Well, week two of the conventions brought us to Minneapolis / St. Paul for the GOP Love Fest. Going into the convention, everyone knew two things we didn't know when the Democrats started their party: 1. Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska was the VP selection by John McCain and 2. Hurricanes were closing in on the south to remind folks of a great blunder by the current administration three years earlier.
Day one was administrative issues and the big speeches for the night were postponed because of Hurricane Gustav. It was a good move considering that most folks wouldn't be watching the convention especially in a key state down south, Florida. Any way, there was enough talk continuing about Gov. Palin and her daughter Bristol. She is unmarried, underage and pregnant but mom is proud that she didn't get an abortion and is marrying the boy who is responsible.
Day two brought plenty of discussion about the same two storms brewing – Bristol's baby and Gustav. One reporter asked Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama about the Palin pregnancy issue and he rightly called family as off limits for the campaign. But it sure didn't stop the main stream paparazzi, I mean media, from having a feeding frenzy.
The day had a few surprises with the top of the list was the speech by former presidential candidate and US Senator Fred Thompson. A speech by Thompson is normally as exciting as watching paint dry but he actually showed a little fire in the belly. If he had shown that fire last fall, his candidacy may have gone somewhere other than the record books in record time.
Probably the other surprise was the turnout for a real maverick, Ron Paul and his Rally for Liberty across town. C-SPAN rightly showed that event along side of the convention. Paul had a moving event and was told after he showed up at the party convention that he would have limited access on the floor. He decided to go home. Smart move.
Wednesday was the much anticipated Sarah show. She stayed sequestered in her room for a day and a half in order to make sure she hit a home run and it paid off. Gov. Palin took the stage and capture the hearts of the delegates as was hoped by McCain and company. She did touch a chord with moms around the country with comments about her children, especially her youngest son with Down Syndrome. She tried to show herself the young maverick from the frozen state. Even though some of her accomplishments were twisted to make her look better, most folks wouldn't know the difference. The claim was that a state plane was sold on eBay and it was actually listed there but sold after it was removed for much less than it was valued. Another claim was her opposition to the "bridge to nowhere". She did oppose it after first supporting Sen. Ted Stevens' efforts and when funds were awarded for the construction, she used the money for other state projects. Her comment about the responsibility of being a small town mayor compared to a community organizer, a direct shot at Obama, was a winner in the hall but is far from being true. But remember, in politics, it's perception that matters, not truth.
On day four, Mc came back with a change message of his own. He gave a moving account of his time as a POW in Vietnam. Now I will say that for every time Rudy Gulianni used 9/11, McCain has used the POW issue. I am sick of having that thrown in my face BUT this time he gave an account of his time at the Hanoi Hilton instead of just reminding us that he was there. It was moving. McCain was about as good as he could be on Thursday night.
The convention tried to show that Johnny Mc and Sarah the Hockey Mom were outsiders and mavericks wanting to bring sensible change to DC. They took the big Democratic issue and made it their own. Now that hurt and should cause a nice bounce in the polls.
The sad thing about both conventions was the fact that these expensive pep rallies were paid for in part by you and me, the American taxpayers. Along with the matching funds to be used by the Republicans during the upcoming campaign, the money could probably have been better spent. Like solving some problems in the country.
Well, the starting flag has been dropped and the race is on. And this part of the race is a 60 day sprint. Hold on folks, it'll be quite the ride.