Before I get to Governor Palin’s wonderful speech, there are several other things that struck me as the RNC proceeds forward to the acceptance speech by McCain tonight. The first is that there aren’t many conservative women in the GOP pipeline contesting Senate races or any higher state offices. What does it say about this party that the “qualified” women suggested for McCain’s VP pick aren’t conservatives? Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole, and Kay Hutchison, while they may be conservative enough for some people, don’t bring much to the table for McCain, and it wouldn’t bring in those independent and moderates, or even the Hillary voters. They would have done even less for the social conservative base than any other candidate on McCain’s shortlist.
There is more work that needs to be done on the grassroots level to recruit more women and minorities. While it’s a myth that the Republican party doesn’t have anything to offer those two groups and working people, we have continued to allow the media to push this narrative — and we don’t have much ammo to use even if we fought back against it. This needs to change. We do have ideas that work for these groups — at least conservatives do — but the failures of current Congressional Republicans have damaged the Republican brand, and it’s hard for the American people to trust us to deal with everyday problems.
This is why Mitt Romney’s message fell flat last night. Republicans are part of the problem in Washington. Many of them have surrendered to Democratic rule, and they have allowed too many earmarks to go through. They compromised on pieces of bad legislation with the Democrats. It fires up Republican crowds to talk about all those bad “liberals”, but what resonance would it have with the rest of the American voters? Mitt isn’t comfortable in the role of the attack dog. The speech he gave last night was fiery, and full of stuff conservatives like to hear, but I thought that his delivery was slightly over-the-top. Just a minor style point in an otherwise effective speech.
On the other hand, Rudy was fantastic. He was on the attack against Barack from word one. I liked his speech so much that I, the pro-life socon, had a fleeting thought about him as our VP. It passed, of course. I’m also glad he didn’t make his entire speech about 9/11. I wondered from the beginning when he would mention 9/11 and it didn’t happen until the end. Good job Rudy.
I will have more to say on Sarah Palin because she deserves her own post on the acceptance speech. But there is one main objection I have to the way the McCain campaign is handling the Palin introduction to the country — it has distracted the focus of this convention. The storylines are all about Sarah and her family. We have heard some fallacious idle speculation about her family, and the Bristol Palin pregnancy suddenly became top news. The leftists in the press will do what they are expected to do, which is to keep talking up the ugliness. It is the responsibility of the McCain campaign to get their policy message out through this convention. They have failed to do that so far this week. Hurricane Gustav may have wiped out day 1, but the rest of the convention hasn’t been an effective vehicle for presenting McCain’s alternative vision for the country in specific terms. Maybe this will change tonight. Even though Sarah was a hit with the crowd last night (and that was very important for her going forward in this campaign), the convention will be a failure without the presentation of contrasts between McCain and Obama on policy.