After eight years of rejecting and marginalizing John McCain, the Republican Party nominated him for sainthood tonight to obscure its abysmal record at home and abroad.
Fred Thompson, a bad actor, and Joe Lieberman, a very bad actor, spent a TV hour trying to sell McCain's character as the answer to all of America's problems that the Bush Administration has created, ignored or worsened by trying to destroy the power of government to solve them.
"We need a president," Thompson declared, "who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking."
"Don't be fooled," Lieberman exhorted, "by some of these political statements and advertisements. Trust me: God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man."
In desperation to avoid talking about the Bush years, Lieberman even had the GOP crowd applauding as he compared McCain to "the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups, worked with Republicans, and got some important things done, like welfare reform, free trade agreements, and a balanced budget."
Thompson, in best "Law and Order" style, offered good-old-boy scenes from McCain's youth as "the leader of the troublemakers" at the Naval Academy and, in flight school, dating "a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida" followed by a graphic retelling of McCain's suffering as a POW.
In all, with a background of flags and fake blue skies, it was a prime-time hour worthy of "American Idol" and just about as substantial.