Editor's Note: Yes, Barack Obama's speech was inspiring and magnificent. Who wants to watch the Republican National Convention after that? Not us. Luckily, Jacob Lambert -- the creator of The Philadelphia Turkey and author of PW's recent Craig LaBan noir mystery -- is doing the watching for us. He'll be posting throughout the week, so check back.
It's hard to imagine how, after nearly a decade of shoving America and strategic areas of the Middle East towards a kind of Alan Moore dystopia, the Republican Party could muster the slightest bit of enthusiasm for itself. Even the halfwit teenager who gets sloshed on J�ger and wrecks his dad's car knows, instinctively, to show a degree of contrition afterwards. To keep his voice down at the dinner table. To generally stay the hell out of the way. But America is a democracy, not a family, and the Grand Old Party, as nobody calls it, lacks the discretion of even that zit-faced dullard.
This is an election year, in case you weren't sure, and starting Monday, St. Paul's poetically-named Xcel Energy Center will host an event of staggering chutzpah: the Republican National Convention. Eight years of mustache-twirling villainy have apparently not been enough--and with the time-honored assistance of confetti, balloons, and threats of Death by Terrorist, the GOP will try to hogtie Joe F-150 all over again.
For a hint of the ideological septic tank in which the Republican Party still bobs, one need only scan the roster of convention speakers: Cheney. Brownback. Giuliani. Bush. Outside of a Neil LaBute film, a more dispiriting group of men would be difficult to find. Now, you may call Barack Obama's message of change facile and hollow--and if he survives the next two months of Rovian savagery, they may ultimately prove to be just that. But at the very least, the Democrats haven't come to embody a sort of bloated, grinning antipathy.
That is what the party of the stammering, increasingly pathetic McCain has come to represent -- even more than low taxes, deregulation, and minority repression. In the coming days, watching these people stand in the spotlight and say that John McCain is worthy of our vote -- without pausing to laugh -- would seem almost funny if the stakes weren't so high.