Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Demver -- Day Two

Demver is dullsville so far. I had hoped to write more yesterday, but there wasn't anything hefty to grab onto. Just infomercial lighting, empty journo-chatter, Pepsi Center delegates going through the robotic motions.

The fucking Pepsi Center. Is there a better frame for the corporate stranglehold on the Dems and the nation? And after the Dem faithful have had their fill of Pepsi, they'll be herded over to INVESCO Field for Obama's outdoor coronation, with AT&T hopefully tracking their cell and BlackBerry usage, just to keep everything in check. You think Obama can save the country without corporate sponsorship?

James Carville physically resembles an "X-Files" creature, his marble-mouth syntax harder than ever to decipher. Plus, he looks like he really doesn't give a shit about the convention. He's a Clinton crony, so he can't be happy about how the convention is shaking down, despite tonight being Hillary's big show. But overall, he just appears bored, phoning in his standard routines. David Brooks acts like a balding, nearsighted hyena, baring his blunt fangs while making predictable, pre-chewed points. Jim Lehrer looks nearly dead, and no amount of pancake can make Mark Shields appear as if he's 98.6. Probably the freezer he's kept in between segments.

Of course, those who matter, or wish they did, are extolling Michelle Obama's daytime talk show speech. The infantilization of American politics continues, as those looking to manage us on behalf of their corporate backers and contributors talk to the public in simple, patronizing tones. I'm happy that Michelle Obama found success in her life and loves her family, but why the fuck should I care? Her husband presumes to exert state control over me and mine, spending my tax dollars for expanded war in Afghanistan, continuing misery for the Palestinians, narco-war and repression in Colombia, among other wonderful projects, and I'm supposed to melt because his wife can read hackneyed, Hallmark copy from a teleprompter?

And that's the god-awful convention reality: diversion, euphemism, cheap patriotism, and ceaseless bullshit. You wouldn't know how dangerous and dreadful things are at the moment, and the lack of dissent within the soda building not only shows how willing delegates are to play their scripted, passive roles, but how well Democratic elites control the means of expression. That "Recreate '68" march the other day, where a Fox News mouthpiece was verbally kicked around, was as pathetic a display as could be imagined. In a sense, those protesters were playing their roles as well, ineffectual dissidents kept far from the action by legions of cops and paramilitary squads, and used by a right wing network for propaganda purposes, further emphasizing their uselessness. Recreate 1968? How about a little tear gas first?

I'll confess a soft spot for Ted Kennedy's speech. This has more to do with nostalgia than anything Kennedy said (the American flag is still on the moon? Color me proud). I supported Kennedy's challenge to Jimmy Carter's incumbency in 1980, my first presidential election. While certainly not perfect, Kennedy was easily preferable to Carter, and might have given Reagan more of a contest had he grabbed the nomination. His pseudo-concession speech at the '80 convention was powerful, a real up-your-ass to our underrated imperialist, whose hand Kennedy refused to shake. You don't see that kind of spirit anymore, whatever the political reality.

The reaction shots of Joe Biden during Kennedy's brief bit only highlighted the difference between the two. Kennedy's time is over, as is the political age he helped to define. Biden is old enough to remember those days, but too avaricious to care about their demise. He hustled his way onto Obama's ticket, more than ready to embrace today's savage rules. Compared to Biden, Ted Kennedy was a socialist. Maybe that's why felt I sad watching Kennedy last night. Say goodbye to all that, liberals.

More mule notes later.