...this is a very underwhelming speech. Familiar points explained in pedestrian terms. No overarching themes--right now it's sounding like a State of the Union laundry list. Even the crowd in the hall isn't jazzed. This is the sort of reception Tom Ridge got.
In a strong speech that crescendoed to a stirring close, Senator McCain laid out a classically conservative series of policy objectives, with a large emphasis on education reform --a very smart priority for the fall campaign. And his pledge to shake the spending culture of Washington to its roots is as sincere as it is overdue.
If anything is true in this world, it’s that Republicans don’t do stagecraft. How can you tell? The puke green background was back!...when combined with the white shirt and yellow tie, it has the effect of making McCain’s skin look sickly and yellow not exactly what you want when a crucial worry about your candidate is that he might be too old.
Got to be honest here folks. Other than the heart felt love of country expressed near the end while talking about his time as a POW (that gave me a lump in my throat), and the discussion of public education being the “civil rights issue” of this century, and the part about Georgia, I can’t say I loved the speech. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but it didn’t excite me very much. Then again he had a hard act to follow.
His major theme, that he is a non-partisan fighter for the public interest, is a good one--the best one he could adopt, I think, certainly better than running on experience. And there were a lot of good elements to the speech. But I don't think he did anything tonight to shake up the race some more.
School choice and getting rid of bad teachers is great applause line to a Republican audience, but it is getting a bit hackneyed, as the President has previous little to do with the issue. He isn’t running for school board, after all. Given that now Child Left Behind has simply resulted in more bureaucracy in our public schools, I am not sure that we need for federal meddling. At a minimum, I have no idea how McCain thinks that he is going to change the entire structure of the public school system in the United States by being elected president, especially since that policy arena is almost fully in the hands of the states and localities.
He has chosen bipartisanship as his key political strategy; it’s necessary, because he will have no choice if he wins, but it’s also very much part of his own political history, as angry conservatives will remember when they nearly lost their minds over the “gang of 14? deal to get some judges confirmed...
Not sure what the protesters' goal is -- unless it's to elicit sympathy for McCain among the viewers who tuned in to hear his speech. His response -- telling the audience to ignore the "static" and that "Americans want us to stop shouting at each other" -- let him come across as reasonable and cool-headed.
McCain claims he'll cut government spending. I'll believe it when I see it.
(Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty.)
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