Thursday, July 29, 2004

Fish in the Wrong Bowl

There are some real oddities at this year's Democratic National Convention.

We're not just talking about Teresa Heinz Kerry. I lived in Pennsylvania at the time Senator Heinz was killed, not that far from the school where the crash occurred -- tragically killing some kids as well as the pilots and passengers of the aircraft involved -- and she was hardly a liberal scion back then. I for one take her at her superficial appearance -- a unique person, with many talents, and a lot of money. But while she's not on the ticket and I think much of the talk about her personality is just ludicrous, political spouses do play a traditional role at a convention, and she's now at least a registered democrat (having finally made the leap from Republican just two years ago.)

What on earth is Maria Shriver doing there? Just because she's a "Kennedy" doesn't mean she's not helping Bush's agenda via her hubby the Governator. Or is it because she's a "journalist"? If she's going to be an honored guest at the Republican Convention, that sort of makes any pretense at journalistic objectivity silly.

Bono, aka Paul Hewson, the lead singer for U2, is also annoyingly there, and not on the entertainment bill. I realize as a former citizen of Boston that the city is still half in County Cork in spirit and in head count, but Bono is an Irish citizen. Why we should care what he has to say about our own democratic process is as much a mystery as where the weapons of mass destruction got to. Let him apply for an immigrant's visa under the quota system and get citizenship first. I'm not entirely sure that the internal workings of a US party are the proper place for lobbying by a foreigner. Then again, I'm pretty sure we won't see any Saudis at the Republican convention, but that doesn't mean they're not lobbying their man.

Michael Moore isn't playing a role in the convention, but has been shown on camera in the audience, and the "audience" requires security clearances and invitations. Moore is an independent who's been a fierce critic of democrats and republicans alike on his issues. He has insisted that Fahrenheit 9/11 is about Bush, not a pro-Kerry ad as some conservatives have charged, and I believe him. But showing up at a party convention for a party to which he does not belong is absurd. Then again, so is Ralph Nader showing up at the Green Party convention asking for its endorsement when he refuses to join.

Ron Reagan, of course, is the most visible fish in the wrong gold fish bowl here, giving a prime time speech about his issuue, stem cell research. He is also a political independent, and one out of conviction, taking advantage of the platform the Democrats have given him to make a pitch on a personal issue. Oddly enough, the substance of the speech got to the real differences between Bush and predecessor administrations, a hypothetical President Gore, and in all likelihood a hypothetical President Kerry: the sacrifice of science and reason for ideology that underpins the anti-stem-cell research stance of the Bushites. It's too bad reason vs. superstition can't be made into a more saleable political issue, but that won't work as long as we have too much TV and not enough books in the lives of Americans. And putting it the way Reagan did isn't likely to win him brownie points for being diect:

Whatever else you do come Nov. 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research.

Thank you for your time.

I just hope "Stem Cell Research" isn't listed under "Pat Buchanan" on my ballot.

Then of course we have the "liberal" media out in force. CNN's analysis team on Larry King consists of a Republican (Tucker Carlson) and a Republican (David Gergen), punctuated occasionally by commentary on what the Democrats should be doing from a Republican (Bob Dole!) They invite in a periodic actual democrat (last night Senator Landrieu of Louisiana), and do silly things like ask her where the extremists are -- you know, sodomites demanding the right to marry naked on main street, environmentalists who want to ban the light bulb, etc.

I caught Ron Reagan briefly on MSNBC with Joe Scarborough, and that was a bizarre sequence. I'm going to have to wait for a transcript because it was hard to describe accurately...

Speaking of fish out of the tank, Comedy Central's The Daily Show has some hilarious pictures on their convention photo-blog.

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