Friday, September 05, 2008

RNC impressions

So it's over--the quadrennial GOP convention has sang its' last note.

Last night, McCain gave a completely appropriate address to the delegates. His delivery was off, due mostly to a crowd that was so eager to cheer that they continued to do so at the wrong time (seriously, maybe in 2012 when he's running for his second term, he can let key members of each delegation get a copy of the speech beforehand so that a lot of people in the audience are telling the floor "not yet--just wait a line"), but the content was unmistakeable: I am a guy who takes being President seriously. I am not trying to snow you with theatrics or a booming voice--I am trying to woo you with good principles, and a servant's heart.

Take that, Obama.

I had the great fortune of reading the speech while I watched McCain deliver it (I was watching him on Tivo well after he actually gave his address). I could find so very few things wrong with the written speech. It was unmistakably conservative, far more so than even I would have thought him to dare. It was also above the fray, quite respectful of Obama, while drawing some unique contrasts to the future plans of the two campaigns.

And once again, he played on Obama's turf.

What line from Obama's much ballyhooed speech will resonate with the conservatives and value-based voters on the right as much as McCain's "education is the civil rights issue of this century" will resonate with liberals and the inner-city populace of the left (or at least those who aren't already in line waiting for The One to start giving them things)? And that was just the introductory phrase to an awesome plan on education. Final line: "(we need to) help bad teachers find another line of work". While Obama might be able to muster enough conviction to SAY that in a speech, he could never deliver on that promise. Never.

I also liked what I call the "my party isn't always right and we haven't always been good" part of the speech. Real change demands that you break with the current scene in Washington--not JUST the current administration. Listen, this country is leaving a lot of people wanting not JUST because of the happenings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. McCain called out on ALL of Washington to pull their heads out of their collective arse and get back to the business of the people. Did Obama make that appeal? And again, even if he says the words, does he have any measure of conviction in that endeavor?

Was it rousing? Well, no, not 'til the end--and even that was forced, as if he was tired of constantly having his best lines deflated by the homecourt crowd and he just decided to get it all done at once.

But was it good? Yes, it was. It was honest. It was appropriately forceful.

It was McCain. And that made it perfect for this night.


Seriously, WOW!

Why? Because 2 weeks ago, there were still serious concerns about the enthusiasm gap in the two parties. Because 2 weeks ago there was a not-so-silent assassin (the media) playing against the GOPs interest every step of the way. And because 2 weeks ago, this was an election about change.

Today? Well, I think the enthusiasm gap has been closed. I'm reading in TV week that more people watched MCCAIN speak than did the savior of the world? That's IMPOSSIBLE!

And today, I think the not-so-silent assassin has been identified for what it is: a homer of the left. They will continue doing what they do best until the end of the election--lie, fabricate, cover, etc--but the mask has slipped. All it took was the integrity of an All-American girl being eviscerated across every medium to shine this most unwelcome spotlight on the newsbearers themselves. They will still have influence, let me make clear--but at least now people know that there is no "unbiased" angle in their news. Hopefully they'll look to other places for their info--and hopefully that will lead people to draw their own conclusions, rather than to repeat the idiocy of the chattering class.

And today--well, this may still be an election about change. In fact, I hope it is--because that's not just Obama's turf anymore. He'll still get more people voting for him strictly out of the "change" meme--but at least it won't be a slam dunk. That's a battlefield that is too close to call--which makes the favorable standing on the "experience" and "tough as nails" front all the more enjoyable.

And let's not forget the "smart" front, either. Yesterday, Biden referred to Palin as the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. I can't make this stuff up--fortunately, as long as there's Biden, I don't have to. You know, it was insufferable enough to refer to her as a mayor of a small town, as Obama did as recently as Tuesday if I'm not mistaken, because at least that was historically true while it was so remarkably inaccurate for the framed debate. But yesterday Biden called her a position she hasn't even held. If that's intentional, that's remarkably dumb. And if that's unintentional. . .well, that's remarkably dumb, especially since it happened the night after her big splash. Seriously, what politician DIDN'T know that she was the Governor of Alaska?

And THIS GUY is supposed to be okay as the man one heartbeat away from the Presidency?

But that's off-topic: what I want to write is that things have changed. It wasn't just Palin--but she certainly helped.

And it wasn't just Obama--but he certainly helped, too. And I have every reason to believe that he's going to help out more in the future. (But that's a topic for another post)

McCain has played all his cards perfectly so far. While I have no illusion that this is a done deal, I think he should be comfortable with his position.

And I hope he doesn't abandon the strategies that got him there.

Be bold. Be "unconventional". Be about the big picture as opposed to down-in-the weeds (or down-in-the-mud).

In other words: Be yourself.


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