Friday, September 05, 2008

Wrapping up the Convention

Very interesting speech from McCain last night. He was OK (like I said, he is just not a great speaker, but he did fine) but the content of the speech was really interesting.

First, what I thought was missing: policy details. The speech dealt mainly with broad themes and big ideas. There is actually nothing wrong with this, since legislation does not get made during a nomination acceptance;-). Obama gave a much more granular speech last week (which he probably did because he gets criticized for not doing it), but I am not real sure what that accomplishes, either. All in all, I think the level of policy detail was probably appropriate for both of them... as a little more of a known quantity, we need less of that from McCain.

I thought, much like Palin the night before, that he started slow. He did a pretty good job of handling Bush...he noted his leadership through 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which the two of them are basically on the same page with) but never gave the Democrats a really concrete sound byte linking them together. He never even mentioned him by name!

While the previous couple of nights had been devoted to the base...real hearty attacks on Obama and a reiteration of Republican principles...McCain was much more magnanimous and moderate ("I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Sen. Obama and his supporters for their achievement.") He was shooting at the middle as much as the right.

The most interesting part was that he totally and completely threw his own party under the bus. Well, not just his party, but basically The President and everyone in Congress. Which, by the way, they totally deserve! It is not really out of character for him to do it, and he did it concerning a subject (wasteful spending) that is one of his trademarks, and which, incidentally, he is completely right about;-).

Still, to see a major party candidate take his own party to task right along with the other guys like that...well, THAT is an upset. Especially after they took three days to really feed the base.

The biggest problem with the speech? is McCain himself, who just doesn't have the presence that some other's do. Like...the closing section...just read this and imagine that Obama is speaking it...

"Fight for what's right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit.

We never hide from history. We make history."

It comes across a little differently, doesn't it? That is one of his challenges going forward.

So, let's see...what did I like. I loved "Education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century." I liked his telling of his POW experience...which surprised me. It is a story that has been told so many times that it almost loses its effectiveness, although he managed to tell it from a different angle this time, which I thought worked. And I think he scored some points on energy, taking a broader view of traditional production and renewable research and development than Obama does.

Final analysis? The more I think about it, the more I think he dropped the ball a bit. He talked about changing the ways of Washington, but other than cutting wasteful spending, he didn't really go into what that meant (not that cutting wasteful spending is not a good idea...) But mostly, I think he tried to speak to the middle at the expense of his base, while last week I think Obama managed to speak to the middle and his base.

Before the conventions, Obama was up in the polls by 1-3 points. He got a bump to something closer to 7-9 points, and McCain will now get his bump and cut into that. My intuition says it will go back to the high end of that original range. So, by the middle-end of next week, I am saying Obama by about 3 points...just a hunch.


In much less national news, I am getting a new roommate this weekend;-) I am pretty excited about that! More on this tomorrow or Monday when I have time:-)


Still just me said...

My problem? I am struggling to afford rent, and I am not able to buy a home right now. He has 6 or 7 homes, and he talks about wasteful spending? I know property is an investment, but when a lot of Americans cannot have the American Dream, and he owns that many houses? To me, it seems like wasteful spending.

erin said...

I agree! I feel like the speech was good, but the delivery was lacking when compared to Obama. When he was talking about the changes he was going to make, he never said how he planned on making them- but that was fine considering this was only an acceptance speech. I'm sure we'll get the details in the upcoming debates.

I enjoyed hearing about his war experience. And his 96 year old mother? Adorable, and still with so much spunk!

Accidentally Me said...

SJM - He can do whatever he wants with his own money (or, more accurately, his wife can do whatever she wants with her money). I never begrudge anyone for being rich and spending their money however they choose. But, when it is taxpayer money, that is a whole other story. I don't care what they do with their own money, I care what they do with MY money.

Erin - My fear is that the debates will spiral into miniscule nonsense about who is raising which tax on who by how much.

GMan said...

You have to keep in mind about the war that while McCain does support the war he would have done it differently from the beginning. He would not have pushed harder at the beginning than Bush did.

Accidentally Me said...

Gman - That is his strongest argument: "Don't tie me to Bush on Iraq. If he had listened to me about troop levels in the beginning, this would have gone a whole lot better."

Lpeg said...

Just commenting on the new roommate... hope you have a fantastic weekend!! :)

I'm Not Carrie Bradshaw said...

Thanks for all your posts on politics this week. It's always interesting to see your take on things! Congrats on the new roomie!