Campaign Crawlers

Tough Guys

It's not going to be a Democratic convention in Boston, but the second coming of Muscle Beach.

By 7.16.04

WASHINGTON -- Laying the schedules of this year's Democratic and Republican conventions on my desk, I'm reminded of Bill Murray's frustrated outburst on the eve of the apocalypse in the 1984 film Ghostbusters: "We're talking real fire and brimstone here! Dogs and cats sleeping together! End of the world stuff!" Perhaps coincidentally, that film was set in New York City where Republicans will soon be exploring their touchy-feely, sissy side. Meanwhile, Democrats are preparing ready to beat their chests and howl at the moon in a show of Beantown brawn next week.

The 2004 Democratic National Convention -- despite a predictable line-up of liberal speakers like Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter -- comes with an action movie tagline -- "Stronger At Home, Respected in the World" -- worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, he'll be in NYC talking about his feelings, so it'll be up to John Kerry to deliver his signature line, "Bring...it...on" with an Austrian accent and a cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth.

Or perhaps he can arrive for his nomination acceptance speech hanging on a rope from a helicopter in full combat face paint and a flak jacket. My personal request would be for the whole Democratic entourage to spend a day at the Boston Aquarium, where Kerry could reenact his much-touted rescue of Jim Rassmann over and over again from every angle while sharks circle underneath. John Kerry's Navy swift boat crew is getting more stage time at the convention than Hillary Clinton -- dogs and cats sleeping together would make more sense.

SOUND LIKE AN exaggeration? Then take a look at the hardnosed press releases the DNC has been sending out to pump up reporters for the spectacle they are about to witness in Boston. This includes an invite to "open sessions" the first day of the convention with the omnipresent Kerry hack, former Sen. Max Cleland, called "Basic Training." No further comment.

The rhetoric gets so brazen at times one almost expects the Democrats to announce they're sending the security detail home so Kerry and his Band of Brothers can challenge al Qaeda and John Ashcroft to a rumble in Southie. "I feel the excitement and energy as the Convention gears up," Cleland writes to reporters. "I look forward to returning next month to Boston -- the city where our first American soldiers fought -- to make history as veterans fight once again."

In one of these press release, Lt. Col. Sam Poulten, a delegate and veteran of the recent Iraq campaign, compares working for John Kerry to military service. "There is serving in the armed forces and serving in the Party," he explains, adding, "Democracy has to be exercised. It's like a muscle; if you're not constantly using it and exercising it, it atrophies. It turns to flab." That's right, girly-boy, get out there and work your vote.

The Democratic Party hack writing the release notes that Poulten "is steadfast in his support of the democratic process." Apparently Poulten is standing up to...whoever it is that is steadfast in their opposition to the democratic process? Is there some 527 I don't know about out there running don't-get-out-the-vote-efforts?

Bobby Hanafin, a Vietnam vet and self-described "long-term Republican," is also featured in DNC material. Hanafin switched party allegiances in 2000 because Democrats, despite supporting every sovereignty-shredding proposal to come down the pike, are the real patriots. "The theme of the DNC is patriotism, because they [Republicans] are trying to steal it from us," Hanafin, one of Kerry's Band of Brothers from Vietnam, said. Wait! Are they calling Republicans "unpatriotic"? Haven't the Democrats spent the last three years telling us using such a term was the cardinal sin of political discourse?

Hanafin also proudly notes that he has been an extra in three feature films: Amistad, Gettysburg, and Gods and Generals, a movie so bad I started thinking about seceding from the theater halfway through. Seriously, it must be the first Civil War movie to feel as long as the Civil War.

ANOTHER PRESS RELEASE promises that the convention will prove that John Kerry and John Edwards have the "toughness" to "lead America during difficult times." They also have an unspecified Nixonian "plan to keep us safe," which may or may not depend on cooperation with the unspecified foreign leaders who cannot wait for Kerry to be elected. I've heard John Edwards called many things -- a fake, an ambulance chaser, a bottom feeder, even a fashionable man -- but tough? This is a first, I believe.

Even a press release about the size of the Press Pavilion -- "the largest multi-story, temporary building ever constructed in the United States" -- comes off as an exercise in braggadocio in the hands of these testosterone-addled Dems: "The roof, weighing in at 180,000 lbs., took six cranes to lift into place," they write. "Also, sixty tons of structural steel and dozens of rigging stanchions were installed in the roof of the FleetCenter."

Well, I don't know about making America stronger, but the Democrats have certainly made the FleetCenter stronger. That's a start for a ticket pushing a couple of guys who can't stop stroking, groping, and kissing each other in public. Gives new meaning to the Band of Brothers, does it not?

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