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RNC, Night One, Impressions

The Republican Party, which has held the White House for eight years and controlled both houses of Congress for six, is running on change. Now, that's audacity. Of course, they lucked out with John McCain, the accidental nominee, because he's the only Republican who could plausibly run that way in a very Democratic year.

But can even he pull it off?

The convention is trying very hard. First, it tries to hide George Bush. Hurricane Gustav gave the excuse for the president not to appear, as if the vast infrastructure of the presidency could not have arranged for him to make a one-hour appearance. Instead, he materializes in two dimensions on a screen as an insert to the Laura Bush speech, which both preceded and succeeded the president's remarks. A two-term president as sandwich meat. Understandable, of course. Laura is not just more popular, but far less "Republican,” as was her speech -- which was long on malaria, AIDS, test scores and mosquito nets and short on partisan meat.

The partisan meat was supplied by Fred Thompson. If he had given a speech that good on his own behalf, he might've been up there accepting the nomination.

The nonpartisan, post-partisan, anti-partisan theme of the evening was of course carried by Joe Lieberman. He created the odd spectacle of a speaker urging a sea of party partisans -- gathered as a party to promote and elect the party -- to go beyond party, indeed to almost abandon party, in the name of country. Only in America. Only in a year when the incumbent party runs furiously against Washington and in favor of "change."

By Charles Krauthammer  | September 3, 2008; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  Krauthammer  | Tags:  Charles Krauthammer  
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Next: The Struggle to Explain Sarah Palin


Charles this article....if you want to call it pure gibberish.

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | September 3, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

This is actually not a bad scribble Charles. You werent your partisan self today. Couldnt dance this kabuki 2step of change and reform...could you? What can I say...the audacity of hope (and hypocrisy by the party talking heads) is palpable.

Posted by: justaminute | September 3, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Just spotted a nice article at huffingtonpost - Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan calling the Palin nomination "b*llsh*t", "gimicky" and adding "it's over".
McCain, once called a maverick, is now a gelding!

Posted by: Marc Edward | September 3, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course, this was not really "Night One." It was Night Two. On Night One, McCain chickened out of holding a convention for fear the media would torch him as insensitive. As a reward, the media insensitively ravaged through Sarah Palin's family. Night Two was barely better - lots of bio, not much politics. My favorite part of this convention was the gusty photo op of Bristol Palin and her boyfriend -- take that, media scum bags! These people are too proud to be scandalized by the tactics of the decadent elite.

Posted by: Mark | September 3, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"A two-term president as sandwich meat."

Finally Krauthammer makes me laugh.

And so does this: These people are too proud to be scandalized by the tactics of the decadent elite.

Posted by: Mark | September 3, 2008 7:02 PM

Yeah, Mark. Let's hear it for the decadent average.

Posted by: DFC102 | September 3, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your honesty, Charles.

And when you have a moment, please explain the concept of shilling to Eugene Robinson. The man's embarrassing himself.

I think he's very proud to be part of the 91% who arrived at their vote very, very judiciously. LMAO.

Posted by: Southern republican | September 3, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Second good post from Charles Krauthammer in 1 week! To me the Republican convention has three overriding conventions: Change the subject so they don't have to point out their failures (hence all the talk a about honor, patriotism, and change), pander the party faithful by nominating Sarah Palin and try to sell it as change and "marverick" politics, the very wierd spectacle of Joe Lieberman being the party's spokesman. None of this makes sense! It's all flim flam! And voters have clearly stated they care most about the economy, which the Republicans are ignoring.

Posted by: timohuatl | September 3, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Charles. You've at last discerned the fundamental dishonesty that fuels the modern Republican establishment. Issues are only useful as means to the end - which is power for power's sake. They obviously can't govern, but they will do whatever is necessary, by any means necessary, to prevent anyone with a modicum of true character from winning.

Posted by: Welcome | September 3, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"Two term president as sandwich meat."
I love it.

Posted by: Jackie | September 3, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sen. McCain has put the Republican establishment in an awkward position: they can either tell the truth and say that a McCain/Palin ticket is a reckless choice for America or they can lie and toe the party lie.

Glad to see that Mr. Krauthammer is one of the few national conservative Republicans who won't sell his - and America's - soul to support Sen. McCain in his reckless folly.

If only George Will had a backbone to match his writing style...

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 3, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

they've been threatening to co-opt the democrats' 'change' message for months.

unfortunately the narrative playing out in the media is more about disarray and panic (and lately, some anger) than 'change'. even that 'sound executive judgement' thing that was playing tolerably a week ago is getting shaky.

it's fair to say the republicans should spend their coming time in the wilderness to rethink the media strategy.

surely that should start with flushing rove.

Posted by: watchclosely | September 3, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's facts about Palin - Credit to Lind Carpenter (Phoenix)and others:

1. anti- environment:she sued the US for putting polar bears on the endangered list because it would interfere with oil profits
2. she tried to ban books and fire the librarian
3. she kills helpless animals from helicopter
4. she tried to secede from the union
5. She is aginst abortion even in the case of rape
6. she wants creationism taught in public schools
7. she has already abused her power by firing someone who wouldn't fire her ex brother in law
8. She used her own special needs baby for political gain, telling all that she could have aborted him but she didn't, but does she even care to raise him? (Can she be a good mom to 2 young kids and 1 baby not to mention other 2 kids?)
9. She is anti-gay
10. she believes the Iraq war is a 'task from God" and has no clue what the job of VP entails.
11. She was a mayor of small town and is a governor of Alaska (pop. 600,000). I often heard about people escaping to Alaska from lower 48 it a good representaiton of other 48 states? Did she ever practiced "Foreign Relations"? Foregin relations is incresingly important as we no longer can survive as an isolationist like bofore WWII.

Posted by: Lisa | September 3, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Barrack Obama snorted cocaine. When will CNN or Wash Post do an in-depth story on this? As a voter, I want to know just exactly how much cocaine Obama snorted. How much did he pay for the cocaine that he snorted? Who did he buy the cocaine from? Did Obama snort all the cocaine himself, or did he sell some of it to others?

Posted by: Dave | September 3, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Wash Post, 03 Jan 2007: Obama has become the first potential presidential contender to admit trying cocaine.

Posted by: Dave | September 3, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

So, Krautman, how's it feel to be a Jew in the party controlled by fundie Christians who believe you're going to hell. Ms.Sarah Palin sits through sermons delivered by her Pentecostal pastor saying that terrorist attacks against Jews are their punishment for not accepting Jesus. What are your thoughts about Reverend Wright again?

Posted by: John J | September 3, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Great article ... can hardly wait to hear Palin punch Obama!
McCain-Palin '08
Hillary 2012!

Posted by: Francisco Cardenas | September 3, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Wash Post, 03 Jan 2007: Obama has become the first potential presidential contender to admit trying cocaine.

But that is just because Bush never admitted it--he may be using now, for all we know.

Posted by: Mike | September 3, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice writing, Charles.

Just watched the Wash Post vid of Ron Reagan. All I can say is WOW!!!
Definately worth a few minutes of your time.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Charles, I think the correct term of art is not "sandwich meat" but "chopped liver."

Posted by: PJTramdack | September 3, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is in a 21st century election with a 20th century presidential candidate and a 19th century vice presidential candidate. Gov. Palin's "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" persona is no substitute for a platform, which the GOP isn't showcasing because it's been in place in America for the last 8 years and the results are there for your inspection.

Posted by: Daniel J. Drazen | September 3, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that can explain this post is that Krauthammer knows it's over. I think so too.

Posted by: Mary | September 3, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"Second good post from Charles Krauthammer in 1 week!"

Now that's change we can believe in!

Posted by: thor | September 3, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans actually give an woman and equal opportunity whereas the Democrats slap any woman down regardless of party line or opinion.

I guess the Democrats really are bipartisan when it comes to hating women!

Women need to vote on "issue number one" - equal opportunity. Without this euqal chance the disrespect, prejudice, and discrimination against women will never end. Vote Sarah Palin 08!

Posted by: Feminists | September 3, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this convention was the gusty photo op of Bristol Palin and her boyfriend -- take that, media scum bags! These people are too proud to be scandalized by the tactics of the decadent elite.-anonymous

The decadent elite, as you call them, don't parade their children around after calling for privacy. The republicans are the hypocritical elite. Sarah palin is a disgrace for bringing, first, her daughter out into the limelight, then bringing the boyfriend out for a shameless display of "family values." She has a five month old baby. See any pictures of her holding the child?

Posted by: mike l | September 3, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone mention the money Palin took from Veco?

Or that McCain sold his sole for Bush's 2008 endorsement. He'll say and do anything to get elected.

For those who actually pay attention to history, McCain hates George Bush.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush, Rove and Stampley searched for dirt on McCain. That's how the Manchurian Candidate moniker hit McCain. McCain now employs Rove.

Read Admiral Stockley's account.

November 26, 1999

John McCain in the Crucible


CORONADO, Calif. -- I am not surprised by reports that Senator John McCain's political enemies have been spreading rumors that his famous temper is a sign of a broader "instability" caused by his imprisonment in Vietnam.

In fact, a few weeks ago I received a call from an old friend who is also close to the George W. Bush campaign soliciting comments on Mr. McCain's "weaknesses."

One US Senator, when he learned of the origin of the attacks on McCain, observed: "While McCain was getting tortured, Bush was flying jets defending Texas against Oklahoma.

I would have had more respect for McShame had he denounced Bush's endorsement.

Now Bush, Cheney. Rove et al are briefing the broad?

Posted by: Sue | September 3, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

As someone who wouldn't trust a Republican let me just say, Charles, that I get it. And we are laughing at you, at McCain, at Palin. I don't care if Obama looses (I don't trust the voters), just know that for what it is worth, McCain is a egocentric nutcase and Republicans are freaking out.

Posted by: Dave | September 3, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I just posted- my 3 year old was crawling all over me- I see the typos- off to take care of the kids (don't want my 17 year old ending up pregnant)- which, yeah, one last thing- WHERE IS THE FU*&$

Posted by: Dave | September 3, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Feminist, give me a break. Palin was amccain's last choice, certainly not one with a lot of thought. There have been a lot more women involved in the Democratic party than in the Republican. Maybe you weren't around 24 years ago when the Dems nominted the first woman VP candidate. Took two dozen years for the elephants to come up with their own.
Democrats don't hate women. Why do you think so, because of Hillary? They gave equal opportunity to win. She was a double-digit leader until she blew her campaign. The Democrats gave her the chance to run and she lost. The Republicans wanted her to be the nominee in the worst way so they could villify and slam her the entire election. If after that, I wonder if you would be so proud of the Republican party or would you be saying the same thing you did above?

Posted by: stryker | September 3, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Krauthammer:

Don't tell me you have been "liberalized" by the "liberal" media. You are actually writing these stuff. Incredulous! Or, sincerely, is someone impersonating you or mistaking your writing for someone else's at The Post?

You know all these speakers at the Republican Party convention are not authentic. Fiorina just spoke, I had to turn down my TV before her tone bursts it open out of its tube or before her skeletal fake demonstration tear its 7-year old frame apart (I do not have a flat panel). How about Liberman last night? Ugly and despicable. Just in the mold of Zell Miller of GA four years ago. Biting the finger that fed him. Who knew about him until 8 years ago when Al Gore selected him as his vice presidential candidate? What a shameful parade at the twin cities.

Posted by: midas20874 | September 3, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry you feel that way. As a Democrat
and ardent supporter of Hillary for many years I also was disappointed, but do not believe breaking the glass ceiling is as important as electing the best qualified people to run this country. Not to mention she will be there again most likely. Regardless, being President or Vice-President, while important, is not all there is to political life.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

The party in power running against itself as the party of change was bad enough. What was really hard to swallow was John McCain selling himself as the "maverick" taking on the Powers That Be after surrendering his vice-presidential pick to keep his base happy.

Posted by: Ted Frier | September 3, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Feminists wrote: Amongst other inanities... "The Republicans actually give an woman and equal opportunity whereas the Democrats slap any woman down regardless of party line or opinion."

Do remember there was no Republican woman in their primaries (I wonder why). If you are making ref. to Hilary C., she got 18 million votes and lost in a squeaker. Lastly dont pat yourself too hard...SP was appointed by Sen. McCain ...much to the disgust of many in your party's establishment (including Krauthammer).

Posted by: prejudiced | September 3, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Nothing about the RNC speaks change or difference to me. What do you think the average age of attendees is??? Hmmmm... 70? I think I have counted about 5 people of color. And what's with all the white ladies wearing rhinestone cowboy hats and red-white-and-blue? Not to mention the golden-oldies soundtrack. I'm really not sure if this convention is playing on my TV now in 2008 or if I am flashing back to 1988 or possibly even 1976. Could the RNC be ANY more out of touch with young, modern, diverse America? Wow, every time I happen to pause on it for a few moments (speeches are too dull and more of the "same old" to linger for long)I am truly in awe at how out of date and out of touch it is. I saw a lady with a red sparkly cowboy hat and Tammy Faye Baker mascara shaking cucarachas at the RNC today. What the heck?!

Posted by: Emily | September 3, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

So we got petulance that W and his presidential "legacy" got dissed, and we got petulance that Thompson couldn't hold it together long enough to clinch the nomination. Boo hoo, Chuck. Boo hoo.

Just remember, the year of change follows on the heels of eight years of bad decider-ing.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 3, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse


You're still a clown.

I'd call you a Stooge.

But I have too much respect for Curly.

Posted by: Bozo | September 3, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have never done anything for women. Joe Biden has, the Dems have. If I were a women, I'd be much more inclined to vote Democrat regardless of Hillary Clinton, and I'm a fan of hers for sure. Love to see her as President. She's extremely intelligent, experienced and motivated and hard-working.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Barrack Obama snorted cocaine. When will CNN or Wash Post do an in-depth story on this? As a voter, I want to know just exactly how much cocaine Obama snorted. How much did he pay for the cocaine that he snorted? Who did he buy the cocaine from? Did Obama snort all the cocaine himself, or did he sell some of it to others?


Why don't we have a companion story on GW Bush's cocaine and alcohol abuse?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

This Republican Convention documents what ignorant leaders the Republicans are. The speakers, all of them, have told lie after lie. Not surprising, they invaded Iraq on lies. Oh, why are there so many empty seats at this small arena?

Posted by: mzbond | September 3, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I love this essay! and i love how Mr. Krauthamer is never afraid to say what's on his mind. His brief observations here are, in fact, a testimonial to the peculiarity of the unfolding events we call politics. He doesn't say outright how much Prozac, et al., is required to maintain civility in the midst of such absurdity, Democrat and Republican, but i'm guessing he must have a considerable tab going with his pharmacist...
for those of us who would read this once and then get offended or affirmed in our beliefs, may i suggest we read every article two or three times, get up and walk around, get more coffee or tea, use the bathroom, check the email, and then write a response to the forum. thank you.

Posted by: k. butler | September 3, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

bush would be a great deal more lively if he was still snorting coke.

right now the dude looks like he's on downers.

Posted by: palin comparison | September 4, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

How nice and white? Almost spotlessly so.
I thought about bleach all the way through.

Now I definately know who I want as President and Vice President:

a man who is disorented on stage,

and a woman who pees in the words, then puts on lipstick and goes out to dinner.

I'm so impressed by the United States!

God bless America!

Posted by: sanity | September 4, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Wait till what you can read gets censored, just for starters.

Posted by: sanity | September 4, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced that either McCain and Palin are capable of positive real change in this country. To begin with, and with all due respect for McCain's military background, neither of them represents Americans of today. Neither one of them are in touch with the realities of the problems this country truly faces. And they are incapable of intelligently discussing these issues.

The choice of Palin by McCain displays his ineptness. She has no meaningful experience worth a hoot regardless of the spin doctors. And I could deliver a speech just as well if Mr. Gerson or the actual speechwriter wrote one for me to deliver.
After all, she was well coached. She did a good job of it, there's no denying that, but delivering a speech does not qualify you to be Vice President or more likely President.

McCains health is a major issue also here.
After eight disastrous, wasteful years of Bush do we as patriotic Americans want not only more of the same, but additional devestating agendas from the Supreme Court and the religious right? I think not!

Posted by: sanity | September 5, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

As an Southern Evangelical I will not vote for John McCain until he and Cindy go on each National TV, and the Cable Networks admit their SIN--- Request God's forgiveness for their ADULTERY. Given Bill Clinton's sex scandal --I insist on a president with a moral compass to lead our great nation.

Posted by: George | September 5, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

McCain is no different than Bush. How soon some people forget Bush and his "Uniter not a divider" BS. McCain is doing the same thing just for votes and if he were to get in we see the result from the mistake that once listening to Bush's empty campaign promises got America. Same old lies, same old Republicans. All anyone needs to know is John McCain talks about what people want to hear, just like Bush did when he ran. Then McCain does the complete opposite voting 95% in support of Bush's failed policies. 95% of McCain's votes were for Bush's policies and bills. It's not what they say, it's about what they do, John McCain is full of it. I am voting for a solid and reliable leader who will fight for REAL change, Obama all the way.

Posted by: Hillary '08 | September 5, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Any woman who believes that Republican party is about equal rights is an absolute twit!!! They are the party that does not believe in equal pay and the party that does not believe in the right to choice (and i say this as someone who believes in pro-choice from a moral perspective).

Everyone says this was a "historical decision" on the part of McCain...but what about Walter??? Where were all you feminists in 1984? You fascists religious right cats are absolutely nuts. Stay the hell out of my kitchen please!!! I don't want any books burned!!!

Posted by: chefra | September 7, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Sarah... she will never be walkin on broken glass from her ceiling like Hillarys ...
And her eye glasses are so way cool too!
Can i order up 18 million of those or more!

Charles you ROCK!

Posted by: CharliesBestAngel | September 9, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

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