Johnny B. Dull

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My first thought on walking into the Xcel Center tonight and seeing the blue screen behind John McCain was — have they learned nothing? Lime green jello and cottage cheese?  Is there no one in the Republican party who can do staging?  Hello, McFly?

And then there was the  sound of McCain’s voice.  He’s obviously been taking public speaking lessons from Hal, the computer from 2001.  It wasn’t long before I needed a nap.  But fortunately, there was plenty of time for one.  Fifty-three minutes, in fact.

It was an endless laundry list of failed conservative ideas.  The place was packed with a sea of Karl Rove look-alikes (who knew it was a style?) who only got excited about the idea of lower taxes and drilling for oil.  But even then, just barely.

McCain promises not to raise taxes, but he never says that he’s planning to tax your health care benefits as income.  Haven’t heard much about that, have we?  It’s true — if you receive health care benefits from your employer, John McCain wants to consider that income, and subject it to income tax.  It’s estimated that this would cost the average worker a couple thousand dollars a year.  He doesn’t mention that much.

What he does mention is his POW experience.  Over, and over, and over again.  I was a lot more sympathetic to his personal stories of being plucky in the face of torture before he started using his POW history to assert that the very same techniques used on him can’t be considered torture when used on "detainees."  McCain’s rather fluid definition of torture, and his willingness to use his history for political advantage as some enormous, all-purpose trump card leaves me a bit unmoved the more I hear his story.  And boy, do we hear it a lot.

I got there late and didn’t hear any of the other speakers because I was doing Bloggingheads with Ann Althouse (yes, we fought like alley cats, it’ll be up tomorrow).  As we were leaving McCain and his possee were standing around rather awkwardly on stage to a lackluster "greatest hits of the 70s" compliation, and I wondered how long it would take Heart to file an injunction over "Barracuda."

Evidently not long.