TUESDAY NIGHT IN ST. PAUL…. The first real night of the Republican National Convention was rather informative. George W. Bush thinks Democrats are comparable to Vietnamese Communists. Fred Thompson thinks Barack Obama supports killing infants. Joe Lieberman thinks he’s a Democrat. Practically every speaker thinks Obama doesn’t have the experience necessary for national office, but Sarah Palin does. Oh, and did you know that John McCain was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war?

It was, to put it mildly, a headache-inducing affair. I kept wondering why the convention didn’t come with a warning from the Surgeon General: “May cause viewers to want to throw things at their televisions.”

Slate’s John Dickerson highlighted what he saw as a night of contradictions.

Party stalwarts gathered to celebrate both members of their ticket for bucking their party. The man who waged one of the most desultory campaigns for president in recent memory gave the most rousing speech. And the night ended with a call for loyalty from a member of the opposition party.

John McCain was celebrated for bucking entrenched interests, even in his own party. He was praised for standing up to Republican icon Ronald Reagan just after Reagan had been heralded with a video. Sarah Palin was also cheered for bucking her party. The crowd roared to hear that McCain would change Washington, D.C. — even though that same crowd had just cheered loudly for George Bush, the leader of their party and the person most responsible for the situation that needs changing. […]

Joe Lieberman ended the evening…. In a direct appeal to Democratic voters, he didn’t talk about issues on which McCain might find common ground with Democrats, as Barack Obama did in his appeal to Republicans in his acceptance speech. Instead, he returned to the night’s theme of values, telling Democrats they had a chance to vote for a true American patriot. The Republicans roared for the Democrat, capping the night of contradiction.

And just to add one more contradiction, Lieberman told the convention, “What you can expect from John McCain as president is precisely what he has done this week: which is to put country first.” Um, Joe? This was the week it became painfully obvious that McCain doesn’t put country first.

Overall, the night seemed to have a dreary quality, as if Republicans were just going through the motions. The Dems took a little while to get going in Denver; maybe the GOP does, too.

What’d you think?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.