Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[RNC] speeches, commentary, fact-checking, etc.

Since the RNC speeches held my attention like not at all, I went back and read a bunch via the website (Speech Texts - 2008 Republican National Convention). 

* Mitt Romney

Megan McArdle commented:
Mitt Romney seems to use the word "liberal" in a randomly perjorative fashion.  I half expect him to say "I was eating breakfast this morning, and my hash browns were all liberal.  I sent them back and told the waitress to bring me some good, conservative hash browns.

He also seems to think that giving American citizens habeas corpus rights is some sort of crazy scheme dreamed up by liberal justices intent on destroying America's proud tradition of secret trials and warrantless arrests.
I did like his, "And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation -- let's keep Al Gore's private jet on the ground!"

* Mike Huckabee

He did a good job of arguing for the Republicans as the party of the poor, which I think is something they needed to do.  (One can legitimately argue that the Republican party is not in fact the best party for the poor/working-class, but obv. they needed to try to convince people that they are.)

The desk story went on too long, and one wonders how conservatives would have reacted to a similar story of a teacher pulling a stunt like that with a "liberal" moral to the story, but it did lay the foundation for a nice closing line about McCain getting a desk in the Oval Office.

* Rudy Giuliani
For 4 days in Denver and for the past 18 months Democrats have been afraid to use the words "Islamic Terrorism." During their convention, the Democrats rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11.

They are in a state of denial about the threat that faces us now and in the future.
Maybe I'm just one of those horrible complacent folks, but I couldn't help thinking, "What about those OTHER threats we face, like the economy?"

He had some good quips:
"I hope for his sake, Joe Biden got that VP thing in writing."
"Here's some free advice: Sen. Obama, next time just call John McCain."
And as we look to the future never let us forget that - when we are at our best - we are the party that expands Freedom. We began as a party dedicated to freeing people from slavery ... And we are still the party that is willing to fight for freedom at home and around the world. We are the party that wants to expand individual freedom and economic freedom ... because we believe that the secret of America's success is not central government, it is self-government. We are the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. The party that believes parents should choose where their children go to school.

And we are the party that believes unapologetically in America's essential greatness - that we are a shining city on the hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires people everywhere to reach for a better world.
This is the sort of thing that would make me want to be a Republican, but of course this small government theme came up throughout the speeches and I kept thinking, "But you want lots of government intervention, just in different places/ways than the Democrats."

* Sarah Palin
From the inside, no family ever seems typical.

That's how it is with us.

Our family has the same ups and downs as any other ... the same challenges and the same joys.
This was one of the bits that got replayed on CNN, and it didn't make any more sense to me the second time around.  From the inside, no family ever seems typical -- but we totally are typical.  I understand the "We're just like you" message, but the way it's structured always causes me cognitive disconnect.

"Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge." sounded to me like a nice subtle nod to Bristol Palin's pregnancy, even though her next sentence was actually about special needs children.

I know I said I wasn't impressed with the speech when I watched it, but reading it, it does come across as a strong speech -- establishes herself firmly as someone who values her family a lot, who's down-to-earth and tough, who has a career of using political office to benefit the general populace, who's a reformer (and not a Washington insider, which is a nice bonus given the general public's dissatisfaction with all of Washington -- both the Bush Administration and Congress), plus she talked a lot about energy independence.  She slams Obama, and while we can quarrel with her misrepresentation of him and his positions and his history, it's phrased in a way that makes it sound compelling (and I recall her delivering it well).

* Cindy McCain

I barely head any of this speech the first time around, but a friend of mine really loved it, so I made sure to read the transcript.

It is actually a pretty good speech.
From its very birth, our party has been grounded in the notion of service, community and self-reliance ... and it's all tempered by an uniquely American faith in - and compassion for - each other's neighbors.
thistlerose commented (speaking about the RNC generally), "Speaking of communities, and organizers thereof... I don't think the Party that insists the federal government stay out of people's business has any business mocking the people who try to help their communities from within."
I was taught Americans can look at the world and ask either: what do other countries think of us ... or we can look at ourselves and ask: what would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us? That's a big challenge. In living up to it, we know the security and prosperity of our nation is about a lot more than just politics.
While that's clearly a slam at the Dem approach, I can't help liking the idea in the abstract.

* John McCain

When he isn't being interrupted every two seconds by the audience, it's a pretty solid speech.
I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger.
I appreciate the acknowledgement that yes, the Republicans too grew the government, in ways we may not particularly like.
When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house. A Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I rarely saw my father again for four years. My grandfather came home from that same war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me. I hate war. It is terrible beyond imagination.
After Palin's speech, one of my friends said,
I especially liked this little bit: "To the most powerful office on earth, [McCain] would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless ... the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God ... the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome." It's kind of what I was saying earlier about character. Having experiences like that doesn't make you qualified for major office, but it does shape the way you move through the world, indelibly so. As a veteran's daughter, I count that no small thing. Not the only factor to be considered by any means, but a significant one.
Actually reading the part of McCain's speech in which he talks about his experience in Vietnam was moderately powerful, but especially because it was preceded by a freaking video biopic, at the time I watched it I felt like, "Yes, we have all heard a million times over that John McCain was a POW and this makes him qualified to be President of the United States of America -- and means you shouldn't criticize him on anything, ever, because he sacrificed for his country like whoa, SHUT UP already and talk about your actual substantive plans for the next four years."

Megan McArdle commented:
"I fight for you" is a clever tag line, and I presume the image that the McCain campaign has settled upon.  This will allow them--just barely--to keep making the ridiculous claim that John McCain doesn't like to bring up the fact that he was a POW.  If John McCain didn't want to bring it up, he would have instructed his staff not to mention it to every single person they talk to, including the barista at Caribou Coffee.
I definitely got "Let's talk about me" vibe from the RNC, as opposed to a more idea-focused vibe from the DNC (but that could well be my personal biases in play), and a couple dKos diaries do the math on that (though admittedly not terribly rigorously):
* Some Straight Talk About Self-Absorption by SusanG (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 04:40:41 PM EDT)
* Fournier (gasp!) has a double standard by kos (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 04:15:40 PM EDT)

Green Screen Mystery Solved by Scout Finch (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 12:15:38 PM EDT)
    Yes, I know this isn't terribly substantive, but I'd been wondering about the random choice of a green screen.

eBay Jet Sale? Didn't Happen by Meteor Blades (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 02:00:39 PM EDT)

Two different people sent me Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET

Did you HEAR what they were shouting? Updated w/transcripts and links for action by Jsn (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 04:17:17 PM EDT) argues that Obama sponsored 820 laws Obama in the Illinois State Senate and co-sponsored 427 bills in the U.S. Senate and has authored 152 bills.  I did not delved into the nearly 500 comments to see if people engaged the issue of whether any of these were "major" pieces of legislation.  (The above AP article says, "Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.")

And Who Said Republicans Don't Like Recycling .... by BarbinMD (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 06:40:39 PM EDT) points out that Giuliani lobbed the same "lack of leadership experience" criticism at Obama AND McCain.

***

And some assorted links (not all related to the RNC, but I didn't feel like making a separate post):
* What Makes Troopergate so Dangerous? by Kagro X (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 01:00:40 PM EDT)
* Palin book-banning meme not entirely accurate
* Eugene Volokh on Gloria Steinem on women's political opinions.
* Jim Lindgren (and John Ludis) on Obama and community organizing  (Sidebar: I still don't grok the incessant slam on "community organizers" at the RNC, though I'm willing to believe the arguments I saw in dKos diaries like this one that suggested that the intended coding was "community = ghetto and organizer = activist."  Scanning the "community organizers" tag, I enjoyed this snarky comment: "Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor" -- though one could counter-argue. [Edit: Jeremy says, "Well....the counter-argument is about the church after Jesus died and was resurrected, not the ministry and social action Jesus took while he was alive. I think the latter is the point of the statement."])

Addendum: Jim Lindgren argues that "Obama’s speech includes more negative attacks than Palin’s" (and asks "Was Sarah Palin More than Passingly Sarcastic?").  Huh.

[I am totally not going to get caught up on the post-RNC punditry and need to just make peace with that.  I also wish more blogs used tags, to aid in quick catching-up.]
Tags: issues: u.s. presidential race: 2008
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