Ramona: Curtain Down On The Trump Show
Doc Cleveland: College-Ready Seventh Graders
Maiello: Social Safety Net Not Good Enough
This is a three part series. I recommend that you first read Part I and Part II, or you will be confused and slightly disoriented. You may experience sensations of nausea.
Live dance-off blogging. Remember, the outcome of the dance competition will determine the Democratic nominee. There are three competitions: ballroom, breakdance, and free-style.
7:00 The show begins. Shots of the crowd. Al Gore, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, and P. Diddy at the judges table. I thought that Gravel wasn't a Democrat anymore. Here come the candidates. Bill and Barack looking smart in tuxes, Michelle radiant in a black silk gown, Hillary in a sequined pantsuit. Not sure how I feel about that. Smiles. Handshakes. Air kisses. Waving to the crowd. Yada, yada, yada.
7:05 Barack wins the coin toss and chooses to go second. Hillary's not happy about that. She's conferring with the judges. Now she's waving a pillow at them and pointing towards Barack. I'm not sure where she got the pillow.
7:09 Hillary still arguing with the judges and waving the pillow. She sure is a fighter.
7:14 Bill Richardson has come to the judges table. He seems to be asking Hillary to accept the coin toss. She seems to be walloping him with the pillow. Cut to commercial.
7:18 Back from the commercial. The Obamas have graciously agreed to resolve the impasse by going first. They'll be performing what they're calling "An American Medley", a set of classic folk dances designed to highlight unity. They're joined on the dance floor by a range of diverse Americans: a Native American in traditional dress, a black police officer, a white construction worker with a mustache... Wait a minute. Those are the Village People! The first dance is YMCA. The Village People aren't bad for their age. OK, Village People are off, except for the cowboy. He's joined by a bunch of others in cowboy boots, and Barack has put on his cowboy hat. Must be time for country line dancing. YOL (yawn out loud). Why did people ever watch this on TNN? OK, country dancers file off. Here come the Hasidic Jews. Uh oh, seems like a music malfunction. They're playing Macarena. Barack and Michelle are gamely trying to lead, but it seems that Jews can't Macarena. Wait, here come the Hispanics to the rescue; they're showing the Jews how it's done. And now Hava Nagila is playing. Barack and Michelle and Jews and Hispanics dancing blissfully in a circle. And here come the Village People and the line dancers to join in. Barack and Michelle are being lifted on chairs, and everyone is circling around. And now the finale: they're all doing YMCA again. Except for the people holding the chairs. Oops, one of the chair bearers got excited and motioned a "C". Down goes Michelle. That fall may hurt her scores, but she recovered quickly.
7:31 Here come the scores from the judges. 7 from Gore. 10 from Edwards. He's obviously sucking up for VP. 1 from Gravel, no mercy there. Puff gives a negative -4. I didn't know that judges even had negative scorecards. Boos from the crowd. Barack and Michelle are showing brave faces, but they do not look happy.
7:36 OK. Here come the Clintons for the Uruguayan Tango. Wow. Hillary is in tails. Bill is wearing an evening gown and biting a rose. A very bold statement from the Clinton campaign. I'm not sure how this will play politically, but I have to commend such a risky, frank challenge to gender roles from a serious presidential candidate. Hillary now leads Bill around the floor, and I must say they are sharp. Hillary is confident, and Bill is seductive. And now the dip. Ohhhh. Not good. Bill is down, and he's dragged Hillary down with him. (Again.) Hillary is back on her feet, and now she's over at the judge's table. She seems to be complaining that it's not a level playing field, er dance floor, whatever. Richardson is back too, and Hillary is smacking him with the pillow again.
7:43 We've got scores. 5 from Gore. Another 10 from Edwards. Gravel is trying to get the minus sign away from Puff, but Puff won't give it to him. Gravel gives up and holds up another 1. Puff gives a -0. Does he know that's the same as 0? I guess that it's 16-14 for Hillary. Commercial break.
7:53 Time for the breakdance competition. Here's Obama, looking fly in a Bulls lid, hoodie, baggy shorts, and pumas. Interesting music choice, will.i.am's popular paeon to Obama: Yes We Can. Can anyone say "cult of personality"? Barack's got the moves though. Amazing. It's hard to watch this performance and not be moved. This will definitely be another YouTube sensation. And here's his signature move, the "Audacious Hope Monger". Holy crap. Yes he can!! I haven't seen a performance like this from a presidential candidate since FDR's tap-dancing routine. This dance will go down history. And here are the judges. Gore with a 9. Does that constitute an endorsement? Another 10 from Edwards, of course. 6 from Gravel. Curmudgeon. And what the heck? Puff is holding up a :). I don't know how to score that.
8:00 And here's Hillary. Black nylon pantsuit and red Converses. Comfortable yet classy. Music selection? Interesting. Eye of the Tiger. I didn't know that you could break to that. Here she goes. Actually, she's not bad, clearly well prepared for this kind of event. That's her infamous "Big State" move. Interesting, but not ultimately compelling. She sure can spin though.
8:03 Must be time for Bill's interlude. Michael Jackson's Beat It is playing. And here's Bill, all Jacksoned-up. Parachute pants, one white glove, and oh, no, that is so wrong. Bill Clinton is in black face. The crowd is booing, but Bill's already breaking. Oh this is sad. Bill, you cannot break. Please don't do the worm, please don't do the worm, oh. He did the worm. Well, I think it's settled. Bill is definitely not the first black president. Hillary's back on stage. But Bill won't get off. He's ignoring her. They're kind of pushing at each other. It actually looks a little like the Beat It video.
8:05 Someone stopped the music. And here are the judges. Gore with a 3. Edwards is undecided. Probably worried that Hillary will screw him if he gives her anything less than Barack. Gravel with a 1. Instead of a scorecard, Puff is now holding up his middle finger. We're still waiting on Edwards. Hillary goes over to speak to him. Is that allowed? Here comes Barack. Now they're both talking to him. What is going on? Edwards will not make a decision. There it is. 9. Hillary is pissed off, but I think she got off easy. Commercial break.
8:10 Big news: The DNC has ruled that P. Diddy's scores are invalid, and he will not be seated at the judge's table. Hillary has been trying to figure out a way to count Puff's -4 score for Obama, but I don't think it's going to happen, which means that Barack now leads 44 to 29. It's hard to see how Hillary can come back from this deficit, but she won't quit.
8:11 Time for the freestyle competition. Barack has spent lavishly on an Olympic-size pool for a synchronized swimming performance. Hillary will present an avant-garde performance art piece entitled, Beheading the Harping Hydra of Hillary Hate, in which she will act out the destruction of a many-headed monster. Each head of the monster will bear a likeness to one of her enemies.
8:12 Something's rumbling. The floor is opening up. And there's Barack's olympic sized pool underneath. Remember, Barack has promised to put 50,000 synchronized swimmers in that pool. It's certainly packed in there, but it doesn't look like he's delivered on his promises. We won't have the final numbers until later tonight, but the networks are projecting between 800 and 900 swimmers for Obama. There's a platform in the middle of pool with an elevated lifeguard seat; Barack's on the seat, Hasslehoff-like, blowing a whistle. My fears have been confirmed; he's wearing a speedo.
8:14 OK, music's starting. It's Yes We Can. Again. Barack really has to get over himself. The performance is impressive though. Everyone in the pool is perfectly synchronized. The organization skills of that man are incredible. Someone is struggling at one end of the pool. Oh, I get it. Synchronized simulated drowning. Barack does a reverse double somersault into the pool, swims over and saves the "drowner". Another drowner at the other end. Barack to the rescue. More drowners all over. Barack can't reach all of them. Oh look, the other swimmers are helping the drowners. Now they all have whistles and everyone's saving each other. So beautiful. I'm a little verklempt.
8:20 Standing ovation from the audience. And here are the judges. 9 from Gore. He seems to have come over to the Obama camp. Another 10 from Edwards. Even Gravel begrudges Barack an 8. Commercial break.
8:25 Barack now leads 71 to 29. Even if she gets a perfect 30, Hillary cannot win this dance-off, but that's not stopping her. Her supporters in the crowd are cheering her on. And here's Hillary, wearing a viking helmet and an iron chest plate over her pantsuit. There's also a cute Hispanic kid in a sombrero. They're both brandishing machetes. There's a red curtain behind them. I presume that the Harping Hydra of Hillary Hate is behind it.
8:28 Hillary and kid start screaming war cries and ululations. The curtain is rising. Oh. My. God. Every head on the hydra looks like...Barack Obama. It seems like she darkened his skin color too. So much for the friendly dance competition. Hillary and the kid are now hacking off the Barack heads and hurling them into the audience. There's fake blood spurting from the severed necks. Hillary and the kid are covered in it. Uh oh. Michelle Obama has now climbed onto the stage and is trying to stop Hillary from hacking off hundreds of her husband's hydra heads. She and Hillary are down on the floor having at it. It looks like mud wrestling, except that it's fake blood. Now Bill and Barack are on stage. Barack's trying to stay above the fray, but Bill is dragging him into it. Oh, Barack has just clotheslined Bill. Whoa, the Hispanic kid put on a lucha libra mask and took out Barack with a chair shot. Richardson has now jumped into the ring. And who's that? It's James Carville! He's walloping Richardson with Hillary's pillow. Gravel has now joined the fight. Oh! He just took out Carville with a huge rock. Edwards is hanging out on the side, still undecided. Gore's trying to play peacemaker. The Hispanic kid just took Gore down. Ouch, Gravel hit the kid with his rock. And what the heck is that? It seems that P. Diddy and Reverend Wright have just crashed the fight. They're driving a bus. I think that we all know where this is going.
8:40 See you all in Denver. Signing off in disgust.