This convention weary Mouse eschewed the season opening NFL game tonight in order to view the final night of the Republican National Convention. I later found out that the New York Giants had defeated the Washington Redskins, 16-7.
In any event, tonight was a night that will be largely forgotten in the long run; whereas last night will linger in our memories for a long, long time. The Barracuda is a tough act to follow, rendering tonight anticlimactic.
There were more pedestrian speeches, nothing special. However, it is worth noting that Cindy McCain carried herself well on stage for this being the first time she’s faced a major audience. Once she was done, it was time for the McCain acceptance speech.
McCain is not a charismatic speaker. Expectations were low, although the audience on the floor seemed to be hoping for some fire and brimstone, which they really never got. Furthermore, McCain speaks best to an engaged audience in a town hall atmosphere. The Teleprompter is a hostile environment for him.
The speech started off slowly and stiffly, as McCain worked through the basic cordialities, thanking family, party, the troops, and “my friends” for making it possible for him to be standing there. It is interesting to note that in this section of the speech, McCain paid tribute to President George W. Bush with a one-sentence passing mention recognizing Bush for leading us after 9/11. That was it, the last direct reference to Bush, although later on, McCain would indict the present cast of characters in Washington for losing touch.
Appealing to the conservative wing, he asserted that “we [meaning Republicans] lost [the people’s] trust. We’re going to change that. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan is going to get back to basics.”
McCain portryed himself as a fighter who proudly wears the “maverick” moniker. He emphasized country before party. In doing so he set the stage for enunciating his differences with not only his opponent, Barack Obama, but also his own party and “business as usual” in Washington.
He ran through a series of core issues, contrasting his approach with those of his opponent. One of the first subjects was education, which McCain described as “the civil rights issue of this century.” He said that equal access had been gained but then he asked, “What is the value of access to a failing school?” He would create competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to recruiting new instructors, reward good teachers and send bad teachers packing. To sum it up, he said, “Obama wants schools to answer to unions and bureaucrats; we want schools to answer to parents and students.”
If rhetoric could kill, the National Education Association would be dead and buried tonight. Alas, it will be a helluva lot of work to free our broken education system from the shackles of malevolent, self-interested unionism.
McCain stressed individual responsibility and initiative, with minimal governmental intervention, instead of expansive government programs. Tax reductions instead of massive tax increases, health care reform that will allow individual choice instead of having “a bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor,” opening markets and preparing workers for new, permanent jobs, and attacking the energy problems on every front.
He would drill new wells offshore and drill them now, encourage construction of safe nuclear power plants, promote clean coal technology, encourage development of wind and natural gas energy sources, and provide incetives for development of hybrids and alternate energy automotive engines.
Cleaning up Washington and increasing transparency and accountability of government are standard lines for both party, but McCain promised a roomful of Republicans that he would go after waste no matter which party was supporting the wasteful spending. He would veto the first pork barrel spending bill that came across his desk and he would name names to the American public. Shades of Ronald Reagan.
I wonder whether Sarah Palin will auction off Air Force 2 on eBay.
A zinger for both Republicans and Democrats by McCain: “Constant partisan rancor is not a solution, it’s a cause…it’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves, not for you.”
McCain then recounted the story of his imprisonment and torture, and how it transformed him. “I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.” For this segment of the speech, he shitcanned the teleprompter and spoke from the heart.
Finally, he gave the audience a rousing send-off, exhorting them to “Stand up! Stand up! Stand up and fight!”
It was clearly a speech that reached out for the undecided vote. How successful that outreach will be remains to be seen. Palin certainly improves his chances with the Independents and undecideds. But will they believe that McCain is a fighter who can change Washinton?
Unlike the splashy, outdoor finale by the Greek temple Democrats, the final moments here were the typical confetti and balloon drops, augmented by pre-recorded fireworks playing on the big screen that served as the backdrop for the podium. Nothing overly spectacular.
This tired Mouse will let the pollsters decide who bounced higher and suchlike. It is time for this campaign to begin in earnest, which means lots of commercials and phone calls. At least we won’t have to hear the annoyingly haughty, “I’m John Kerry and I approved this message.” Both Obama and McCain are more pleasing to the ear. (Thanks to John McCain and Russ Finegold, we still have to listen to that stupid drivel.) We’ll have stump speeches and debates. This Mouse will come out when he sniffs a story.
By the way, this horny mouse notes that the women were hotter at the Republican convention than at the Democratic convention. Just an observation, folks.