    Are you living in some alternate universe?

  7. Yeah, but primaries are a bit more unpredictable than general elections.

    I don’t see him getting Michigan when hes down in places like Virginia and Colorado. Whens the last time MI went GOP? Like 1988?

  8. I honestly think the only Kerry state McCain has a shot in is New Hampshire.

  9. Barack Hussein Osama is a Secret Muslim
    controlled by the Bilderburg Group

    McCain is part of the CFR and a puppet
    for the Milatery Industrial Complex!

    VOTE RON PAUL 2008!!!!

  10. Who knew that teen pregnancy was a political asset?

    Bill Bennett must be rolling over in his grave.

  11. Barack Hussein Osama is a Secret Muslim
    controlled by the Bilderburg Group

    McCain is part of the CFR and a puppet
    for the Milatery Industrial Complex!

    What, no links?

  12. Bill Bennett must be rolling over in his grave.

    Wishful thinking?

  13. Can I like hockey moms & still totally hate hockey rink subsidies borrowed from future taxpayers?

  14. I don’t see him getting Michigan when hes down in places like Virginia and Colorado. Whens the last time MI went GOP? Like 1988?

    Hey, Sarah Palin is a hockey mom, Detroit is also known as Hockeytown.

    Yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch.

  15. Can I like hockey moms & still totally hate hockey rink subsidies borrowed from future taxpayers?

    Hell yes. When they start subsidizing my entertainment choices of loose women and booze, I’ll start backing municipal skating rinks and golf courses.

  16. You mean golf courses aren’t a booze subsidy just by their existence? 😉

  17. I don’t think the people using the term “angry hockey mom” in an endearing manner have ever actually met an angry hockey mom.

    So true, joe. I grew up in hockey-crazed Canada, and hockey moms aren’t above brawling, cussing, or credibly threatening the ref.

    However, the more authentic hockey moms usually have multiple beefy, hockey-playing sons, so Palin loses some street rink cred there.

  18. I wish we had hockey moms in California. Sadly, we’re stuck with soccer moms. Hockey moms will cut you, soccer moms just cut you off. Just as bitchy, but much less interesting.

  19. After this election I never want to hear the term “hockey mom” or “mooseburger” ever again.

  20. You mean golf courses aren’t a booze subsidy just by their existence? 😉

    Booze industry subsidy, maybe.

  21. I guess McCain is betting on people identifying the Mayor of Detroit with Barack Obama. Good luck with that.

  22. Hell yes. When they start subsidizing my entertainment choices of loose women and booze, I’ll start backing municipal skating rinks and golf courses.

    I second that.

  23. An interview with one of the hecklers from last night’s speech.

    Here

    Dirty Hippy? No, Iraq War Veteran and Bob Barr supporter.

  24. It’s interesting how the same people who (correcly imo) see liberals reading into Obama what they want to see do the same with Palin.

    I heard some of Palin’s comments she made at one of her Penecostal churches the other day on NPR. She’s an intellectual lightweight of the lowest order…There’s a reason she’s easily one of the worst educated state executives in the nation, and it ain’t liberal bias…

  25. I find it so ironic that liberals hated Bush so very much, and it is their stupidity in picking Obama which will ensure that McCain will win and all the f*ck ups of the last 8 years will go unaddressed and unpunished…Way to go, idealistic dumbasses!

  26. The American people: we hate those guys who were in the Executive for the last eight years. They f*cked up Katrina, Iraq, and the economy. Hey, that guy McCain is part of that group, bt man, he’s mavericky, and that chick is so down to earth, let’s get some change by voting for them!
    The Democrats: We hate winning. We have a chance to finally win and we are going to pick someone who turns off a great portion of the electorate right off the bat!

  27. The difference between the two outside groups is striking. The left-wing protestors marched in the streets smashing windows. The libertarian Ron Paul supporters rented their own space and held a counter convention.

  28. So what’s this I hear about neither McCain nor Obama qualifying for the ballot on time in Texas?

    Not that I expect the rules to be enforced, mind.

  29. MNG-

    You know John McCain is behind, right?

  30. For all those who think that Palin was a terrible mistake — check out pollster.com , specifically Alaska. Prior to Palin, this was a swing state. Now it’s overwhelmingly for Palin/McCain, by over 21 points. I’m thinking most of those western swing states and states with lots of rural working class whites (Ohio, Pennsylvania, maybe Michigan) are going to get a hefty Palin bump.

    She’s the Republican party’s Obama. A lightweight resume but good-looking and gives a hell of a speech. If McCain blows it, watch for Palin to be the R candidate in 4 years.

  31. I heard some of Palin’s comments she made at one of her Penecostal churches the other day on NPR. She’s an intellectual lightweight of the lowest order…

    MNG — did you read her fucking speech at the convention, or watch her deliver it? She’s gonna rip Biden a new one in the debate.

    If the Democrats dismiss her as stupid, they deserve the swift reality check / boot up the arse they’ve got coming. With an approval rating in Alaska of 86%, she’s made mincemeat of a lot of politicians who vastly underestimated her intelligence.

    Not having a PhD, and talking at the level of one’s intended audience =/= stupid.

  32. A former beauty queen and sports caster can read a teleprompter? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

  33. Of course Obama can only read a teleprompter.
    He can’t deliver a coherent statement without it.

    The Wilson sisters don’t want the song “Barracuda” used by the McCain/Palin campaign

    I hope they keep using it.

  34. everyone enjoy your new, socialized mortgage debt when FMae and Fmac become govt obligations this weekend. Expect big news on opening the treasury’s balance sheet to the semi-private sector. I await our new, govt provided economy in green energy. Who needs free markets?:)

  35. BDB,

    McCain still thinks he can switch Michigan w/o Romney?

    He has to make Obama compete in some blue states, or he’ll just get buried in a war of attrition.

    After this election I never want to hear the term “hockey mom” or “mooseburger” ever again.

    Don’t worry. You won’t.

  36. Now it’s overwhelmingly for Palin/McCain, by over 21 points.

    I hear Obama’s winning Delaware, too.

    She’s the Republican party’s Obama. Obama polls well across a much wider spectrum, including people who aren’t his party’s base. Not really so much with swing voters – not even middle class white women from the suburbs.

  37. Meaning, Palin doesn’t really poll well with those swing voters.

    You’re projecting.

  38. One endevour that I would think is the perfect experience to run *for* elective office is ‘beauty pagent contestant’ (See also, ‘cheerleader’). Running that office once elected, is of course a totally different matter.

  39. Social conservative Sarah Palin doesn’t have a record of imposing her “scary” views by law. IIRC she signed some gay rights legislation that she personally opposed. The “book banning ” never happened.She did have a “controversial speaker” at her church, somebody who converted to Christianity from Judaism (the horror!).

  40. Looks like they’ll NEED to bring more flags…

    http://nathanmhansen.blogspot.com/2008/09/revoltionary-war-flag-stolen-by-red.html

    since the one they brought apparently got stolen. For all the whines about Ron Paul supporters in the press, why do I need to learn this from an obscure lawyerblog???

  41. It was the most absurd over-application of force since Xerxes says “screw it, how about 10 more legions?” at Thermopylae

    Dave, I’d like to believe that you’ve read your Herodotus but I’m assuming it’s just from 300 that you get your information.

  42. why would you read the book when you can get all the information in a quicker time from the movie?

  43. why would you read the book when you can get all the information in a quicker time from the movie?

    Because the movie is a highly stylized (yet entertaining) and exaggerated dramatization and Herodotus is an exaggerated dramati…

    You may have a point. But Herodotus is more tedious, making it more academic and therefore superior!

  44. prole-I don’t dispute that Palin talks on the level of her audience, I just don’t think she can talk higher than that. Some smart people are good at coming off like an average joe while some people that come off as average joes do so because they are in fact average joes.

    I think SIV is partially right. While social conservatives are reading a lot into Palin she has actually few socially conservative stances on record. She’s the conservatives Obama.

  45. Epi-just thinking about reading Herodotus makes me sleepy.

    It reminds me of what a famous poet once said about Aristotle, that reading him is like eating dried hay.

  46. Epi-just thinking about reading Herodotus makes me sleepy.

    If you want to brutalize yourself, read Cicero in the original Latin. Or you could punch yourself in the cock, which would probably be preferable.

    I have to be at work today and am so booooooored…

  47. Epi
    You have one terrible work schedule. You need a union.

    I’m hungover like hell today and watching the Daily Show, so I’m bored too…

  48. They did just have this great line from Fred Thompson at the convention: “When you are forced to live in a box you make a it a point in your life to keep other people from having to live in a box.” Surreal.

  49. Team blue is gonna call foul. Although everything in the ad is true* the add is intentionally misleading and the kind of stuff that both sides have been doing since 1796.

    Only a complete idiot would be swayed by this nonsense, but the reality is that many idiots do actually show up at the polls on election day.

    Who’s grateful for the success that McCain Feingold has had in getting the big money out of politics and elevating the discourse?

    * No photoshop, no deceptive splicing.

  50. You have one terrible work schedule

    8-5:30 M-F. Only three holidays a year (Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Year). I get Mem. Day, the 4th, and Labor Day off but have to work the following Saturday. 5 days vacation (that will increase to 10 soon), and if I call in sick more than 5 times in a year I get a warning. Mon-Thurs I have to wear a fucking tie unless it’s over 85 degrees. Fun!

    You need a union.

    Hell no. I agreed to this and can leave any time. I make good money and get to goof off with you folks all the time.

    I’m hungover like hell today

    Me too, but I have to sit here doing nothing.

  51. J sub D
    I read this book on the 1800 election and boy those guys knew how to sling the mud!

    It is sad that they wouldn’t just run an ad criticizing Obama for what the group says it is concerned about, that is restricting liberty.

    This Royal Caribbean cruise line ad I’m watching is using Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.”

  52. Epi
    I have to wear the tie to. My work leash.

    It is cool they let you goof off on the internet. I have a brother whose workplace monitors his internet.

  53. This Royal Caribbean cruise line ad I’m watching is using Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.”

    That’s been out for years now.

    It is cool they let you goof off on the internet. I have a brother whose workplace monitors his internet.

    They don’t let me, but I am the master of my world here and only I know the real mechanics of what I am doing. Also, my work style is to work in ultra-fast bursts and then take little mini-breaks to go online. Plus, as a developer I am an administrator so I have nearly total control of everything.

    I have to wear the tie to. My work leash.

    I hate ties. Hate them.

  54. mmmmmmm….moooooseburger

  55. Only a complete idiot would be swayed by this nonsense, but the reality is that many idiots do actually show up at the polls on election day.

    J sub D, I’ve run for office. I talked with thousands of voters. And I can assure you that otherwise intelligent people, not just idiots, buy into cheap attack ads like the one you linked to. The SOBs run them because they fucking WORK.

    And only a complete partisan hack would deny that Team Blue isn’t going to be pulling stunts like this too. And by Team Blue, I don’t necessarily mean the Obama campaign, which may (or may not) attempt to more or less take the high road, but all the other special interests like MoveOn.org or the unionized government employees who have a vested interest in having Democratic one-party rule.

    Obama needs to learn a hard lesson — you have to be very careful about who you let take a picture with you. Governor Lingle in Hawaii has this down to an art form. She’s a master at working a room, oh so subtly steering clear of certain problematic individuals without explicitly snubbing them, and knowing at all times where the cameras are pointing.

  56. J sub D, I’ve run for office. I talked with thousands of voters. And I can assure you that otherwise intelligent people, not just idiots, buy into cheap attack ads like the one you linked to. The SOBs run them because they fucking WORK.

    I’ll give you that. I should have use a term like “the politcally naive and idiots”. Skepicism is a useful and underrated quality that more folks should try to cultivate.

  57. Speaking of mutual resentments, how can billionaire-financed orgs like reason.com and cato.org get so completely creamed by lewrockwell.com and mises.org respectively? I ran google trends and you guys are getting spanked by the paleos.

  58. I hate ties. Hate them

    .. threw away my ties and gave my suit to charity when I got my current job .. I may not necessarily believe in reincarnation but perhaps my hatred of ties comes from me being hanged in a previous life …

    .. Hobbit

  59. Reasons I’ve stayed at my company for 10 years:

    1. No ties
    2. No internet monitoring (well, no one seems to get in trouble for it, at least)
    3. Free MS software
    4. M-F 10-6:30 and 7 or 8 holidays plus 4 weeks vacation (as of 2009)

    And this is a stuffy Lower Manhattan insurance company. Go figure. Of course when we get bought out in a year or two this could all change.

  60. M-F 10-6:30 and 7 or 8 holidays plus 4 weeks vacation (as of 2009)

    Ah Rhywun, I remember those days. Come in when I want, work 10 hours, and my girlfriend at the time had a deal where you work after 8, they pay for a black car to drive you home, so she would pick me up. Good times. There’s nothing like cruising up 5th Avenue at 8:30 PM and saying “where are we going to eat dinner?”.

  61. My work:

    Casual day every day (for everyone who can pull it off)
    Super casual day, flip flops encouraged, on Friday
    3 weeks vacation after 5 years
    4 weeks vacation after 10 (almost there)
    7 core holidays
    paid sick days
    my hours: 7AM, or 8, or 8:30, 9:05, 9:30, 10 is pushing it, but pretty much whenever the hell I feel like showing up until it feels like its about time to go home. I only work weekends when I think I need to in order to get something finished or to clean my office (and we have REAL offices – remember those? Four walls, a window, and a door).
    I click on everything tagged NSFW (which I think means Nudity Safe For Work).
    But in my particular job, I do feel a fair amount of stress. That’s when I come here for relief. It never helps, but I keep trying.

  62. Surprise! President Chavez Bush moved to nationalize the mortgage industry today:

    The Bush administration, acting to avert the potential for major financial turmoil, announced Sunday that the federal government was taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. …

    The huge potential liabilities facing each company, as a result of soaring mortgage defaults, could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, but Paulson stressed that the financial impacts if the two companies had been allowed to fail would be far more serious.

  63. There’s nothing like cruising up 5th Avenue at 8:30 PM and saying “where are we going to eat dinner?”.

    Fixed. New York kicks Seattle’s ass so thoroughly it’s barely worth mentioning. Must transfer soon.

  64. Fixed. New York kicks Seattle’s ass so thoroughly it’s barely worth mentioning. Must transfer soon.

    I wouldn’t know other than New York pretty much kicks every place’s ass pretty thoroughly. Are you actually thinking of moving there?

  65. Also, you had a chance to pwn me there because I fucked up; it should have been “cruising up Madison”. 5th runs south.

  66. Fixed. New York kicks Seattle’s ass so thoroughly it’s barely worth mentioning. Must transfer soon.

    Huh? Seattle is the best (for me) big city I’ve ever been to. NYC has its charms, but it is full of New Yorkers.

    Of course what the hell do I know? I settled back in my hometown of Detroit.

  67. Ah, electricity sweet electricity, finally. What am I going to power my generator with when Obama rids us of gas in 10 years? And where will I plug in my car? Fortunately, I got to miss the convention. I like Palin, but I think I will have to mute and close caption her speeches or the attraction will die off.

  68. Also, you had a chance to pwn me there because I fucked up; it should have been “cruising up Madison”. 5th runs south.

    Ah. Wouldn’t have picked up on that one, as I’m not brave enough to try driving in Manhattan yet. Maybe next time.

    Are you actually thinking of moving there?

    Definitely, but maybe not for a few years. My firm’s HQ is there, so it’s a must eventually.
    Too late for the trend-ification of Hell’s Kitchen, but maybe in time for Morningside Heights?

  69. Seattle is the best (for me) big city I’ve ever been to.

    J sub,

    Aw, nice to know someone thinks so! Seattle’s not so bad, I guess. I kind of view it as a poor man’s Vancouver, with worse dim sum. No state income tax, though, so that’s a big plus.

  70. Too late for the trend-ification of Hell’s Kitchen, but maybe in time for Morningside Heights?

    All of Manhattan is trendifying, so you’ll have your pick. But definitely live in Manhattan. It makes a difference. I lived at 84th and York.

  71. “Huh? Seattle is the best (for me) big city I’ve ever been to. NYC has its charms, but it is full of New Yorkers.”

    Damn good point, if you consider Seattle a big city. Still, Vancouver is only two hours north and you can buy \Cuban cigars!

  72. Damn good point, if you consider Seattle a big city. Still, Vancouver is only two hours north and you can buy Cuban cigars!

    The Puget Sound ferry system is one of the rare public transportation systems that is a pleasure to patronize. Vancouver/Seattle is a peaceful, beuatiful trip and cheap (relativly) trip.

    Seattle has MLB, NFL and NBA teams. You have to go to Vancouver to see ice brawling though. Plus I got to see the Who (when Keith Moon was still breating) there. That’s big city enough for me. Pike Place market is pretty damned special as well.

  73. I really should avail myself of the preview option more.

  74. Pike Place market is pretty damned special as well.

    Agreed! We do love our market. Alright, you convinced me; Seattle ain’t so bad. 😉

  75. I lived at 84th and York.

    Love, love, love the Upper East Side. Excellent choice. My cousin is just a few blocks from there and they can’t wait for the new subway line on 2nd.

    But definitely live in Manhattan. It makes a difference.

    Not even Williamsburg? Other than that, nope, wouldn’t do borough.

    OK, now I miss it there! Why did you leave?

  76. they can’t wait for the new subway line on 2nd

    Ha ha ha, that’s a joke, right? That will get built when hell freezes over.

    Not even Williamsburg?

    No way. Hipster douchebag central.

    My cousin is just a few blocks from there

    One of my best friends lives at 88th and York, and a cousin lives on the Lower East Side.

    Why did you leave?

    I got tired of it. I get tired of most places after a while. I tend to live in a city for a few years, and then yearn for the country, and then get sick of the country, and go back to the city, and so on.

  77. Ha ha ha, that’s a joke, right? That will get built when hell freezes over.

    Really? She made it sound like it was going to be done soon-ish. Although, she’s a Canadian ex-pat like me, so probably deficient in your New Yorker cynicism.

    Hipster douchebag central.

    Good point. Even the East Village hipsters got a little tiresome.

    I get tired of most places after a while.

    Me too. I seem to have a 2-3 year max, so I’m right on schedule to be getting bored of Seattle. I’m holding out hope that New York will be the one place I won’t get bored of, though.

  78. She made it sound like it was going to be done soon-ish

    Well, it seems more progress has gone on recently, but this line has been a pipe dream for 75 years.

    I’m holding out hope that New York will be the one place I won’t get bored of, though.

    It may sound like a joke cliche from Seinfeld, but New York is a small town. Somehow you are constantly running into people you know, seeing the same people in the same places, etc. The places that you like become familiar really fast. But it’s still fun learning NY and becoming really familiar with it. But if you stay too long, you end up hating the place and becoming a weirdo (unless you are very wealthy).

  79. but this line has been a pipe dream for 75 years.

    I can see why. She’s over on 1st and it is kind of a hike from there over to the 6.

    But if you stay too long, you end up hating the place and becoming a weirdo (unless you are very wealthy).

    So the key is definitely wealth, then. I suspected as much. That would allow for a country house upstate (which my very lucky cousin has also secured, thereby providing hope for charming but not-independently-wealthy Canadian girls everywhere).

  80. Seattle has MLB, NFL and NBA teams.
    J Sub D, don’t keep up with Seattle sports news much? The Sonics left for greener pastures in OK City. Not caring for the franchise or either city, I’m mostly offended with another terrible name, the “Thunder”.

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