People want to hear more about what I think about politics. I can hardly contain myself (no sarcasm here).
My reaction to the Palin speech? The next morning, I made an online donation to the McCain/Palin campaign. Needlesstosay, I was impressed by Palin and it is not just because she is a woman. But as to the conclusion of my point by point discussion of the conventions:
The Rest of the RNC
1. Rudy Guiliani - Wow. I knew I liked Rudy. Growing up on Long Island, Rudy's impact on the NYC was very obvious. NYC became clean, safe, and cops on every corner. After 9/11, Rudy became America's mayor and for good reason. He threw a LOT of punches at the Obama camp at the RNC, and it reminded me of the grittiness of a true New Yorker. I think that Rudy's most effective point might have been about Barack Obama's voting "present" in the Illinois legislature. Apparently it is not uncommon to vote "present" in the Ill. legislature, but there is still a question about the bills that Obama found it impossible to take a position on (some were unanimous votes except for Obama's "present" vote). Which begs the question, if you don't agree, why not just say no? Perhaps, then, it was above his pay grade to make decisions as well?
2. Palin - I wish that they could have run Palin's bio video, but alas, all she did was walk on stage and start talking. I loved her style. She is smart, sassy and sophisticated. She is a quick study. Her presentation was easy to listen to, easy to laugh with and easy to relate to. She did a good job building up McCain's record. She told her story with humility and humor (I don't need to quote the hockey mom comment do I? - a total adlib when her teleprompter went off - even MORE impressive). The moment that I knew Sarah was for me was her very serious delivery of lines such as "But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot" (with a sly smile). Loved it. It has been a week since the speech and now as (some of) the dust has settled, I am struck by the pragmatism that Sarah Palin has displayed in her politics and her approach. I consider myself a pragmatist, so, it is no surprise that I like her. I was pumped up last Wednesday night and I am STILL pumped up.
3. Lindsay Graham - WHY do they let this man speak?! Yikes. Snooze. I know he's buddies with McCain and Lieberman, but spare us.
4. Cindy McCain - Two things here. I never knew much about the McCain family and the story of their adopted daughter Briget is a sweet one. The story of Cindy's family and her romance with John was nice to hear. It humanized the long term politician that we know. But, secondly, I felt bad for Cindy. She was obviously nervous, and although sweet and endearing, she is no Laura Bush. She did a good job, but it was hard not to reflect HOW good Sarah Palin was after seeing the pre-McCain speakers on Thursday night.
5. The Main Show - I felt terrible that the first 15 minutes of John McCain's speech was constantly interrupted by protestors. Why can't we just give each side its hour with respect and civility? Each time a protestor stood up, the crowd started chanting 'USA' and poor McCain kept having to stop.... but when the protestors had done their damage, John McCain got his footing and I think, considering he isn't a speech-maker-of-note, he made a good case for his role as reformer, and got the crowd pumped with his rousing call to:
"Fight with me. Fight with me.
Fight for what's right for our country.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children's future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.
Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here."
Given this isn't McCain's favorite forum, I think he did exactly what he need to. He reframed the argument. He made a case that he is a real agent for change. As evidenced by the week that's followed, the Obama campaign still doesn't seem to know how to respond.
Overall: Despite the challenges of Gustav and having to revamp the schedule, including Bushie time (not a bad development, really), the RNC was a wild success. The theme was (painfully) clear: Country First. The VP pick impressed us - energizing the base and providing some independents and women a reason to give McCain another look. The speeches reminded us what the true differences are between Republicans and Democrats, but provided a necessary departure from the Bush years. It is hard to believe that a year ago it would have been unthinkable for a Republican to have a shot at the White House in 2008, and yet, here we are with a forward thinking reformist ticket! For the future though, I think it would be best if we could keep the dancing at a minimum at the RNC.
Another Follow Up / The Media: Since my post commenting on the utter bias of Olbermann and Matthews, MSNBC has removed the two from their moderation of the campaign debates. They will remain as analysts (where their bias is accepted), but will not be delivering the "news". That job has been given to White House correspondent, David Gregory. Fox News is reporting that the change is due to pressure from Tom Brokow on the NBC big-wigs. If so, good for Brokow. I knew I always liked him.