My Two Cents: Shiny, happy people party at RNC

Well, the Republican National Convention in New York is now in the history books. There really was no drama (President Bush is the nominee!) at this year’s gathering held at Madison Square Garden, because national political conventions have become infomercials for the party ticket. Anyway – as promised – here is my non-expert take on what went down.

Good times. I thought it was strange to see Republicans – often stereotyped as moralizing buttoned-down squares – partying and having a good time. They seemed to be enjoying themselves much more than their counterparts at the July Democratic National Convention.

Big tent. I was also struck by the ideological inclusiveness of the speakers at the RNC, again in stark contrast to the perception of Republicans as narrow-minded exclusionary types. To be sure, the Republican party is conservative, but with speakers like Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – all of whom are more liberal on social issues – the GOP demonstrated there is room for some difference of opinion. Were there any conservative Democrats who spoke at the DNC?

Ah-nold. The bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician now known as the governor of Kah-lee-fornia gave an entertaining speech. What I found most remarkable about Schwarzenegger’s address was his unbridled optimism about America and what it means to be a citizen of this great land. It was nice to hear someone say something good about the U.S. of A., because you don’t hear much of that kind of talk from the opposition party.

Give ’em Zell! Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia crossed party lines to appear at the RNC, asking what happened to his party on issues of national security. Who can blame him? Today’s Democratic party seems reluctant to use military force in the mode of past Democratic presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

Funniest Line. Like an aikido master turning an attack against an opponent, Vice President Dick Cheney quipped, “Sen. Kerry sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual. America sees two John Kerrys.” This, of course, was a reference to Kerry’s tendency to be both for and against a given issue. Well, it made me laugh.

Bush speak. Is it asking too much to have the leader of the most powerful nation on earth pronounce the word “nuclear” correctly?

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author gets in his two cents worth, in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.