“Dudes have a million ways of peeing on what they claim as just their own,”
– Chuck Palahniuk, Snuff
TELLURIDE – It took me one full bottle of wine to swallow Thursday evening’s main event at the Republican National Convention. It was John McCain’s big night in St. Paul and from what I understand, he had a pretty tough job ahead of him.
Still suffering from a serious identity crisis, McCain had to address the crowd as a maverick and a reformer of the Republican Party. He also has to come off supporting the conservative Christian right. He also says he represents change. He was the left of the right. His he still? What is John McCain?
McCain is a Republican being stretched in eight different ideological directions but wants to continue in is “strait talk” fashion that nobody seems to be able to keep up any more. McCain wants to (and already has with Sarah Palin) shake up the Republican Party. But at the same time he needs to keep hold of all those George W. supporters in his pocket while distancing himself from the disgraceful president. Is it possible? Well, on Thursday evening, McCain tried in is 40-minute acceptance speech.
After hearing the whole thing, maybe it was the bottle of wine, but I had to appreciate McCain’s speech in a few ways. Nothing about his time at the Hanoi Hilton moved me – I was moved by that four years ago. It was the fact that he showed some respect to Barack Obama and the campaign he is running.
McCain, by design I am sure, didn’t come out and get nasty like every other Republican speaker had previously done at the convention. He came out, gave some props to Obama, and then spoke about himself and about the things he wants to do with the country.
“We will go at it,” McCain said of the race against Obama. “There are big differences. You have my respect. We are Americans and it means more to me than anything else.” Ok, that was nice of him. He actually is an adult like the rest of the world and was able to say something respectable. For once, McCain actually sounded like a human rather than a Republican drill monger.
In a masked sort of way, McCain did try to distance himself from the Bush presidency and all the problems of it. “I am going to make the country work for you again,” he said. “I know these times are tough and…” McCain was cut off by the Republican-frenzied crowd cheering “U-S-A, U-S-A.” This seemed weird to me. McCain was trying to get at a serious point that things aren’t quite right and he was going to describe it. He was admitting, in my eyes, that the last eight years under Republican rule have screwed many aspects of the country. Instead, he was interrupted by the political orgy going on just in front of him. I am sure McCain was taken back but continued his delicate separation from Bush later in his tirade.
“We have lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to corruption…but now,” McCain said. “We are going to get back to basics.”
All and all, McCain’s speech was not as infuriating as the previous speeches by Palin, Thompson, Romney, and especially Rudi Giuliani. Palin has taken Republicans on a new ride – something they all say they are very excited about. She seems down to earth. She’s very glamorous, almost celebrity like. She, like here peers in her party, also has the ability to divide when she goes on the Democrat attack. This notion was certainly seen in her speech on Wednesday evening.
“And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that [my] experience, let me explain to them what the job involves,” Palin said. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”
For me, as others too, this portion of Palin’s speech was the most infuriating. She just disenfranchised or bashed all community organizers across the nation. What she really said was, “Volunteers, or people that work to make communities better, don’t matter. My two years as governor matter.” Community organizers and volunteers are the foundation of humanity in my eyes. I hope everyone who leads community initiatives heard that.
To continue on this Palin rant, McCain himself on Thursday told the American people to get out and get involved in community governments, volunteer, help your community’s cause. No thanks John, Palin already made me believe that it doesn’t matter.
Shit, how did I get off on this tangent? Back to what McCain said and didn’t say in his speech.
He said he doesn’t want to lose the war like his opponent Obama does to a roar of Republican cheers. What he didn’t say or explain how he was going to pay for continuing the war until a “win” occurs. He didn’t say how he was going to replenish the troops that are already there and worn out, some of them on their third of fourth tour. Those were the things he forgot to mention. He still brought those that were there what they wanted to hear.
By the way, did anyone see the sign some delegate was holding in the air? It was brief but it read:
Terrorists Beware of Sarah
Just ask Obama
What? Obama a terrorist? What planet was this convention held on? Just dirty. But, believe it or not, there were other signs that made some sense to me.
You can’t win an occupation! and McCain Votes Against Vets
The brave souls who flashed those in that pen were escorted out immediately, but they made sense to me at least.
What really made sense is that this “changed” Republican ticket is really just the same old leadership that we have had. Nothing new came out of this convention at all. The ambiance of the convention carried the same old stale feeling the one four years ago had. There’s nothing like a Republican pounding his fist saying, “We will drill new wells offshore and on and we will drill them now. We will drill them now!” to liven up the RNC.
Obama couldn’t have put it better on Friday morning when he said, “They may have some new faces, but they are saying the same old thing.”
And that right there was the crux of the RNC in St. Paul.