Tuesday, August 31, 2004

How Many Movie References Can You Fit in One Speech?

Many, apparently.

The California Governor - you may know him from such films as Jingle All The Way and Junior opened with a trifecta of movie and "industry" references - the Oscars, True Lies, and his own acting prowess (or lack thereof).

He added the frequent hey-I'm-an-actor grace note to his stories - like when telling his "I was a scrawny Austrian running from evil Ruskies" story, he let us know he "wasn't an action hero back then." Thanks for clearing that up.

I couldn't help thinking what savvy rhetoric Arnold employed. After all, the Republican Party has never gone wrong using cold war imagery to sew up an election. Except for that one time in 1992.

Keeping, perhaps unintentionally, with the 1968 redux outside the Garden, Schwarzenegger attacked Hubert Humphrey and praised Tricky Dick. In fact, he wanted to be just like Nixon. Warms the heart, doesn't it?

He touched frequently on the American Dream, saying he's proof that if you work hard and play by the rules you can achieve anything. Yes, kids, steroids were part of the rules way back then. None of that anti-doping wussy crap you saw in Athens.

Best unintentionally funny line: "it doesn't make any difference who your parents were." (Says the man cheering for Bush II, married to a Kennedy).

During his first "repeat after me" section, he listed had a list of you might be a redneck - I'm sorry - a Republican if item. "If you believe this country and not UN is best hope for democracy then you're a Republican." Okay. But all I could think of was Chris Rock's Head of State opponent's refrain: "god bless America, and no place else."

Then, the exacta:

Bush will "terminate terrorism."

And:

[To those who are pessimistic about the economy] - "don't be economic girlie men." This was one of the biggest, if not The biggest applause line of his speech.

He also cited the pessimism of 20 years ago (wait, who was president then. 2000-20=? Yeah, that's what I thought too).

Then we get the Bush twins.

They called "gammie" Barbara Bush unhip - then went ahead and became poster children for uncool themselves.

In a daring example of self-deprecating humor gone wrong, they called themselves "young and irresponsible" and said they really aren't that political but, gee whiz, love their Dad enough to not hang back. And they needed something to do for a few years - like dad. No really, they said all of that.

I'm trying to imagine Chelsea Clinton lightly laughing at her own political ignorance. Unlikely. High in my book of pet peeves are girls who think they look cooler if they appear happily, willfully disengaged. Guys don't make passes at girls who act like asses.

[Update: From the Chron, just now:
The girls, just graduated from Yale and the University of Texas, referred to hijinks that sometimes landed them in the newspaper headlines.

"We spent the last four years trying to stay out of the spotlight," Jenna Bush said to laughter from the delegates. "Sometimes we did a little better job than others." Their father once referred to his youthful drinking as a "young
and irresponsible" stage of his life.] (For the record, if a Dem kid joked like that, they'd be strung up as a threat to Family Values. Dems don't get the youthful indiscretion card.)

And if anyone can explain that line about "bushies" and a hamster . . . . I didn't get that at all. [Update 2: Chron explains it - it was a reference to the Kerry kids' hamster and their dad's efforts to save it. Theirs didn't make it. Okay, I get it. But it was delivered poorly. Comedic timing isn't a Bush family trait. Read the full article for more highlights from the short, but steep rise of the Bush Twins Public Phase.]

Then we get GWB live from a baseball game in Pennsylvania - how American! How good, clean fun! Then, "Isn't She Lovely" Laura Bush. Then a boys choir. Ennnnd Scene.

I missed last night's coverage, but tonight was everything I hoped it would be. Arnold got my heart-rate up, Jenna and Barbara made me wince for the future of women in politics, and Laura was, well, Laura.

I can see, however, how all of it was quite effective for GOPers out there. There were bits for every corner of the party (maybe even Log Cabin types - Laura Bush did thanks the WHOLE Cheney family, after all). I suppose the chinks in their armor were more apparent to me because I was watching with a hyper critical eye.

Conventions don't do anything. But all the other "news" coming out of the affair blocks the good whacking Bush should be taking for his we-can't-no-we-can-no-we-will flip-flop this week.


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