A Brilliant Speech
We Hurt, God Acts

Convention & Palin

I didn't get a chance to blog my thoughts about the convention before the announcement of the Palin pick, though that pick will underscore some of my thoughts.

The two most successful, in my opinion, conventions which I have watched are the Demcorats in 92 and the GOP in 2000.  In both of those races the incumbent presented himself as more experienced and better able to govern.  In both of those races the challenger presented himself as the leader of a party of the future, with new, big ideas.  Each challenger attempted to redraw the political boundaries -- Clinton to regain some of the Reagan Democrats and GWBush to broaden the party's appeal to minorities and independents.  The 2000 GOP convention was all about the big tent.  Racial minorities, women, even gay people were featured speakers (the 2004 convention was shockingly different).

So, I expected the 2008 Democratic convention to do the same, to present the future, to propose big ideas, attempt to redraw the political map.  But, I didn't see that.  The majority of the featured speakers represented the past.  No big idea was really featured at the convention.  New energy policies and new health care plans seem to have been the big ideas, but I didn't get the sense that these have any new momentum coming out of the convention.  And though some Republicans were featured, the overall tone and language of the convention was bread and butter Democrat.  I was pleased that they mostly avoided the condescending, patronizing language that their conventions are prone to (1996 being the worst).

Maybe the big idea is simply the mobilizing of a mass of people, especially new people, into the political process.  Obama has been brilliant at this, and I'm told it should amaze me.  I find it to have been effective in the primary, less so so far in the general.  It could create fascinating new ways to govern, I agree. 

But this mobilization is about process, not content. As the policy decisions are made, how will this process work?  Will it break down?  Will the masses go along with every decision?  Probably not.  I'm told I'm jaded because I'm so critical.  I see it differently.  I'm frankly nervous about uncritical devoted followers, no matter who they are following.

Overall, I give the convention a C.  I thought the 2004 Democratic convention was better, as far as conventions go and even though it was ineffective in the end.  It had a clear message and theme that set up the Democratic campaign (a theme which the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was then able to exploit). 

And Obama's speech last night was competent and good.  It did what it needed to do.  And was a tought speech, because of all the expectations.  But it was not a great speech.  I was not wowed by it.  I was moved somewhat near the end, but nothing like the way Hillary's speech moved me on Tuesday.  Obama gave some good hints in the speech about things I hope he follows up on (like the theme of a new strategic vision; that needs to be articulated more).

Which brings me to the brilliant pick of Sarah Palin.  Brilliant because the McCain-Palin campaign can now run both themes from the 92 and '00 elections -- "experienced candidate who is better able to govern" AND "party of the future with big new ideas."

Palin's speech this afternoon was very good.  She hit all the right notes about her candidacy's historical import in an attempt to rally women to the ticket.  And she focused on two themes -- ethics in government and energy policies.  If she keeps hitting those three themes over and over again, she will be very effective.

I think the GOP convention will now develop around some key themes in order to give those themes momentum coming out of the convention -- governmental reform, energy policy, and bipartisan pragmatism. I suspect that they will put all their young, pragmatic governors and mayors up front in featured slots. 

What will sink them is that they must distance themselves from Bush.  But they risk the core base if they do that.  Plus Bush himself will have to be featured.  I think this albatross will prevent them from having the sort of convention they really need to have in order to gain the lead.  We'll see what happens.


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An important point to ponder...Alaska is the single most politically corrupt state in the union at this time and she somehow became Governor. McCain has not proven to be a great "vetter" of information so I'm interested to see what scandal this "person of ethics" has wrapped around her neck.


I really tried to find the angles on the pick-up of Palin. I think it can be deduced to: young, pretty, and woman. Three things McCain is not. It's a simple as that. What can make McC aestetically a more pleasing draw. There is no substance with this pick. There will be no states to swing over by her. She brings very little in terms of the big issues. Her "energy" experience is purely Alaskan-branded. I learned what this passion is like from some acquaintances of ours (Christian-Conservative Repubs). All they could gush about was O&G industry, there, and how important and valuable it was.

"Well, of course it is, it keeps everyone up there working!"

I don't think this is what America is looking for in its leadership. My hope is that we're looking PAST oil & gas, like Obama said.

Furthermore, I find the let's-get-a-woman-on-the-ballot tactic a bit heavy-handed politicking. Is this going to be the only thin that Repubs can get excited about in McC's campaign? If so, that's pretty sad.

while many will call this genius, I call it the last bullet in the gun left to fire.


I have to agree with Scott on some points about the speech last night. I belive it was a good speech, but not a great one. He has been able to somewhat assemble the masses. It will be interesting to see how the debates go.

As for McCain's pick. I just can't seem to find the point or logic. Ok, she is young but being young can also mean a lack of experience. She has only been Gov. for 2 years. The GOP has blasted Obama for "lack of national experience", what has she done outside of Alaska? She broke with her party to and served on an ethics probe of one of her party chairman. And is her self under an ethics investigation.

But the most confusing thing about the pick is her response when she was first asked about being VP "I would have to find out what the VP does before I could make a descion." And she would be in line behind a 72 year old president? A little too scary for me.


For those considering voting for McCain because of his VP choice, needs to look at the bigger picture. You are not voting for her, you are voting for him and the republican party. If they are elected, stop and think of all they could do in their term that would have years of negative affects for all of us. Supreme court, womens rights, gay rights, etc.

For those that are bitter about Hillary, (and I was a strong Hillary supporter) you have to step back and look at the whole Democratic party. Please look at the greater good. We must have a Democrat in office. Eight is ENOUGH! Look back through history and what all the Democrats have done for gay rights, womens rights, students, working class, etc. Then look at the republicans list. VERY SHORT.

Please consider the future. Get over the bitterness and get behind our Democratic nominee. Having Obama in office will do more for women's rights than having Palin as VP.


Anybody that considers themselves even remotely liberal. Anybody that wants to protect a woman's right to choose, that thinks equal pay for equal work should be a reality, that thinks we should actually protect the environment instead of pillaging it at every turn, that wants to see a more humane and thoughtful foreign policy, that does not want the Supreme Court packed with far right judges, that wants to make right this wrong that is Iraq, that wants to effectively avoid another cold war, that wants to decrease our reliance on oil foreign or domestic and hold back the petro dollars which have fueled and funded extremist Wahabi Islam in and iminating from Saudi Arabia, that wants to see more rights given to homosexual couples should NEVER think about voting for McCain no matter his running mate and no matter the poor treatment you believe Hillary got during the Primary.

No way, No how, No McCain!!!


Let me clarify that I meant brilliant politically. It is not a good choice for governance once elected, like the Biden choice.

Though I want to step back from my first reactions. Because it seems that more and more folk just view this pick as more of McCain's pandering. I agree with that. And if people view it as that, it will hurt him.

However, I spoke to a Republican last night who has never liked McCain, but liked the Palin choice. On her experience, he kept talking about the fact that she had lots of executive experience and Obama has none. Of course McCain has no executive experience either, and I encountered that running this brilliant campaign demonstrates Obama's executive abilities.


there are lots of angry people out there dissing palin, thanks for not doing it here...i was probably as surprised as anyone at the announcement (nearly drove off the road, actually) and yes, she's not nearly as experienced as others who made the short list, but in her 16 years of politics, she has done things FOR the people. she listens to what her constituents want and need and hope and fear, and she supports a lot of those things to our benefit. i can't imagine that quality disappearing should she take national office.

really, alaska is in a win-win situation...either she's still our gov or she's our vp.


I may be the odd man out here, but I think the Palin pick is going to blow up. According to articles I've read, McCain only met with her once before he offered her the job. Today I watched a graduation speech she gave in June in which she said the the War in Iraq is a messianic mission and that we are carrying out God's will. Her pastor has said critics of George Bush will go to hell.
I definitely can see the appeal that she brings, a Washington outsider and all. But, I really think more of her history will be damaging to the McCain camp.

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