WHAT McCAIN SHOULD DO
So far, so good. Now McCain needs to deliver too.
No parade of soldiers. We get it about Viet Nam and service to country. Palin's line that only 1 of the 4 has ever actually fought for their country was terrific and memorable and on point.
They all had memorable lines - Rudy, Palin, Huck, Romney, Michael Steele, the governor of Hawai'i. Bring them out to wave and generate applause and then take their seats on the platform, not too close to McCain but they'll get plenty of air time smiling and clapping and showing unity and support for McCain and reinforcing how thoroughly they chewed up Obama and liberalism this week. Play up the party unity, diversity, talent, message and strength in that way - visually, not verbally.
Limit the sarcastic attacks, but do give us a few, as applause lines. Don't try the "above the fray" thing, but don't go so low that they can cast you as mean, a crotchety old man. Keep the tone serious but not grave.
Keep it short. 40 minutes with applause.
Have a theme and carry it through. Obama did not. Tell us early what you're talking about. Last night the theme was supposed to be Prosperity and there was nothing on that. The theme should be Reaganesque. Show us what optimism looks like, and contrast your worldview (and the heartland view) with theirs. Why is love of country important? What does it look like? Hey, he's talking about me! I feel that way too!
Hammer the distinctions on the issues of the day. Talk policy not platitudes - no one has done that yet this week.
On oil, "drill, baby, drill." When our 150 million cars run out of gas each week, we can't fill them with hydrogen or hope. We need a sustained supply of affordable oil, and only Big Oil can get it out of the ground. Jed Clampett can't do it.
On the environment, safeguard the planet AND safeguard the economy. If other nations control the energy, eventually they control the planet.
On the military, quote Obama on how he will pay for all his new programs - by cutting military spending. He spelled it out 6 or 12 months ago, and I would have to look it up, which I am not going to do now. Peace through strength. Paint the left as hope-fairies who aren't dealing with reality. Explain that it is only Bush's SUCCESS vs. terrorism that allows libs to pretend they have any answers. Continued success requires a strong military under wise command. This reminds us of all the soldier/captive/Viet Nam stuff without being blunt and unseemly.
On prosperity, most important is national security. Look at how dramatically the US economy has outperformed after 9/11. Tax relief. Limited government. Reducing waste. Vetoing earmarks. Let him riff a bit on this.
Reform. Give examples.
Fiscal restraint. Give examples.
Real bipartisanship. Their RECORDS clearly indicate that McCain is doer and his opponents are do-nothing windbags.
Remind us of checks and balances, that if all three branches of government fall under liberal control, what that will look like.
What's in it for me? Ultimately this is the payoff question. Ideology only appeals to ideologues, which many voters are not. Tell me why I should care who is President, what's in it for me. I do not pretend to know the answer, other than he is not Obama. If I have a good answer to this tomorrow, then his speech was a tremendous success.