04 September 2008

Dateline: Xcel Center, RNC Final Day

UPDATE 5 Sept. 3:05am CDT: On Fox News just now, Karl Rove pointed out something that didn't necessarily surprise me, though it was something I did not know. In 2004, when you combine the money spent by the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the DNC and Democratic 527s and compare it to the same money raised by corresponding sources on the Republican side, Democrats outspent Republicans by $121 million.

UPDATE 5 Sept. 2:52am CDT:
My wrap-up tonight focuses on McCain's speech. Going into this convention, many people--including me--wondered how McCain would broach the autobiographical topic. Unlike his memoir-loving opponent, McCain typically doesn't like to talk about himself. Yet, if he is to become President, it is imperative that people get to know him. So, how did he do it? How did he talk about his time as a POW? He talked about it in terms of a personal transformation. He described a young man--himself--as a person focused on self (despite the fact that he was serving his country). He described, in very humble terms, how being incapacitated and forced to rely on the benevolence of his fellow American POWs taught him about life and sacrifice and service. This was powerful. People were quiet. No doubt some shed tears (I think you could see this on TV). And I think we collectively said to ourselves: this man has experience.

- At one point, McCain attacked his own party. No doubt the left was gloating. And to be honest, the audience was taken aback. I didn't disagree with him and have often expressed my frustration with my party regarding their spendthrift and sometimes corrupt ways. I don't believe they have been materially different to Democrats on either of these fronts, it's just that Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal discipline and reform.

Of course, much, if not most, of this speech was directed not to the people in the Xcel Center, but to the wider American audience. And in that sense, I think it was successful. John McCain presented himself as a principled man who puts country before party and personal interests. And the great thing is, he can point to bill after bill in which he has acted in accordance with what he believed was best for the country. Obama cannot say the same because he has not authored any major legislation and when he did become involved in ethics reform, he rejected the opportunity to join McCain in a bipartisan effort, opting instead for a partisan bill.

UPDATE 8:19pm CDT:
Feel free to join my colleagues and the rest of the NB community in a our live RNC chat.

UPDATE 7:58pm CDT:
I wanted to take a step back, withdraw a bit from the immediate, emotional response to Palin's speech last night, and examine what it did, what it added, and why it worked so incredibly well. My analysis can be boiled down to two easy points:
  1. She completely deconstructed Obama and the Obama campaign's liberal talking points in a humorous and easy-to-understand way. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities."
  2. She clearly articulated core, conservative principles in a way that appealed to listeners on an emotional and intellectual level. "They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America."
What is also impressive about this speech was her ability to go above and past the media gatekeepers in a way that probably has not been done since Ronald Reagan. As a result of the non-stop attacks by the nutroots and the Obama campaign and the MSM (but I repeat myself), 37 million Americans tuned in to see what this woman was about.

The attack dogs helped to give her a large audience and Sarah Palin took care of the rest.

UPDATE 7:54pm CDT:
One Cosmos on his experience watching the Palin speech. I think I'll just go ahead and start referring to it as The Speech.
Naturally, I watched it on MSDNC in order to see what the reaction would be over there. The first thing out of Olbermann's piehole was that the speech was snide and sarcastic. Ho! Can he really be so mentally ill that he cannot see a projection so transparent? Yes. He is a sick man. Truly psychospiritually toxic. That liberals find his toxins nourishing tells you all you need to know about them.
UPDATE 7:40pm CDT: In honor of Captain Morgan, the company sponsoring the press corps open bar, and providing me with my steady diet of Coke-Zero and chips & dip, I thought I'd post the comments of my friend Morgan.

The press bar, btw, is hopping--it is definitely the place to be (this side of the floor of the Xcel Center).

Morgan is a casual observer of politics who calls things like he sees 'em.
Here is what I find most surprising/amusing about the Palin pick. I am shocked at how much energy and emotion is being spent on discrediting her when she is the VP candidate as opposed to the Presidential candidate. Liberals seem to be really, really worked up about this. [...] Every time I hear or read somebody work themselves into a frenzy discussing her I am tempted to say "why so serious?"
UPDATE 7:04pm CDT: Last night I wrote in my wrap-up about why the left--the MSM, etc.--hates Sarah Palin. Johnathan Last lists a few more.

UPDATE 6:43pm CDT:
Obama is going to be on O'Reilly tonight. I already wrote about the shady circumstances surrounding the Obama/Ailes/Fox News meeting earlier this summer. Obama is prepared to admit the success of the surge. Seriously? The Surge worked? Most galling is this comment:
"I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated," Obama said while refusing to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”
There are at least two people who thought it would work. I'll give you a hint. One of them is the Republican nominee for President. The other one? He lives in a big White House.

UPDATE 6:15pm CDT:
Pre-released excerpts from McCain's speech to be aired later tonight:
On running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin:

"I’m very proud to have introduced our next Vice President to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: change is coming."

On solving problems in Washington:

"The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you.

Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as President. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not."

On love of country:

"I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s."
UPDATE 5:41pm CDT: Just posted my piece about the media's ongoing aversion to identifying the party association of scandal ridden Democrats--Democrats like Kwame Kilpatrick.

UPDATE 5:30pm CDT:
Last night Sarah Palin attracted some 37.2 million viewers, 1.1 million off Obama's overhyped draw at Invesco last week. There's one detail missing from these numbers and I don't think it can be overstated: Palin's speech was only broadcast on 6 stations as compared to 10 for Obama. (h/t: RedState)

UPDATE 5:22pm CDT:
RNC Night 4 Sched:
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Speaker: Joe Watkins
- Speaker: U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.)
- Speaker: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
- Speaker with Video: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.)
- Speaker: Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, USMC (Ret.)
- Speaker: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)
- Speaker: U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.)
- Video: "World Stood Still"

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Speaker: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
- Video: "Vice Presidential Nominee Governor Sarah Palin"
- Speaker: Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.)
- Video: "America’s Place in the World"
- Speaker: Mrs. Cindy McCain

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Video: "Senator John McCain"
- Speaker: Presidential Nominee John McCain

10 p.m. to Conclusion
- Floor Demonstration, Balloon Drop, McCain and Palin Families on Stage
- Introduction of Presiding Officer: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
- Benediction: Pastor Dan Yeary
- Introduction of Delegate for Motion, Adoption and Adjournment: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
UPDATE 4:09pm CDT: A friend writes:
The backdrop of RNC is just not as flashy as the DNC backdrop.
I don't think I could sum up the difference between the Republicans and Democrats better myself. What's better, the comment was not meant as a compliment.

UPDATE 4:05pm CDT:
And today we talked to Mitch McConnell in an extended interview and Tom DeLay, briefly. We liked "the Hammer" because as soon as we told him we were with NewsBusters, he said, "oh, I love you guys." We love you too, Tom.

UPDATE 12:44pm CDT:
Finally back at home in the Press Filing Center. Everybody here at the Xcel center is talking about The News from last night. No, not the fact that the speech was knocked-out-of-the-park good. The fact that Palin (and Rudy) had teleprompter issues forcing both of them to do their best from memory. And doing their best from memory is no mean feat. These speeches go through changes right up until the last moment.

Well done, Sarah and Rudy.

Main: I'm still at my hotel in Eagan and watching the coverage of Sarah Palin's speech from last night on the various cable news channels. After reviewing the text and footage of Governor Palin's speech, I agree with Byron York, the most devastating line was this one:
And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain.
It's true. What can anyone say about this?

For me, the election can be summed up in one point: John McCain's decision to support and champion the surge, demonstrated clearly when he famously said, (and when saying it wasn't as popular as it is now), that he would rather lose an election, than lose the war. Joe Biden and Barack Obama have never taken similarly difficult & unpopular stands.

At the end of the day, when it matters most, I know I can count on John McCain to put country ahead of personal political gain.

Can anyone say--with any conviction--the same of Barack Obama?

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.