David Kirkpatrick

September 5, 2008

Initial reactions on GOP convention

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:21 am

I’ve been killed with a historic preservation project involving decorative metal (read: I’m slinging a lot of steel around and not doing that much fine art conservation) that I’ll blog more about later. Because of this project I haven’t been doing much analytic blogging other than over the weekends of late.

I want to spend a bit more time to really post an opinion of both conventions and what the rest of this race will likely entail.

My quick take on the GOP convention is Palin gave a good speech, but the real boon for McCain in choosing her is it guaranteed the narrative stayed on the GOP throughout the convention. No Obama news beginning almost immediately after his historic (in sheer numbers of viewers) speech. Palin’s numbers were in the ballpark of Obama’s and she excited the base.

I also think the veep choice coupled with very strong appeal to the religious right will turn some of the fence-sitting independents away from McCain. That will most likely be fatal to his marginal-at-best hopes in this electoral atmosphere.

McCain’s speech was somewhat uninspired, but he did to a great job of differentiating himself from the Bush 43 years and to shore-up his “maverick” bona fides. I’ve heard at least one analysis that the Palin pick is a another move to contrast with Bush/Cheney. I also have heard in a number of places he was basically forced out of his top two veep choices — Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge. The first an Independent/Democrat (and failed veep choice with Gore in 2000), and the second a pro-choice Republican. He supposedly was basically told, “Yeah, you’ll be comfortable with either of those guys but you’ll lose by 10 points.”

In consequence he chose a relatively young, very relatively unknown female governor from a state with a smaller population than twenty some-odd US cities. And a pick with practically no vetting, a process that typically takes many months and involves a great deal of legal drilling down into all aspects of the vetted one’s life. That makes the pick reckless and very unserious, and calls McCain’s executive capabilities into question.

One negative for the GOP with this convention was the tiny crowd. After the Democrats had standing room only every night and a final rally in Mile High Stadium, the GOP couldn’t even fill its hall for McCain’s official coronation. The rabid base might be excited, but the GOP faces a serious look in the mirror about where it stands as a party.

Peggy Noonan had it completely correct when she said, “It’s over.” Liberal bloggers initially thought she was refering to McCain’s chances this November. Her actual intent was even more damning because it applied to the entire party. Noonan meant the days when the majority of country agreed with the GOP base are over, and the base doesn’t realize this sea-change.

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