Senator McCain’s acceptance speech last night was just about what I expected, judging from the theme of the other speakers at the Republican Convention. It was long on generalities and platitudes and short on specifics. It was a speech that could have been given by any Republican candidate for president in the last 20+ years.
Lower taxes, reduce spending, cut government programs, the usual suspects. He also found time to misrepresent Barack Obama’s proposals on taxes and health care, although he presented no health care plan of his own, and even get in an “anointed one” reference.
What McCain’s speech had plenty of was his autobiography. You know, the one he doesn’t like to talk about that much. For someone who claims that his experiences made him realize “I wasn’t my own man anymore, I was my country’s” and that he has been his country’s servant “first, last and always”, Senator McCain certainly spends a lot of time attracting attention to himself and his personal ordeal.
I would think that servant’s spirit might include a dose of humility, but then again I could be wrong.
Senator McCain also proclaimed his hatred for war, which is strange coming from the man who less than a month after 9/11 expressed his desire to take retaliation against Al-Qaeda beyond Afghanistan, and on January 2, 2002 said “Next up, Baghdad.”
McCain also continued his assertion that Obama would raise taxes, again leaving out the fact that it would only affect those making over $250,000 a year.
But he didn’t stop there, saying this:
“His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.”
To coin a McCain phrase, my friends, that is not a misrepresentation, that is a lie. Here is Obama’s health care plan. Someone please find for me where it says anything about forcing people into a government-run health care system. Remember the debate between Hillary and Obama over health care mandates? How her plan contained them and his didn’t?
Then there was this:
“I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.”
Another cheap shot, but not unexpected. No, Senator McCain is running for president because he wants to “serve a purpose greater than himself.” Hmmm, serve a purpose greater than yourself. That sounds to me like the job description of a community organizer. Nah, couldn’t be.
Finally, on the issue of “changing the way Washington works.” Refresh my memory, but hasn’t John McCain has been in Washington for nearly 30 years? Yet he talks like he has never even seen the place. He is going to suddenly reform something he has been hip-deep in for almost 3 decades. Does anybody see a contradiction there? But excuse me, who am I to question a former POW. Never mind.
Calm down Republicans, she’s only your VP nominee.
With all the gushing praise and the glowing reviews after Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican Convention last night, one would have thought she was the presidential nominee and not John McCain. Home run, amazing, brilliant, fantastic, the pundits proclaimed. What it was to me was a typical Republican stump speech, with a little personalized biographical information thrown in for good measure.
I’ll give Governor Palin credit for this much, she was well-rehearsed, well-prepared, and well-scripted. She threw enough chum in the water for the Republican sharks on hand and in the television audience to feast on for days and weeks to come.
She repeated the falsehoods and misrepresentations about her record, recounted again for us John McCain’s ordeal in a North Vietnamese prison camp, and took the obligatory shots at Barack and Michelle Obama. Yawn. Same old, same old.
What Governor Palin also did was leave herself wide open for attacks from the Democrats on everything from her alleged status as a reformer during her time as Mayor of Podunk, Alaska, to her support/non-support of the Bridge To Nowhere, to the accusations that she abused her power, to her knowledge, or lack of same, on foreign and domestic policy.
In his remarks to the Convention on Tuesday, President Bush spoke of the “angry left.” What I saw on display last night was the angry right. From Huckabee to Giuliani to Palin, I heard constant attacks on Barack Obama’s lack of experience and his policy proposals. What I didn’t hear were GOP alternatives to those proposals.
Nothing about the economy, other than the tired old ‘Obama will raise your taxes’ line. Nothing about how to deal with our dependence on foreign oil, nothing about the worsening situation in Afghanistan, just a constant stream of one-liners and zingers aimed at Barack Obama.
So I’ll end where I began, calm down Republicans, your main man has yet to be heard from. After all the hubub over Palin’s speech, McCain’s may become anti-climactic. Palin is a base consolidator, nothing more, and this election is not going to be decided by the respective bases, but by the independents and undecideds.
And when those undecideds get beyond Palin’s rhetoric and take a look at her hard-line stance on some issues and her lack of knowledge on others, I believe they will come to the conclusion that she is completely unprepared to be the person a heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the world.
For those without the inclination, or the stomach, to watch the Republican Convention last night, I thought I would bring you a few highlights(?) of what transpired. First, a shot of the delegates on the convention floor:
Anything catch your eye? Notice the diversity of the crowd? There are a total of 36 black delegates to this year’s RNC, that is less than 2% of the total and down from 7% in 2004. By contrast, at the Democratic Convention nearly 25% of the delegates were black.
Then there was President Bush addressing the crowd via satellite. Just as an aside, this is the first time since 1968 that an incumbent President hasn’t attended his party’s National Convention. President Bush took the occasion to jump aboard the “former POW” bandwagon with these remarks:
I thought comparing those who oppose John McCain, the so-called “angry left”, to North Vietnamese prison guards was a low blow, but not unexpected given the tenor of the McCain campaign so far.
Bush’s glowing remarks about McCain also brought to mind this famous photo of himself and Senator McCain.
Then there was Fred Thompson taking the obligatory shot at Barack Obama as someone who doesn’t oppose infanticide.
Joe Lieberman didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome from the Republican delegates, to say the least. Then he made this ridiculous statement: “God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man.”
Well, maybe with the exception of choosing a running mate. Then he bows to what the Party leaders tell him to do.