All that may amuse Republican delegates, but members of the Bush brain trust insist it is just a sideshow.
What Bush really wants from this convention is to redefine Dukakis in ideological terms. His goal is to hang the "dreaded L-word" - liberal - around the neck of the self-described centrist.
Pat Robertson, the television evangelist, denounced Dukakis last night as ''the most liberal candidate ever put forward for the presidency by any major party in American history."
But Republicans believe it is not enough just to say Dukakis is a liberal. They must prove it. And the way to do that is not to ridicule the man - the way Democrats roasted Bush in Atlanta with pointed one-liners. It is to dissect his positions and his record and to make stark comparisons on issues.
"I don't think there's much choice in that regard - the Bush campaign and the Republican Party have to define more clearly Dukakis' negatives," said Republican pollster Richard Wirthlin.
That strategy is precisely the one convention speakers pursued last night.
They depicted the Massachusetts governor as weak on defense; he opposes many of the Reagan administration's advanced weapons systems, including the Strategic Defense Initiative.
"Michael Dukakis simply does not take the need for defense seriously," said former United Nations Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick.
They charged that he is soft on crime; he opposes the death penalty, even for drug kingpins and killers of police, and at one time endorsed a furlough system that gave weekend passes to convicted murderers.
They belittled his self-proclaimed "Massachusetts miracle" as a ''Massachusetts mirage." According to their statistics, job growth in the state in the last six years has been below the national average.
They blasted him as an advocate of big spending and higher taxes; by some reckonings, the tax burden in Massachusetts is among the highest in the country.
"I can put it no plainer than this," former President Gerald R. Ford said last night. "This year's Democratic ticket is a tax increase waiting to happen."
Lee Atwater, Bush's campaign manager, said such talk is comparative, not negative: "People remember the negative rhetoric from Atlanta, and they remember Dukakis calling the President of the United States a rotting fish. You will not hear that kind of invective at this convention."
There is good reason for not getting all that personal; polls suggest that if the election is fought on the grounds of character, Dukakis should win. One survey, released here this week by Republican pollster Lance Tarrance, asked voters which candidate they liked better as a person. They picked Dukakis by nearly 2-1.
That is why Dukakis proclaimed in his own acceptance speech that the campaign should be about "competence," not ideology, and said last week that the only "L-word" that mattered was "leadership."
So Republican strategists have chosen not so much to reshape Bush's image as to work around it. They figure that if voters understand the Bush-Dukakis differences on the issues - the difference, they say, between a proud conservative and a masquerading liberal - then Bush's stock will rise.
The orders are to stick to the issues, particularly taxes. But sometimes, even party leaders get carried away.
* New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, after proclaiming he would limit himself to "cold, hard facts," proclaimed yesterday that Dukakis' "Massachusetts Miracle" is really a "pathetic failure" and that the only reason anyone might think otherwise is because Dukakis, due to a "fundamental character flaw," keeps misrepresenting his record.
* Arizona Sen. John McCain, speaking about weapons systems, said Monday night that Dukakis thinks "that Trident is a chewing gum, that the B-1 is a vitamin pill, and that the Midgetman is someone who's shorter than he is." Height jokes are quite popular here. One sign, seen in the California delegation, read, "Beware of Greeks Wearing Lifts."
* Convention manager Fred Malek, at a breakfast for reporters Sunday, praised Bush for his national network of friends and then said of Dukakis: "I wonder how many friends Michael Dukakis has, and I wonder how warm and personable and outgoing he is felt to be by those around him. I think there's a contrast there."