It may have been a day late, but yesterday's GOP National Convention was far from a dollar short. The convention got off to a rousing start dominated by speeches from several fresh faces such as Utah's Mia Love and new Republican convert Artur Davis. But the highlight of the night was actually two speeches, the first by Ann Romney and the keynote address by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
(Notice the difference in size of the two videos. One cannot violate the laws of physics.)
The official theme of this convention is "We Did Build This," but there was another, more subtle thread that wound through last night's speeches. It struck a chord with me, and caught me somewhat by surprise.
Past conventions, in keeping with the respective campaigns themselves, have been rather pedestrian affairs to me. Dull platitudes, buzzwords, and copyrighted slogans usually dominated the proceedings. Last night was different.
John McCain's 2008 campaign seemed to be walking on eggshells. It lacked spark until SarahCuda took the stage to electrify the audience and the party's conservative base. In retrospect, it's all the more evident that the McCain camp was playing the political version of football's "prevent defense." There were no bold initiatives, no daring policy statements, to put it in football terms, there was virtually no offense. Contrary to the image that I expected from a military man, McCain showed little in the way of toughness.
Sarah Palin was the alpha dog of the pack. That's clearly no way to run a campaign even if it does fit the title of a certain blog we all know and love.
The low point for me came when McCain bristled at anyone who dared even use Barack Obama's middle name of Hussein. And while the new media of bloggers were busy uncovering Obama's decidedly shady past, McCain was just as busy ignoring it. Stupid me was convinced that once McCain began to point out that Obama had a quite radical past, the voting public would rightly turn against him.
Boy, was I ever wrong. McCain never voiced any reservations about Obama. You'll recall his infamous quote that we had "nothing to fear from an Obama presidency."
What a crock of shit.
This campaign is different in many ways from four years ago as a result of the mistake that was the election of Obama. There's always energy at a convention, but this year, that energy has taken a different tone, one that's far more serious. Sure, it's still festive, and why not? We should make it a real party, and I'm sure the bars in the Tampa area are doing a brisk business even at this hour of the morning. My liver and I are there in spirit.
Last night's speeches showed the influence of the Tea Party upon the GOP. This is a good thing and here's why. The past decade or so, as the Democrat Party has moved to the left, the Establishment GOP has been more than willing to follow them there. Compromise was the order of the day handed down from GOP Headquarters. Bipartisanship, not offering a viable and responsible alternative, was what the Establishment wanted. Many times, Republican leadership gave in to the demands of the Democrats and left many on the right side of the political aisle scratching their heads, wondering just what was going on.
What jumped out at me last night was the new tone of realism. More than one speaker talked of the importance of doing the right thing for the country rather than doing something to get reelected (which, more often than not, means caving in on important principles and giving Democrats everything they wanted so the Dims wouldn't say mean things about them). Gone was any notion of compromise, although bipartisanship was one point that Chris Christie emphasized throughout his speech. It seems that the new guard of young Republicans is more than willing to take the fight to the Democrats instead of cowering as the Establishment has done.
I, for one, welcome this new tone.
It's good for the party and it's good for the country. We've tried it the Democrat's way and we're paying the price for our flirtation with Socialism in ways you already know: economic stagnation, high unemployment as the "new normal," rampant inflation, the list goes on. This change of tone is exactly what we need today. No longer should we be afraid to confront Democrats, especially with their record of abject failure.
I expect tonight's speeches to continue to hammer Obama and his band of Merry Marxists even more, not out of spite (NTTAWWT), but to offer a clear contrast to their policies of government of the government, for the government and by the government.
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