Thursday, September 04, 2008

republicans third night

Well I will be a little bit of an outlier on this one. I thought it was a great speech for Sarah Palin but less so for the Republican Party. The Palin part is the easy one. She's forceful, she's funny, fifteen minutes at the podium and nobody in their right mind is talking about dropping her from the ticket. If anything, they'd probably like to flip it, in four years if not today.

The problem is what it does for the Party. Palin is the best thing to happen to the GOP this year, maybe since Ronald Reagan. So why waste her time taking cheap shots that can be made just as well (OK, almost as well) by Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney? Sure, it was a great speech, but I think they missed a chance to redefine the election, to have her present an alternative vision of change--school choice, tax reform, embracing of new technologies rather than fear of them---that would cast the Republicans as the real party of the future and put Democrats on the defensive. There were hints of this, especially on the energy front, but they seemed to get lost in the one-liners and the partisan rhetoric.

Of course, there's still another night, and McCain (like Obama before him) may outline a more positive vision using the previous nights as a setup. Most candidates perform well in their acceptance speeches: with a free hour of television time, and no follow up questions, it would be difficult not to. But for now, the score is: Palin 1,000, GOP coming up to bat.


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