Some quick takes on the GOP convention so far:
The two threads I note are Palin's hard right persona, which according to pre-speech polls, at least, doesn't play as well as the McCain people assume, and the McCain camp's rocky relationship with the media, which deliberately got a lot worse to shield Palin and score political points with the GOP base.
Sarah Palin's speech, as expected, was well delivered (never doubted, really), very well received in the hall (never doubted), and not a game breaker. What wasn't said is far more important than what was. This is a candidate of the hard right social conservatives, and we saw why. Nonetheless, you can't win with social conservatives alone (ask the "feeling validated" Pat Buchanan how that goes down.)
This was an ugly, sarcastic speech, with a great delivery, but that's exactly who they are, so good that it's out in the open. She gave them what they wanted: a base election, from Mommy wars to cultural wars. We'll see if that's what the country wants. So far, the answer is no.
Roger Simon is right. If you bring up your family as a talking point, you can't get away with wanting two kids spotlighted and the others ignored. And now that Palin has brought up special needs kids, her record in Alaska for funding programs (see Hilzoy) should legitimately go under the media microscope. That includes her mayoral years.
You are looking at the next generation's Phyllis Schlafly.
In fact, if Sarah Palin fails in her bid for the VP slot, it will shine a cold light on the soap salesmen as well as the Buchananite pitchfork brigade.
I have never believed that McCain could get moderates and social conservatives at the same time. We'll see if I'm right, but I saw nothing at this convention to convince me I'm wrong.
Having Rudy lead off with terrible things about experience maybe wasn't the best idea. Nothing this candidate presented makes her more qualified for the job. And there are tremendous question about her, still. They have not been silenced by this convention. And having led off the convention with phony "service to Gustav", the Palin line about community organizers seems as petty as it makes the entire convention gimmicky.
Speaking of social conservatives, McCain has married them. His loss. When he had guts, he told Robertson and Falwell off as the agents of intolerance that they were. But that was a different McCain. This McCain gave up Ridge and Lieberman for one last cynical reach for the brass ring. All the POW references in the world can't change that aspect of his character.
Ridge and Lieberman, Olympia Snowe, Kay Baily Hutchinson, and Jodi Rell all remain more qualified than Palin. Of course they are pro-choice, and therefore persona non grata. But if I were they, or Pawlenty or Romney, I'd be mighty pissed.
And lest the "yeah, but Bush won with Quayle" refrain start, the competition on the other side is a bit different than Michael Dukakis, taking the summer off to govern in MA.
Numbers: More than 21.5 million people watched the second night of the 2008 Republican National Convention — a 17% decrease from the 26 million viewers who tuned in last week for day two of the Democratic National Convention. They'll have done better last night... we'll know around 3 pm EDT what the numbers look like.
Running against media elites when you're the Straight Talk Express is silly. What's more important is that the Republicans in general and Palin in particular are losing the tabloids. Having a dysfunctional family is interesting supermarket checkout material, not a qualification to lead America in the 21st century.
She's also lost the late night comedians. Neither is a good thing for Palin.
The media elites are showing deference McCain doesn't deserve. After botching and then lying about Palin's vetting, McCain deserves whatever he gets from the media.
Watching the lukewarm applause for Mike Huckabee's shout-out to Obama's historical candidacy reminds me how bizarre it is for the Republicans to be using Obama in their ads (Chris Shays, Gordon Smith) and Hillary in their speeches (drooped by Palin when she got booed for it.) Huckabee looked like an also-ran. Not his best speech, and not at all charming. That added to the hard-right feel of the night. How does that help McCain?
Watching Rudy reminds me why people from NYC disliked him so much (I'm a native NYer) in the latter part of his tenure. How does that help McCain?
So where's the meat? Where's the economic particulars? How is this convention accomplishing anything other than uniting a Republican minority party?
McCain has one more night to save this convention (if they actually intend to win) and make it reach the wider audience. I don't think he's up to the job. In fact, Palin actually made his job harder by setting a higher standard for speechifying.
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