The Republicans really kicked it out last night. They laid out their battle plan and came out swinging a message that will resonate with that portion of the American public that could go either way in the election. Their votes could be the ones who will decide who becomes the next President of the United States.
Palin proved herself a combatative, tough, smart and savvy politician last night, and those who spoke before her provided a powerful build up to her speech. On Tuesday night, I thought well, these guys are boring and have no spark. I was surprised knowing how smart, and at times underhanded, their campaign strategists can be. They have the Karl Rove team in place, after all.
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Well last night they pulled it off. First, former Md. Lt. Governor Michael Steele spoke and gave the conventioneers a new slogan that caught on like wild fire. Remember when McCain, in North Carolina I believe, said we have to “Drill now, Drill here?” Well, Steele came out with a play on that shouting “Drill, Baby, Drill!” which itself was a play on the sixties slogan, "Burn, Baby, Burn!" that people chanted in the inner city riots of 1965 and 1968. The delegates ate it up and chanted this new slogan all night long. It will be a campaign cheer to whip up the crowds from here on through November 4th. Ahh, some white folks just get so titillated at hip Black speak.
When former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke, the crowd spontaneously broke out in the cheer "Drill, Baby, Drill!". First it was clear the Rudy had not listened to the Steele’s speech because he smiled, repeated the phase with an incredulous laugh. It showed the rallying power of that slogan, but it also showed how no one in power listens to Steele. He is their symbol with so little real substance. They don’t have many African American voices so his role is important to them.
In between Steele and Giuliani, former presidential candidate Governor Huckabee of Arkansas spoke. He was the soft opening. His was a pleasant kind voice during an evening of non-stop assault on the Democrats. He spoke of hatred of racism, growing up poor and coming from proud working class roots. His line of the night was that he decided to work his way out of poverty and not wait for the government to pull him out.
Rudy Giuliani was a pit bull. He stoked the crowd, belittling Barack Obama and the Democrats in general. I thought he would never end but he did his job. He loved being up there, the bad boy New Yorker taking on his Democratic neighbors.
Governor Sarah Palin clearly will be the one who go for the jugular against the Democrats in this campaign. She told America that she has a loving family with all the foibles and problems of every other family. She was the every woman of hard working mothers. Yeah, my baby has Down Syndrome, I love him and I have to keep going and working. I will be the advocate for Special Needs families in the White House.
One of the central themes of the campaign emerged, as Sarah Palin and the other speakers took the stage. They will argue that McCain’s POW experience, serving America, not bending in front of his evil (and that was one of the word of the night) tormentors at the Hanoi Hilton is the kind of courage and integrity America needs. They will argue that the Democrats are untested, Palin has a run a state and McCain stands up for what is right and they will take on the Beltway establishment.
Their themes were clear:
- McCain was right about the War and the Surge. He had the courage to fight and we are winning the war in Iraq because of it. The Democrats are defeatist with no understanding of victory.
- The Democrats want to raise taxes on small business and on all of us to make government larger, which is not what we need for the economy and the 21st century.
- America needs to be energy independent, which means drilling for oil, and we will use alternative energy too. Democrats don’t get it; we can have our own oil and not be dependent on the world.
They touched that part of America’s soul that is conservative. They did it deftly with a saber, while belittling the Democrats and their candidates.
The war is on. Obama may have the lead now, but you can see where the blood will be drawn in the next two months.
McCain’s turn tonight. We will see what he does and how the Democrats respond.
What did you think?