Thursday, September 04, 2008


Mac To The Future?

John McCain tonight gave a fantastic, powerful moving address -- assuming you tuned into just the last seven minutes or so.

Sorry, but the rest of it was pretty flat -- and not only because he was following Sarah Palin who captured the convention Wednesday night.

There were certainly things that I liked in the speech -- most notably school choice and his vow to end the bipartisan corruption in DC. But there was nothing really new.

Strangely, for someone who has talked so much about his foreign policy experience, there seemed very little focus on it. Iran was mentioned exactly once -- even though we have been, supposedly, engaged in a proxy war with it for three or four years. Meanwhile, Russia was mentioned by name three times -- essentially for an incident that was more enhanced border dispute. McCain said we have nothing to fear from a "return to the Cold War." The rhetoric he was throwing around this summer (and before that, for that matter) would tend to belie that.

Otherwise, the speech had the feel of a list that had to be checked off.

Still, to give the man his due, considering the unpopularity of George W. Bush, McCain gets points for mentioning him at the outset.

The end, with its moving narrative of his time as a POW and this passionate closing --
I'm going to fight for my cause every day as your president. I'm going to fight
to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that
I'm an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. And with hard
work -- with hard work, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are
always within our reach.
Fight with me. Fight with me.
Fight for what's right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free
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. We're Americans, and we never give
We never quit.
was incredibly emotionally engaging. It was some of Mark Salter's best work. McCain clearly was energized by them (even though the town-hall format caused the crowd noise to drown him out somewhat). That was true poetry.

Unfortunately, the prose and delivery of the rest of the speech was, just that, prosaic.

It will now be interesting to see the arc of the rest of the campaign. Sarah Palin has gotten the base energized and will undoubtedly help prevent a fair bit of erosion in red areas of the country.

The question is will John McCain be able convince the swaths of independents and conservative-leaning Democrats that he's the answer to their concerns. The "fight" mantra -- evocative of Hillary in the closing days -- may reach some of the Scots-Irish folk in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. However, it remains to be seen if there was enough "there" there to reach others.

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