I happen to think that McCain did quite well last night. Obviously, I am biased since I am a supporter but I still think I’m right. In general, it was very positive — this country is the best in the world, we can do anything we set our minds to, etc. I think it is a great contrast to the tone of many of Obama’s speeches: this country is on the wrong track, we are worse off now than ever, less safe than ever, etc. McCain’s speech still conveyed that we have work to do but emphasized that there is no question we will be able to do it: “it’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we’ve faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead.”
I also thought he did a great job talking about the specifics — something Obama has been criticized for failing to do. He talked about “Doubling the child tax exemption from $3,500 to $7,000 will improve the lives of millions of American families”; “We will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities”; “for workers in industries that have been hard-hit, we’ll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one, while they receive re-training that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage” and “We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.” He went on to talk about energy: “we’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean-coal technology. We’ll increase the use of wind, tide, solar, and natural gas. We’ll encourage the development and use of flex-fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.”
He also didn’t attack Obama. He clearly established the two candidates’ differences but never patronized him, didn’t make any snide remarks and ultimately took the high road — leaving his surrogates to do the dirty work (which they did quite well). He even had some nice words to say about Obama: “And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.” But, of course, he went on to say that we would win this anyway.
He also talked about his time as a POW without over-selling it. He didn’t talk too long about it and what he did say was a new take on the theme: Before I was shot down I was self-centered and thought only of myself. My experience taught me a lot of things, including how great this country is. We all know the story but he added some details we haven’t really heard before.
Then the whole speech was brought to a crescendo at the end with shouts (above the applause) to “Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.” I thought it was an amazing ending!
I would only have changed a couple things. First of all, it was a bit long. It was even longer because the crowd couldn’t stop cheering him on (which is not really a bad thing). Second, I really wish he would have said something like this in response to the protestors: “Isn’t it great that we live in a country where people have the right to protest? And shouldn’t we thank all of the men and women in the military for protecting that right?” But it was unplanned and his response was kind of funny anyway (“Please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static. You know, I’m going to talk about it some more. But Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?”) .
Now on to the silly media. I thought it was funny when I turned to MSNBC to see the reaction. One of the pundits said it sounded like a State of the Union address. I think that’s a compliment– he seemed Presidential. Then I checked out MSNBC’s website for the reaction. I was surprised to find reaction posted there from the Washington Post that “Sen. John McCain’s acceptance speech as its presidential nominee last night was a hodgepodge of generalities, musings on courage, reminiscence about his years as a POW in Vietnam, and rabble-rousing calls for change.” Tom Shales must have been watching a different speech. Other than the part about being a POW, his comments are more appropriate for Obama’s speech. He gave many specifics (see above). In fact, one of MSNBC’s pundits (can’t think of her name — the one with the short hair and the sneer), called it a “term paper on economics.” That’s how specific it was (HERE).
MSNBC’s site was filled with other gems like: “McCain put the country to sleep” and “McCain missed opportunities.” I didn’t see a single positive piece on McCain’s speech. Then I turned on my local news and heard the “journalist” say “McCain’s speech was good but not great.” As if that was simply a statement of fact. Then the LA Times puts this out. Talk about desperation. I think the media is underestimating McCain just like it always has — just like it underestimated the backlash that has already resulted from vilifying Sarah Palin. Bring it on!!