MY GOP CONVENTION THOUGHTS
I thought the speech was weak and then I was surprised to hear the pundits deem it passable. The take tonight was that it started slow and then picked up, but I never felt the pickup. I yelled at the TV 3 or 4 times before realizing that I would wake up Trish who couldn't weather it. She was riveted during Palin and zzzzzzzzzzz for McCain.
I don’t understand it. McCain’s speech at the 2004 convention was pretty doggone good, not Giuliani good, but good enough that I liked it although I was still angry at him for voting against the tax cuts. He just seemed so flat here. Was he over-rehearsed? Under-rehearsed? A lot of it had to do with the choppy nature at the beginning maybe. The whole nonsense about not working for a party or special interests but the people belies his insistence on passing the amnesty bill despite the public outcry against it. How about those 2003 tax cuts? What people was he fighting for that time? ANWR? Well, that might change now.
The biography highlighted all his demerits and his finishing 5th from the bottom at Annapolis. He’s always been a maverick and I can relate to that. Dude and I spent the majority of our college time in conflict with the student and faculty advisors of the TV program. But McCain is not a maverick, contrarian, nonconformist because he is fighting for the people. It’s just his nature. Dude and I rebelled at the stodgy and pretentious news program not because we were fighting for the audience, but because we were fighting against our own boredom. Getting a laugh or two from our piece made the time and effort worth it. McCain is probably bored with conformity too, but it sounds phony to me to put a populist spin on it.
I’m not a pollster so maybe it is good politics to brag about reaching across the aisle, but when you do that, you’re just reaching for a checkbook from the Federal Treasury or you’re limiting some sort of personal liberty. And those were the things he just finished telling us he wouldn’t do. Something for everyone, I guess.
I like him on the war and I don’t trust him on much else. Until Palin, I hadn’t discounted the idea of voting for Barr. Buckley used to say that he always voted for the rightward most viable candidate. Buckley is right, but Palin has made it much easier to live with.
E made a good point about Obama’s surge admission to O’Reilly. Obama said something else that perked my ears. He said that a President can never take the military option off the table concerning Iran. But that is exactly what elected officials did by criticizing Iraq. The bluster and maneuvering by Amadinejad was a direct result of sensing that America did not have the unity to invade Iran. And although unspoken by White House, the intimidation of Iran was one of the major reasons to invade Iraq in the first place. I hear politicians criticize the invasion by saying that it hasn’t been worth the cost, but every time they speak against the war, they further weaken any gain and thus get the opposite results of what they purport to want.
Obama handled himself well on the interview. Fox has now landed Hillary and Obama this year and I don’t think they ever got Gore or Kerry during their runs. Most Democrats use to avoid Fox. Maybe they feared tough questions or maybe they feared their anti-Fox constituents. The blogosphere is full of rage at Fox, the same people who are always celebrating differences. But I think I read last year that as many as 40% of Fox viewers are Democrats. I would guess that a great many of them are the kinds of swing voters that Democrat Presidential candidates covet.
Before the speech I thought the race was McCain’s barring a late innings news event that would help Obama. McCain didn’t do himself a big favor with the speech, but maybe Palin’s star turn will make up for it. Maybe it played just right to undecided voters. But Obama going on O’Reilly was kind of a news event I didn’t expect. I think it’s going to be an interesting two months.