Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Vibe.com@RNC :: Day 2: Once Again It’s On

Day 2 of the Republican convention came off with a frenzy of activity in the Xcel Center to get back up to speed after Hurricane Gustav rained on the parade. Scheduling wasn’t clear for much of the day. Delegates and media struggled to figure out what was up.

By showtime tonight, seats in the Center were still empty, even for a night-capping speech by Joe Lieberman that seemed repurposed from his short-lived glory days as Al Gore’s second fiddle, history repeating as parody. If his career ended tomorrow it would still be too soon.

The shortened convention may serve as an official explanation, but certainly this was the smallest role a sitting president has ever been given in recent memory. President Bush II–beamed in via satellite from a safe distance in the White House–seemed overshadowed even by the presence of his father and mother. The big chill between McCain and Dubya will go down in history as colder than even the arctic cool that blew between Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 2000.

Meanwhile, those on Cheney watch got stinking drunk for yet another night. They could be in the hospital with alcohol poisoning by Thursday.

Outside, there was a light rain all day, accompanied by purple clouds of tear gas. What looked like mere police incompetence and bullying on Monday–when added up with actions both over the weekend and through today–now looks like a pattern of suppression.

Convergence centers were raided, continuing a daily operation that began last Friday before the convention. The Ripple Effect concert was shut down early, before Rage Against The Machine was able to make an unannounced performance. Crowds trying to leave were barricaded.

A peaceful Poor People’s March turned ugly when pedestrians and protestors alike were pepper-sprayed. Even trad media cameramen and reporters were badgered by horse-riding cops.

Long after the protests ended this evening, innocent bicyclists in downtown Minneapolis were still being stopped randomly by police–brought in from as far away as Philadelphia. (And we already told you how much folks love bikes in this town.)

Sample line of questioning:

Are you anarchists?

Uh, no sir, we’re heading to The Wedge to buy some locally-grown organic lettuce.

Perhaps the most fun to be had today was at the Ron Paul rally, where the speaker list ranged from the entertaining (Jesse Ventura) to the abhorrent (Grover Norquist). Attracting over 10,000 committed libertarians and confused liberals, the day-long Rally for the Republic was like a rock show without the rock. Paul even speaks like Underdog. Ventura, in the Hulk role, announced interest in running in 4 years. Paul-Ventura, 2012? There’s no need to fear.

Tomorrow, Governor Sarah Palin should draw a full house for her time in the spotlight, family, future son-in-law and all. Another anti-war march is planned. Will that lettuce still be on the shelf?

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