Danny McBride: Dem Dare

DannyThe Democrats have come and gone from Boston and the CONVENTIONAL wisdom is that they did really well making a pretty positive impression on the country.  The speeches were mostly better than average and the TV coverage made it look like everyone was having a great time.  Well, everyone except for the balloon wranglers.

Yes I know “Help is on the Way” or “Hope is on the Way” and like phrases could have been said one or two times fewer, but who cares?  They came out swinging with both barrels blazing, or whatever the correct metaphor is, and they challenged the GOP (Greedy Old Pissheads) to do as well when they hit the boards in a couple of weeks.

Yes, a match-up of Kerry’s old Navy buddies testifying how John saved their lives with quick decisive action under pressure is going to be a hard act to follow.  “John pulled me into the boat upside down.  If it had not been for John Kerry, I would be dead” testified Jim Rasmussen from Kerry’s old Swift Boat crew.  A dozen men ringed the podium to hail their skipper these thirty-five years later.  They needed him.  Now he needs them.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the Fleet Center when Max Cleland rolled his wheelchair to the microphone to introduce Senator Kerry.  He had been a Senator from Georgia until Karl “The Pig” Rove drove him from office with phony ads in the 2002 election.  Imagine a TV campaign comparing the triple-amputee War Hero to Saddam and Osama but that’s what the Republicans did.  Calling them liars would be too good for them.

So how do you follow Senator Cleland and the Swift Boat crew?  Maybe it will it be W’s old drinking buddies from the fraternity at Yale?  “We were in big trouble and George knocked the keg open with his head.”  Help is on the way- -a corkscrew.  Or…terrorists!

On the Sunday after the convention, Tom Ridge, our Director of Der Faderland Security, spoke solemn words.  Terrorists were about to make simultaneous withdrawals from ATMs all over Manhattan and Northern New Jersey. Was this all timed to drive down the news media’s enthusiasm for Kerry?  Change the front page?  It turns out that the information which drove the color code to Clockwork Orange was FOUR years old.  They thought about closing the financial markets but at the same time went ahead with the reopening of the Statue of Liberty.  Now think for a minute like a terrorist.  Could you find the Prudential building in Northern New Jersey?  Would it mean anything to you if it were an actual target?  Oh I don’t mean any harm to the workers, but think about the symbolism of slamming a building that houses your overblown insurance premiums or the slow-to-pay claims department, or the part of the financial industry that overcharges you on your credit card fees.  Now think about that Statute of Lady Liberty?  Isn’t that more of a symbol than just about ANYTHING in the country?  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your racially profiled acceptable non-Arab immigrants, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” Or whatever it says.  You’re a terrorist.  Which symbol of America would you go for?

Back in July, we now know, Pakistani secret agents were asked by the administration to try to nail a major terrorist, anyone with a high enough profile.  They also asked that it coincide with the Democratic convention, obviously to upstage the convention on front pages across America- -Sheesh.  And politics are not involved.  “We’ve turned that corner.”  Bush has said that so many times recently that he could meet himself on the way back.  That phrase is most likely in his head because right now he feels cornered.

Ron Reagan spoke at the convention and was brilliant.  He has his Mother’s eyes and his Father’s ability to communicate.  He told Jay Leno afterwards that it was only the second speech he’d ever given and that he would never go into politics.  He said he has never been a member of either party and is happy doing commentary and analysis on MSNBC.  I wonder how long until somebody gets to him and talks him into running for something?

VP candidate John Edwards can look forward to being contrasted with the Evil Dick Cheney.  Actually the Republicans are planning a substitute.  During the convention Cheney will be in a secure location near a deli and he will be played by Don Rickles.

So our information now is that al Qaeda is interested in blowing up financial institutions rather than American landmarks.  But that only terrorizes bankers and most people don’t care about banks.  Banks have made dealing with them such an unpleasant experience by doing away with tellers and forcing you to hang on hold and push # for more options, that nobody cares what happens to them.  I’ll bet the terrorists know this already.

What we care about is The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Disneyland, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Graceland, Arlington National Cemetery and a whole host of other truly American landmarks.  If I were trying to think like a terrorist, I wouldn’t be scaring very many people if I concentrated on The World Bank or the IMF building.  Heck no.  I’d go right for Branson, Missouri.  I’d get even with Wayne Newton.  I’d freak the daylights out of The Oak Ridge Boys.  I’d make Yakov Smirnoff wish he’d never left home.  This is where America is.  You want to terrorize the American people?  Blow up a Denny’s.  Blast open an IHOP.  Hit every McDonald’s you can.  Demolish a Wal-Mart.

Al Qaeda is an international force to be taken seriously and destroyed.  But playing games with coloring charts and making speeches equivalent to shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire is going to make us all as jaded as the townspeople who did not respond to the boy who cried wolf or, in our case, Wolfowitz.  Or maybe Wolf Blitzer.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Or not.  I’m going to go work on foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes.