Editor's note: 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. Part One can be found here. Part Two is here. Today: Part Three.
Well, so much for that soul-warming "caring for your fellow man" bit. As Hurricane Gustav dissipated to a gentle Shreveport breeze, the GOP convention last night brimmed with the seething rhetoric we've all come to adore. Penis-in-a-blazer Mitt Romney kicked things off with a rabid speech packed with references to filthy liberals, welfare parasites, and "the Chinese." The hooting, behatted troglodytes at the Xcel Energy Center were perhaps unaware that this right-wing firebrand was, in a simpler time, in fact pro-choice; anti-gun; gay-friendly. But conscientious reflection is not a Republican strength, and conservative sermons by Arkansas' Mike Huckabee (sturdy, predictable), Hawaii's Linda Lingle (boring as socks), and Arkham's Rudy Giuliani (frenzied, cackling) followed in rapid, misleading succession.
On this night, however, those trusty GOP mouthpieces were merely salty, Reagan-flavored appetizers before the hotly-anticipated entr�e. Oh, yes. This, my dear friends, was Sarah's night.
Vice Presidential surprise Sarah Palin strode to the teleprompter to deliver a crucial speech, the sole purpose of which was to answer one gigantic question: could she prove herself worthy of John McCain's wild, Caramello-at-the-register impulse pick? Even the most Birkenstocked among us would have to admit that she did, diving in and adroitly running through ye olde conservative-baiting themes: Dedication to her incredibly Mellencampish family (including her outdoorsman husband and five children: Bark, Shrub, Chair, Tapioca, and Log Flume). Contempt for the "entrenched Washington elite" that she would surely not be a part of as Vice President of the United States of America. Disdain for "big oil" so fierce that she's meth-fiend desperate for a massive expansion of domestic drilling.
The self-styled "hockey mom" also ably played the role of John McCain's goon -- flinging grey-jacketed elbows at Obama, the Left, and, in general, anyone not sporting a Skoal-stained John Deere cap. But she was, very clearly, playing a role--and ultimately came across as not terribly dissimilar from the very Democrat she denounced with such relish: She, too, is thin on experience, reliant on biography, and able to bring thousands to partisan tears with mere words. But such similarities were the furthest thing from the minds of those hearty, screeching Pluggers in the audience. No doubt, they were thrilled by the glorious vision of Vice President Sarah Palin, breezing through the next four years on nothing more than calculated small-town authenticity.