John McCain’s Convention Speech

Posted by Katherine | September 5, 2008 – 9:42 pm
word cloud
A wordle word cloud of McCain’s and Palin’s speeches
[mattlehrer / Flickr]

It’s been a long two weeks of conventioneering. And so without further ado, here are three reactions to the very last speech: John McCain’s.

Lori is a Republican “Army brat” who has settled into Arizona and its dating scene. The whole front end of McCain’s speech left her bored — she’s heard it all before, and feels McCain just “doesn’t do well with the big teleprompter speeches.” But when he moved into his POW story — although she’s heard it ad nauseum and is really tired of it — she melted:

When he himself talked about it here in this speech, it was different. It got my attention. It got my pride. It got me in the soft spot. It was his tone. It was the words he chose. It was the way he described it. It was from his heart. He was sincere, humble, believable and showed just how much this guy really and truly does care about America. […] I really felt John McCain here.

Soon after this whole piece McCain went into the whole “Stand up and fight with me” statements and it was good and inspirational.

Tom Noyes is a “finance geek” from Delaware who blogged the Democratic convention embedded in his state’s delegation. He owns multiple guitars. Tom feels McCain’s description of himself as a “reformer” crumbles under scrutiny — because his actions contradict it and because he offers few new ideas:

Eschewing party interests makes for good copy, but McCain has handed his campaign over to the disciples of Karl Rove in a Faustian bargain to win the election–the same people who used the most scurrilous tactics to attack his character back in 2000.

Running as a reformer is appealing, but McCain offered less in the way of specifics than Obama did a week ago. He said he would veto earmarks (even though he picked a running mate who gorged on them). He said he would cut taxes, drill for oil, fight Al Qaeda and stand up to Iran and Russia. He mentioned housing once, without saying what he would do for families that are losing their homes. He said he “will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance,” without saying how.

He did not mention climate change or the environment at all. He mentioned Iraq twice, and only in the past tense. Set aside the talk about heroism and reform, and the speech is pretty much standard Republican conservatism, except that he’s leaving the social conservatism to his running mate.

BooMan is a liberal blogger — a self-described “nocturnal terror for corrupt politicians, lazy reporters, and hypocritical Republican operatives.” He also has a Newfie named Buster. BooMan was flatly unimpressed with McCain’s speech:

I found it impossible to focus on John McCain’s speech. He’s the worst orator I’ve ever seen win a nomination of a major party. […] I had the sound on during his speech. I was looking at the screen. I didn’t absorb any message at all except that John McCain was once captured in a war and that he suffered terribly as a result. He didn’t even manage to offend me. He didn’t even manage to make me feel uncomfortable. He was simply there…on the screen…mouthing words that signified nothing.

Intentionally Shakespearean, that ending?

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