Mystery Convention Theater

Once again, Tim and Steve talk back to the TV. And yes, at the end we get to Sarah Palin.


“Ladies and gentlemen, the colors will be presented by representatives of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, after which they’ll slap a few journalists around.”


Mitch McConnell speaks.

MCCONNELL: Sarah Palin is a remarkable woman.

TIM: That’s what they tell me, anyway.

STEVE: Hey, now you’re reading Lieberman’s lines!


Robert Duvall narrates a video about service.

STEVE: I love the smell of teen pregnancy in the morning.


Anne Beiler, founder, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, speaks.

BEILER: Life is never about what you can accumulate. It’s not about the pocketbook. True prosperity is a richness of heart and spirit.

STEVE: Hey, who let her in here?

BEILER: Alexis de Tocqueville, the French historian who traveled to our shores to better understand our nation, said it well: America is great because America is good.

STEVE: Didn’t he stay at John Kerry’s house?


U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) speaks.

COLEMAN: Are you having fun in Minnesota? Here in Minnesota, we often joke about the Norwegian husband who cared so much about his wife that he almost told her!

TIM: Didn’t he tell that one yesterday? He ought to put Franken on his writing staff if he wins.


COLEMAN: I don’t want the folks who run the IRS to run my health care.

STEVE: Unless I can get a deduction for hemorrhoids.


COLEMAN: As Republicans, we have to say what Democrats are unwilling to . . .

STEVE: We have no idea how to get out of Iraq!


Renee Amoore, founder, The Amoore Group, Inc., speaks.

AMOORE: If you want health care to be more accessible and affordable for families and small businesses in the private market, instead of through a government-run system, you are a McCain voter.

TIM: If you run a business that is certified by the state of Pennsylvania as a Minority- and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE), and is also approved as a Socially/Economically Restricted Businesses (SERB) vendor, then you are a McCain voter!


California state Sen. Abel Maldonado speaks.

MALDONADO: My father, the man I admire most in the world, came to America in 1966 with nothing.

STEVE: And that’s why I believe in comprehensive immigration reform that would seal our borders!

MALDONADO: The highest grade my father completed was fourth grade. But there’s also an education that comes from working with your hands in the dirt. My father knows more about economics than Senator Obama does with his degrees from all those fancy schools.

STEVE: Because he is . . . Frozen Caveman Economist!


MALDONADO: ¡Que viva John McCain!

TIM: He must’ve missed the English Only plank in the platform.

Ruth Lopez Novodor, Co-CEO, Beverly Oncology & Imaging, speaks.

NOVODOR: In 1947, my mother was an American orphan of Mexican descent . . . She was told to get married, raise a family, and do what she was expected to do. But she didn’t listen . . .

TIM: So I realize she has about five or six strikes against her in this room already.


Christy Swanson, small-business owner, speaks.

SWANSON: My husband, Kip, and I own and operate a small business in Virginia.

STEVE: You may know us from such dinners as Roasted Carved Turkey, Mexican Style Fiesta, and Salisbury Steak.


Keith Olbermann calls Luke Russert “sir.”

RUSSERT TO HOT 20-YEAR-OLD REPUBLICAN: As a Republican woman, what does this pick mean to you?

STEVE: Hey, aren’t you the guy who threw up on my roommate last night?


TIM: Wow, the crowd’s really bringing it for the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Reportedly he was McCain’s safety pick if Sarah Palin turned him down.


Luis Fortuno, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, speaks.

TIM: The next President must make hard choices. For instance, USA out of Vieques!


Mitt Romney speaks; a nation averts its lonely eyes.


Mike Huckabee speaks.

HUCKABEE: When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you’re a single mom to get to your job each day in the used car you drive.

STEVE: That’s why all you gals out there oughta get married and stay home with the kids.

HUCKABEE: If you’re a flight attendant or baggage handler and you’re asked to take a pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

STEVE: And you’re at the wrong convention.


HUCKABEE: Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.

STEVE: We prefer to bring our campaign to American corporations who don’t vote or pay taxes here.

HUCKABEE: It’s not what he took there that concerns me. It’s what he brought back.

STEVE: Doesn’t he know Thomas Tank Engines have lead in them?


Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle speaks.

LINGLE: Aloha!

STEVE: That’s such a cliche.


LINGLE: Before serving as Governor, Sarah was the mayor of Wasilla for two terms . . . Some have tried to diminish this experience by pointing out that Wasilla only has a population of nearly 10,000 people. This is the size of many cities all across our country. The size where everyone knows everyone, and where as mayor you are held personally accountable for your decisions.

STEVE: Obama has never been the mayor of a town the size of Wasilla!

LINGLE: I find it especially amusing that the other party says Governor Palin lacks experience when their own candidates for president and vice president . . . have no executive experience . . . Zero!

Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden has ever managed a multi-billion dollar budget, or been a chief executive of any city . . . or state, of any size . . . or of anything for that matter.

STEVE: Obama hasn’t even managed a three-car funeral, or coached a company softball team!

LINGLE: The other side has made the point that Alaska is a small state, but the last time I checked, it had the same number of electoral votes as Delaware.

STEVE: That’s actually true – they both have three. Which is only three more than the Beachwood has!


Rudy Giuliani speaks. Worth a read, he was quite effective.

GIULIANI: Every four years we’re told that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. This year, with what’s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime.

STEVE: Because even he knows we would’ve been better off with Al Gore in 2000.


GIULIANI: On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. (Laughter.) What? (Laughs.) He worked – I said –

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Zero! Zero! Zero! Zero! Zero!

GIULIANI: I said – okay, okay. Maybe this is the first problem on the resume. (Laughter.) He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics. (Boos.)


GIULIANI: He’s never run a city, he’s never run a state, he’s never run a business, he’s never run a military unit, he’s never had to lead people in crisis.

STEVE: Except when the Reverend Wright story broke.


GIULIANI: John McCain will lower taxes so our economy can grow. He’ll reduce government to strengthen our dollar. He’ll expand free trade so we can be more competitive.

STEVE: Night will become day, up will become down . . . we’ll have winter in summer and dinner for breakfast!


GIULIANI: As far as I’m concerned, the first day she was mayor she had more experience as an executive than Obama and Biden combined.

STEVE: Joe might have been chairing the judiciary and foreign relations committees of the United States Senate, but Sarah was swapping out Coke for Pepsi in the City Hall vending machine!


Sarah Palin speaks. She totally rocked it. Here’s the transcript, but you really should watch the video if you missed it so you can appreciate her facial expressions, tone, comic timing and confident bearing. And if you don’t believe me, the liberal MyDD had this to say during liveblogging: “The place is going nuts for Sarah Palin . . . So far very sweet and likable . . . This is actually a really good speech and her delivery is charming as hell . . . Man, she is a great advocate for his candidacy, best I’ve seen. If McCain doesn’t get a bounce out of this, then he really has no hope.”

PALIN: Todd is a story all by himself. He’s a lifelong commercial fisherman . . . a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska’s North Slope . . . a proud member of the United Steel Workers’ Union . . .

STEVE: Paging Ohio and Pennsylvania!

PALIN: . . . and world champion snow machine racer. Throw in his Yup’ik Eskimo ancestry, and it all makes for quite a package.

STEVE: She said package.

PALIN: We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he’s still my guy.

My Mom and Dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. My parents are here tonight, and I am so proud to be the daughter of Chuck and Sally Heath.

Long ago, a young farmer and haberdasher from Missouri followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency.

A writer observed: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity.” I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people.

They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America . . . who grow our food, run our factories, and fight our wars.

They love their country, in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America. I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town.

STEVE: Very Mellencamp. And very effective.

PALIN: I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better.

STEVE: And the Obamas send their kids to the private University of Chicago Lab School, where Michelle is on the board. The Obama campaign brain trust is calling an emergency meeting right about now.


PALIN: I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

STEVE: Oomph!

PALIN: I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

STEVE: Ouch!

TIM: Yeah! It’s not like folks talk behind each others’ backs in small towns.


PALIN: I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion – I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.

TIM: But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington because I so need to escape this frigid small-town hell I was born into. I realize the media elites are captivated by some sick fantasy of a Northern Exposure paradise, but try living there!


PALIN: While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for.

That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.

I also drive myself to work.

STEVE: After dropping the kids off at hockey practice? America is gonna love her. The Dems have done it again . . . outsmarted themselves on their way to losing an election to the party of the worst president in U.S. history.

PALIN: And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef.

STEVE: It’s a whole new ballgame.


PALIN: Listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.

STEVE: Hillary is weeping into her pillow.

PALIN: This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word “victory” except when he’s talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed . . . when the roar of the crowd fades away . . . when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger . . . take more of your money . . . give you more orders from Washington . . . and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy . . . our opponent is against producing it.

STEVE: You don’t have to agree with the content to recognize this speech as the most effective attack on Obama made to date. She is striking the exact, perfect chord. And – especially with attacks on oil companies – she has helped McCain cut the cord from Bush and present a new image of reform that inherently criticizes the last eight years without explicitly doing so. They have pivoted to the change meme, rallied the base and appealed to independents at the same time. Meanwhile, with Obama’s pivot to well-worn Shrumian populism, the Democrats have once again become the party of despair while the ticket with the old white guy is suddenly the ticket of hope and change.

PALIN: Victory in Iraq is finally in sight . . . he wants to forfeit.

Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay . . . he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America . . .he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights? Government is too big . . . he wants to grow it.

Congress spends too much . . . he promises more.

Taxes are too high . . . he wants to raise them.

STEVE: Again, you don’t have to agree with the content – I certainly don’t – to understand how powerful this rhetoric is.

PALIN: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers.

And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They’re the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners, or on self-designed presidential seals.

STEVE: She’s done what Hillary was not able to do – make the “talk versus action” argument.

PALIN: Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech-making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things.

And then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.


PALIN: And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you . . . in places where winning means survival and defeat means death . . . and that man is John McCain.


Here’s the response/fundraising appeal (because they always go hand-in-hand) sent out by the Obama campaign about eight hours after the Palin speech – an uncharacteristically long time for an Obama response. Judge for yourself whether it’s effective.

I wasn’t planning on sending you something tonight. But if you saw what I saw from the Republican convention, you know that it demands a response.

I saw John McCain’s attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign.

But worst of all – and this deserves to be noted – they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.

You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together. Make a donation of $5 or more right now to remind them.

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack’s experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let’s clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it’s no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America’s promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it’s happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Meanwhile, we still haven’t gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.

It’s now clear that John McCain’s campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks – on Barack Obama and on you – are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time.

But you can send a crystal clear message.

Enough is enough. Make your voice heard loud and clear by making a $5 donation right now:

Thank you for joining more than 2 million ordinary Americans who refuse to be silenced.


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America


4 responses to “Mystery Convention Theater

  1. Palin Gag of the Week goes to the Sun-Times’ Richard Roeper: “Ted Nugent with a uterus.”

    Fellas! :)!!!

  2. I dunno, I think you overstate the success of her rhetoric. The “community organizer” bit was a really nasty low blow, and I think it will backfire – Obama’s already latching onto it, as he should. A lot of poor and working-class people depend on community organizing when public services fail them (often), and making fun of that as elitist or hippieish or – what? I’m not sure what’s so funny about it – is quite insulting.

  3. Katie,
    Are you serious? Do you still think of Obama as the little guy representing the communities? That is a joke. His performances, when he didn’t think you were watching, have said it all. Read about what he said while on Billionaire’s Row. Oh yes. The democratic leader, who is supposed to represent the poor, was at Billionaire’s row making a pitch. Same old, same old. And while he was there, he was insulting the poor, small-town “folk, who can’t wrap their tiny brains around his big, complex thoughts. Get real. He is just a pretty face. He has nothing to back it up.

  4. David as a very loyal surporter Barack could you give Barack a message for me,tell him to get back to the message and forget that lier Sarah Palin,he have to attact McCain and leave Palin to Hillary or Joe.It’s a good idea to have Hillary and Barack campaigning together in those battle ground states, I am very worried that McCain is moving ahead in the polls.Barack have to get back and keep mentioning McCain and Bush are the same give my love to the Obama family. Lynette from Canada

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