I predict that McCain’s speech at the conclusion of the Republican National Convention was better received among Ohio’s rank-and-file Republicans than it was among the audience in attendance in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I say that because of the audience responses to McCain’s promises of reform, which were warmly received in Saint Paul but would have been wildly and enthusiastically cheered in Ohio. While McCain clearly showed that he never approved of the excesses perpetrated by Republicans in Washington, a lot of the people who DID approve of those excesses were in the Saint Paul audience, dampening the crowd response.
In other words, the Republicans of the much-reviled Bush Administration were very well represented in the convention hall. I think that’s a shame. It clearly is time to turn the page.
Ohio’s rank-and-file Republicans have suffered embarrassment for the last 4 years, as scandals tainted the Republican brand when Bob Ney, Bob Taft, Joe Deters, and others, turned out to be undesirables. We rank-and-file Republicans in the Buckeye State are still dismayed by some of our state legislators and Congressional Representatives who still adhere to the principles of pay-to-play politics. We are hungry for a better crop of Republican officeholders. Clearly, if there are any Republicans anywhere in this nation eager for the McCain-Palin reform message, they are here in Ohio.
Several of the early speeches of the day were dreadful. How in the world does Kansas put up with its singularly uninspiring U. S. Senator Sam Brownback. His speaking manner was absolutely annoying. I was at the point of turning away from C-Span coverage. He was followed by a speaker that was nearly as bad: Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin. They need professional help to improve their speaking abilities. It’s a good thing the other networks talked over top many of these early speakers, because whatever lift Giuliani and Palin provided last night would have been quickly deflated if everybody heard those speeches.
McCain should have had nothing but passionate reform, reform, reform speakers tonight in order to keep the ball rolling from last night’s performances. Speaking without passion and detouring from the reform message by some of the earlier speakers was dampening enthusiasm.
I think many of those Beltway Republicans in attendance were subtly trying to sabotage McCain by not reacting enthusiastically to the McCain reform message, like when he talked about the spending, the earmarks, the corruption, the selfishness. Some of those selfish Beltway Bandits may be hoping that McCain falters this year, mistakenly thinking that they can be leader of the pack in 4 years. Brownback certainly performed that way. Some Beltway Bandits haven’t figured out that ordinary Americans are not proud of their behavior (and some may be in for a rude awakening when they’ve lost re-election bids this November). Other Beltway Bandits (like U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska) perversely feel that they will not be denied the spoils, no matter what, and those are the ones that will sabotage McCain and welcome Obama as President. Those are the ones that were resisting McCain’s message in Saint Paul.
I think it was necessary for McCain to own up to the fact that our Republican representatives in Congress have let down the voters, despite the bad vibes it caused among GOP bigwigs in Saint Paul, and even though it could be used as cannon fodder by Obama. In order to give McCain any credibility at all for the prospects of reform, especially for any independents that may have been paying attention, McCain had to clearly show he was not going to lead the nation through 4 more years of a Bush Administration.
Overall, I think the McCain speech was effective, and I’m hoping that most viewers didn’t tune in until the later portions of the evening. I did feel that stir of patriotism within me as McCain spoke with conviction of his solemn commitment to our nation.