RNC Theme: McCain's Tough. And, oh, a Maverick.

RNC Theme: McCain's Tough. And, oh, a Maverick.


Did you watch the first night of speeches at the Republican National Convention? President Bush made a fleeting appearance on a big screen. Fred Thompson needed a throat lozenge but did a decent job of emotionally delivering the story of John McCain’s POW years and got in a few good shots across the Obama/Biden bow. And Joe Lieberman told us Barack Obama had no record of consensus building (true, in regards to the U.S. senate) but didn’t ever tell us on what issues a President McCain would build consensus.

In fact, we heard over and over that McCain is “his own man” and bucks the system but we were apparently just supposed to know on which issues McCain is a maverick. Maybe that’s for later.

But I have to agree with John Dickerson at Slate who called the night a “Bizarro GOP” for all the cheering and approval of McCain’s tendency to go against the GOP. The delegates seemed eager for change – even though that change would mean leaving behind the policies of the current Republican president.

If the first night sets the convention tone, then I suspect we’ll hear a lot about McCain’s toughness and willingness to go his own way. Hopefully we’ll actually hear how he plans to change things if elected. I know Obama is basically running on the cut-and-paste Democratic platform. As plodding as I find those positions, they are at least different than the cut-and-paste Republican platform McCain has generally pushed for most of the campaign. I’m hungry for some new ideas. Maybe Sarah Palin will surprise us tonight and not just talk about being a maverick but actually tell us what that will mean if we elect McCain/Palin.

We’ll see…

  • http://roschellenelson.blogspot.com roschelle

    We all know Gov. Palin was the wrong choice for the right…It seems that Terry Trippany over at News Busters feels McCain’s ill-advised decision is Barack Obama’s fault.

  • kranky kritter

    I can’t really bear to watch most of this stuff. I will try to tune in for Palin’s speech, because I think that’s a fundamentally better way to form my opinion of her that the maelstrom of spin which is IMO antithetical to fair consideration (or vetting, to use the new pet word of the month). And I’ll watch McCain’s speech and the expected prefacing puff documentary because I watched them for Obama. Let me add here again that I think both of these guys are better candidates than I’ve had a chance to vote for in 20-some years.

    But even though I didn’t watch, I get and agree with your general point. McCain’s toughest selling challenge when it comes to the “I’m a maverick” brand is, this, simply put: “where the hell has this maverick been lately?”

    The other tough point occurs when it comes to selling experience over youthful vigor. That McCain focuses so strongly on the value of experience begs the obvious question of what McCain’s signature accomplishments as a senator are.

    Sure he has been a maverick on occasion, and that’s to the good, IMO. But it primarily speaks to his political positions, not to his actual achievements. And while it’s worthwhile to know how he’llbehave as President, which postioning suggests, we also want to know how he’s going to get important things done.

    I wonder what McCain’s honest answer is to the question “of what legislative accomplishments are you most proud, and why?” Again, experience is nice, but what has he done with his multiple terms as a senator? I happen to agree with Woody Allen that 95% of life is showing up. But that doesn’t meant I grant points of experience if that experience primarily involves simply showing up.

    And by saying this I am not implying that is in fact all he has done. I simply want McCain to address his tenure and tell us how he sees it in more detailed terms than “I’ve been around the block a few times.” Big deal, anyone who’s 72 can say that. What’d you do on your walk?

  • Independent Voter

    As an independent, I was excited to see if Palin’s speech tonight could inspire me to the McCain camp. Although I watched the DNC, Obama has many intriguing points, but there are some decisions and beliefs that I do not agree with. However, Rudy Guiliani and Governor Palin sealed the deal with their smug attitude, demeaning discussion about Obama, and their inability to truly capture the truth, but instead, chose to belittle. I know that I’m looking for a ticket that I can feel a sense of pride, but the Republicans attacks on Obama are uncalled for. I wish they would have discussed the issues, but alas, they made my decision for me tonight. I will be voting for Obama now!