Rudy Giuliani was masterful, and so entranced with his moment on the Republican-convention stage Monday night that he didn’t know when to wrap it up, piling on anecdotes about Chicago cops directing traffic in New York streets, denunciations of atrocities in Sudan, and references to the Old Testament, and acting out bear hugs by construction workers. He was so good, though, that even a huge slathering of cheese immediately after Giuliani finished—a videotape of Sinatra belting “New York, New York”—couldn’t completely smother the cheers of the delegates.
But the strongest emotion on the first night of the convention—a night constructed to milk every undeniably tragic and uplifting sentiment generated by September 11, 2001—was provoked by, of all people, Michael Moore. Sitting in the press row, Moore was surrounded by one ring of Secret Service agents and another of reporters, paralyzing a section of the media seating area as the agents protected the provocateur from … interviews? “No one’s hassled me like this,” shouted one reporter as Secret Service agents pushed cameras away from Moore. “Well, how’s your movie doing?” Moore replied.
Right below Moore, the West Virginia and Missouri delegations were confused. They couldn’t decide whether to curse Moore or to photograph him. So they did both. “Scumbag!” one woman in a lime-green blouse hissed, aiming her digital camera.
“Sleazebag!” shouted a bow-tied delegate.
“Yeah, well, he’s a richer sleazebag than he was last year!” snapped a man across the aisle.
“Look at him pouting up there, like a big ol’ baby!” a West Virginia woman sneered.
Yes, that Moore was, as usual. But he certainly wasn’t pouting: He was grinning. Especially when Senator John McCain told the crowd not to let a “disingenuous filmmaker” tell them Iraq was better off before the U.S. invaded. The Missouri and West Virginia delegations stood, turned to Moore, and chanted “Four more years!”
Moore laughed, waved, and held up two fingers. At first he appeared to be making a peace symbol. Then he clarified, by slowly mouthing, “Two more months.”