A few thoughts on the McCain and Giuliani speeches last night: How exactly has John McCain determined that Al Qaeda was weakened by the War in Iraq? Does he know something the rest of us don't? Because there's plenty to indicate that Al Qaeda's been strengthened by the diversion of resources to Iraq and the gestures towards religious crusade. If McCain can prove the contrary, that would seem to be the kind of information we'd be hearing about at the Convention. I mean, it's not as if the Bush Administration has been shy about leaking classified information for electoral gain. It's always been impressive how Republicans manage to contend on the one hand that they represent decent, faithful, virgin America and defend it against the coarse and the obscene, and on the other hand that they represent common, hard-working, tough America against the lilly-livered elite (Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas? has an engaging the discussion of the need for the myth of the liberal elite as an explanatory tool for conservatives to exempt the smut they condemn from the explanations of laissez-faire capitalism they enshrine). But it takes truly stunning rhetorical gymnastics to elide both charges in a few sentences, as Giuliani does in celebrating Bush both for being comfortable with the vulgar language of the common man construction workers and for eschewing the vulgarity of the Democrats. So Giuliani is opposed to undemocratically elected governments which use external enemies to try to distract their citizens instead of improving healthcare. Who knew?


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