rnc: the end and the beginning

There were three major storylines at the RNC today that had nothing to do with Sarah Palin.  The first was the ceremonial end of the Bush era.  The second was Fred’s red meat speech and his stirring account of McCain’s military service.  The third — Joe Lieberman incinerating those bridges between himself and the Democrats once and for all with his direct attacks on Barack Obama.

The Republicans need to do more to emphasize the differences between Bush and McCain, but they need to do this without completely abandoning Dubya.  There are those in the party who still love the guy, and we need all the votes we can get to defeat Barack Obama.  That’s why the President had to speak at the RNC, no matter how brief the speech would have to be.  I’m not sure that the President did much to advance McCain’s candidacy, but it was nice to give him one last hurrah in front of an appreciative crowd. We also saw a video tribute to Bush Sr. It was fitting that they gave all the Bushes their due at the last convention they will have with a Bush in the White House.  (Unless Jeb surprises us all someday…)

Fred Thompson’s speeches will never approach the eloquence of Senator Obama’s, but he was on fire tonight.

Here’s some of what he said about McCain:

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be President. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, ‘Who is this man?’ and ‘Can we trust this man with the Presidency?’ He has been to Iraq eight times since 2003. He went seeking truth, not publicity. When he travels abroad, he prefers quietly speaking to the troops amidst the heat and hardship of their daily lives. And the same character that marked John McCain’s military career has also marked his political career. This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular. At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops. And now we are winning. Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero. And President Reagan admired John tremendously. But when the President proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake. My friends … that is character you can believe in.

Zing.  Character matters, at least it does for Republicans.  That’s the main question we have been asking about Barack Obama from the beginning — who is this guy and can we trust him with the Presidency?  Love or hate John McCain — you know where he stands.

Finally, McCain’s bipartisan pal Joe Lieberman showed up and gave his consolation speech praising McCain and burying Senator Obama.  He said about Obama: “Senator Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.”  True.  Unfortunately,  Senator Lieberman is bipartisan in an undesirable way — everybody except a few select Republicans hates him, and even the Republicans who like him because he stood up to his party on the war would have strongly opposed his nomination as VP.  In addition to that obstacle, the Democrats might be forced to take some more serious action against him now that he has criticized The One and endorsed John McCain. How much pull does Lieberman have with Democrats and independents?  Could his speech bring in those who might be still on the fence about McCain v. Obama?  Somehow I doubt it.  One thing Lieberman’s speech did accomplish was to continue his alienation from the Democratic party.  Interesting how honest you can be when you have nothing left to lose.

10 thoughts on “rnc: the end and the beginning

  1. I loved Fred’s speech last night. Guys like Karl Rove, even, regarded Lieberman’s address as more important but to me, we need more speeches like Thompson’s.

    There are so many more home-runs to be hit against the Dems.

    Dear RNC, less hand-wringing, more home-runs please.

  2. I don’t think anyone knows where McCain stands. As Jaz said himself, the only issue he’s been consistent on over the last 8 years is abortion, and his pro stem cell beliefs might even hamper that. Heck, McCain, the one you say we always know where he stands, almost switched parties twice in the last 8 years. That’s not the behavior of a steadfast oak tree of a person by any means. He’s waffled back and forth and has over 70 flip-flops.

    If knowing where a person stands is about trust, then McCain is the least honest person in the U.S. government.

  3. Chris,

    The fact that he “almost switched parties” as you say speaks to that fact that he, like Lieberman, is a centrist. And arguably a left leaning centrist at that.

    You should be happy, our next president will either be a left leaning centrist or a hardcore leftist.

    Either way the left wins.

    This also helps explain why so many on the left are apoplectic about the Sarah Palin selection. There now is at least one conservative out of the four people on both tickets.

    Palin represents the fact that conservatives have not been entirely consigned to the political wilderness just yet.

    The addition of Palin to the ticket also ruins the MSM plan to have McCain as a back up plan if the country collectively doesn’t feel like making a state senator with no foreign policy experience our commander in chief.

    If something should happen to McCain should he win, then a bonafide conservative will suddenly be in charge thereby thwarting the MSM’s McCain safety net theory.

  4. Jaz, McCain is no centrist. Besides Iraq and his belief of war without end, there isn’t one issue Lieberman could be called a centrist on. He is the most liberal person in the senate from one of the most liberal states in the country. There’s no way he’s a centrist.

    Almost switching parties also doesn’t make one a centrist. Joe Lieberman, a man with no party, didn’t almost switch he was booted out when he lost the Democratic Primary in 2006. McCain on the other hand, out right considered switching parties two different times in the last 8 years. He flopped back and forth between the issue not certain what his decision was going to be. He also met with John Kerry to see about being his running mate in 2004. McCain’s a waffler, never certain where he might land. In Lieberman’s example, there was no switch. It was a forceful boot. In McCain’s example, he cognitively considered switching to the Democratic Party on two separate occasions only later to change his mind. That’s not centrism.

    I’ll agree Palin is a conservative. But I think she adds little weight to the McCain ticket. She is by far the most inexperienced VP selection in a hundred years.

    I do like to see the word apoplectic, however. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.

  5. No, I don’t at all. I thought Republicans were beyond oratorical skills? Her speech means nothing. She’s the mayor of a small town in Alaska, has no legislative experience at all and absolutely no foreign policy experience. If I remember correctly, just last week Republicans claimed president’s had to have foreign policy experience and a legislative record. Palin has none of the above. I guess all the qualifications they claimed Democrats should have don’t apply to them.

    I’ve been hearing for a year that eloquent speeches are nothing for something as important as the presidency. Now all of a sudden Republicans are telling me I should have heard her speak? Interesting.

  6. More executive experience than the guy at the top of the Democratic ticket who has never run anything other than his own self-serving political campaign. Even that is not really being run by Obama. Rather, he is being run by a shady roaches nest of uber-liberals, former domestic terrorists, and race-baiters. Pay no mind to that man (David Axelrod) behind the curtain.

    Somehow you never got the memo I guess, but the longer this discussion comparing Palin’s experience to Obama’s goes on, the worse Obama looks because it brings up the area in which Obama is the weakest: his own thin resume.

    Obama himself has even realized this (actually David Axelrod probably pointed it out to him). Have you not noticed that after a week of fruitless attacks against Palin, Obama has shifted back to critizing McCain?

  7. Somehow it has escaped Chris’ notice that Governor Palin is not running for President, but for Vice President — if the McCain / Palin ticket wins, he’s in charge. Her short resume is less of a problem that Barack’s since Barack does have to be President on day one if he wins the election. Who’s going to advise him on foreign policy? The Clintonistas in his inner circle, with their questionable track record on terrorism? David Axelrod? Joe Biden? If one really wanted to explore Biden’s own track record on current foreign policy questions, it’s not clear to me that Joe is as smart on that as the MSM says he is.

    The stuff with Palin is a distraction for Obama, because he’s not running against her, but against McCain. We aren’t comparing Palin and Biden. In fact, no one has been talking about Biden much at all, except when he makes one of his hilarious gaffes, like telling the guy in the wheelchair to stand up. (That’s my favorite Bidenism, BTW) How about the time when he wanted the government to help buy Americans toasters? (Stainless steel for me please…) How about his comments on how patriotic it is for rich people to pay a lot of taxes? The Democrats would benefit from giving Biden a set speech and keeping him away from the media. Let’s talk more about Biden and his supposed wisdom.

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