Thursday, September 04, 2008

Inst-analysis of McCain speech

I read the speech before I saw it, and there were some things I liked ("We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor. We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don't legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities") and some things that I didn't care for ("For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we'll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage...Education is the civil rights issue of this century...I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I'm President, they will.").

But as I watched, I could feel the energy and enthusiasm slowly leeching out of me. I don't dislike Senator McCain, though there are many things he's done that I disagree with strongly. And if my vote were going to matter this year, obviously it would go to McCain over Obama. And I think it is possible that we'll look back on his elevation of Sarah Palin as a seminal moment for conservatives.

But the delivery was tedious. And the laundry list was uninspired. And what control does the President have - and should the President have - over local schools? I dislike the identification of the sob stories. It's one thing to identify individuals and discuss the way that government restrictions, regulations and taxes negatively impact them - it's something else entirely to find people suffering and suggest ways for the government to help them. I hate it when the Democrats do it - I have no more patience for it from Republicans.

The ending of the speech, the impact of his time in Vietnam on his personality and attitudes, read strong. The crowd stepped on it, applauding every line even when they weren't applause lines.

On the whole, I don't think McCain hurt himself - he was John McCain, and he comes across as a real person. But I don't see how he helped himself, either.

So I give it one thumb up and one thumb down.

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