Well, the Republicans finally got their turn, and let's see what we've learned. Here's my analysis.
The decision to essentially cancel the first day of the convention was an interesting one. On the one hand, the Republicans may have been right that it would have looked bad to "fiddle while Rome burns" by partying while a potential disaster was imminent. I'm sure at least many in the blogosphere would have been happy to transpose pictures of houses swept away by raging winds with shots of happy Republican partiers. On the other hand, it also felt a bit opportunistic, a chance for the Republicans to show that they are now the "party that cares." The end result, I think, was a wash. The Republicans didn't look bad, but on the other hand, they were not able to hit the ground running and built up momentum, and it wasn't until Sarah Barracuda took the stage that the convention had any energy at all.
Rudy Giuliani continues his quest to make me feel unending shame for making him the only Republican I ever voted for for anything (you'll just have to trust me that things were really bad in the early '90s in NYC). Nice to see that he is still carrying 9/11 around like his favorite pet monkey. What disturbs me most about Giuliani is his tactic of trying to make a joke out of the Democratic party. His big laugh line was that Barack Obama was a community organizer out of college. Why is that a joke? Obama was quick to point out the hypocrisy of the "anti-big government" party thinking that organizing people on a local level is ludicrous. Giuliani's exhorting the party to laugh at the Democrats, to try to paint them as pathetic losers rather than a group with different ideas about how to make this country strong, demeans them all.
And what everyone was waiting for, the coming out party for Caribou Barbie (thanks Stephanie Miller). Palin gave a great, inspiring speech with little substance. The consensus seems to be the people inside the arena loved it, but the people outside may have considered her a little bit catty. That's the problem with trying to be compared to Hillary Clinton. A lot of people have a real problem with outspoken women. Kind of thought the Republicans would know that one.
I write this shortly after the speech was delivered, so its reprecussions are not yet well known. I thought it was a fine speech, little to criticize, but then, little was said about policy. In the end, McCain is a Republican, and a good soldier, and the facts are that the Republicans have had stewardship of this country for eight years and they have screwed it up in very predictable ways. That today, attacks on big government and the Washington elite are in fact, attacks on Bush's Republican party. They want to make this election about character and not issues, and this speech served that.
The Bounce: As I write this, the Republican event was not able to make a dent in Obama's bounce from last week. However it's still early.
The first debate is Friday September 26th at the University of Mississsippi, and will focus on foreign policy and national Security. If McCain can't hold his own in this one, he could be in trouble. For America's sake, let's keep our fingers crossed.