Night Three: Not Bad

My overall thoughts:

--Sarah Palin was good. But she wasn't that good. She didn't change anyone's mind about her qualifications or knowledge of the issues, or let anyone know where she stands on any issues. She had a good night, but I don't think she did anything that will matter two weeks from now.

--In particular, I thought she blew a chance to show actual empathy with Americans; to be the embodiment answer to Obama's charge that McCain and the Republicans "don't get it." Yes, she blasted the big-city elites and self-important Washington blowhards, and touted the greatness of small-town America, but she didn't make the crucial connection that, because of who she is and how she's lived, she understands the kitchen-table problems that Americans face. The Democrats spent a week painting themselves that way; the Republicans have barely spent two minutes.

--What the hell happened to her introductory video?

--That liberal elite coastal big-city Ivy League New York Times Washington Post fancy-pants media sure has gotten this country into a mess, huh?

--The biggest problem with Day Three is that, despite supposedly focussing specifically on McCain's economic plan, they provided nothing except blasting Barack Obama for allegedly planning to tax everyone to the gills. That's not going to cut it. The video purportedly outlining McCain's economic plan was particularly vapid and empty, and the accompanying speeches from Whitman and Fiorina didn't add anything.

--Joe Biden on the Today Show this morning put perfectly what I've been thinking all week: "This is all being done to mask the fact that they don't want to own up to the last eight years, and they don't have a plan for the next four years."

--I love the Obama-bashing, which I think is their only hope, but I think it's getting all mangled up in this over-arching theme of the need to reform Washington, which is an argument that McCain and the Republicans simply cannot win over Obama. As much as they may try to paint McCain as the maverick, non-partisan, take-'em-on reformer, the fact is he's been part of that swamp -- which people overwhelmingly associate with the Bush Administration and Republican legislators like DeLay -- for almost three decades with very, very, little record of passing anything, let alone major reform. What happens when Obama turns to him in a debate and says, "in what little time I've been in the US Senate, I co-authored a major new lobbying-reform law -- the one that allows the American people to know exactly which lobbyists are bundling contributions to the two of us. Aside from trying to find out whether ballplayers are using steroids against the Nationals, what have you done to clean up Washington lately?"

--Speaking of whether or not Obama has ever passed any reform legislation... I have no problem with the distortions and misrepresentations that take place in these political forums, but the quantity and scope of outright falsehoods from the RNC podium has been pretty breathtaking.

--Just wondering: are the Republicans suddenly embarrassed by their faith or something? Sarah Palin's religion is quite obviously central to her, and yet in introducing herself to her party and the country she could have been an atheist for all you could tell. Minister Huckabee barely mentioned faith. Almost nobody has talked about it.

--Not sure if I was watching the same Romney speech as Hillary Chabot. I saw the guy doing what he always does: helping Mitt Romney. He barely mentioned the VP -- and certainly gave no specific argument in favor of her -- and slipped a few McCain references in, almost parenthetically. The whole theme of the speech, "kick the liberals out of Washington," was antithetical to the convention's theme of nonpartisanship, "Country First," etc. In fact, it sure sounds to me like the speech of someone running against incumbent Barack Obama in 2012.

--I'm thinking that, to the extent younger Americans have not yet been completely alienated from the GOP, the impromptu lustful chanting of "Drill Baby Drill" by 20,000 Republicans during Giuliani speech probably sealed it.

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