Final reflections on the 2008 Republican convention

Think Progress published a good summary of “What Conservatives Ignored” at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Click over for all the analysis and supporting links. Key excerpts:

THE ECONOMY: The American public views the struggling economy as the most important issue facing the country. But as AFP observed, “The economy may be the number one issue in the White House race, but the Republican National Convention has yet to dwell on the troubles of Americans trying to make ends meet.” On Wednesday, CNBC said its reporters were “darned to find much at all” about the economy in the convention speeches. In fact, housing was mentioned just once and the term “middle-class” was used only twice. […]

HEALTH CARE: At a town hall event last month, McCain declared, “There is a health care crisis in America. We would be, if it were not for the energy crisis, we’d be talking a lot more about health care issues.” But despite skyrocketing health care costs and millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, nearly every prominent speaker at the Republican National Convention ignored this crisis. […]

GLOBAL WARMING: […] Republicans also ignored the obvious link between global warming and the increasing intensity of storms: the terms “global warming” and “climate change” were each mentioned just once. A new study published in the journal Nature this week found that “the strongest of hurricanes and typhoons have become even stronger over the past two and a half decades.” […] Despite McCain’s claims that he believes global warming is real, the GOP platform — which McCain has promised to run on — is loaded with caveats about the uncertainty of science and the need to ‘resist no-growth radicalism’ in taking on climate change.” […]

Speaking of what the Republicans didn’t talk about, watch this fantastic clip from a Joe Biden event yesterday. Partial transcript for those who don’t click over:

But, I’ll tell you, it’s not so much of what I heard in the Republican convention. When you heard John speak last night.  It’s not so much what I heard, when I heard part of what the Governor had to say, the vice presidential candidate.  It’s what I didn’t hear.

(Applause)

THE SILENCE – THE SILENCE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS DEAFENING.  IT WAS DEAFENING.  ON JOBS, ON HEALTH CARE, ON ENVIRONMENT, ON ALL THE THINGS THAT MATTER TO THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS I GREW UP IN.  DEAFENING!

(Standing Ovation)

Ladies and gentlemen, THEIR AMERICA IS NOT THE AMERICA I LIVE IN. THEY SEE SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN I SEE.

Ladies and gentlemen, literally, those of you, I can’t swear to this because I didn’t see every bit of every speech. But I asked my staff to check. Do any of you recall either candidate on the Republican ticket utter the phrase, middle class?

Crowd: No!

Biden: Did any of you hear them utter the phrase, health care and how we’re going to help?

Crowd: No!

Biden: Did you hear them talk about aid to get kids to college?

Crowd: No!

Biden: Did you hear them talk about aid to education?

Crowd: No!

Biden: Did you hear them putting more cops on the street to make us safer?

Crowd: No!

Biden: I didn’t hear a thing, a thing, about any of the things that matter to the lives of the people of my hometown of Scranton….

Rick Davis, John’s campaign manager, said two days into the convention, he said “this election is not about issues.”  That’s what he said.  And everything I saw at the convention demonstrated that.

It was about how well placed — and boy she is good — how a left jab can be stuck pretty nice.  It’s about how Barack Obama is such a bad guy.

It’s about how in fact, how in fact, they got great quips.  Man, they’re like the kids you know when you went to school and you were very proud of the new belt or the shoes you had, and there was always one kid in the class who said, “oh, are they your brother’s?”

Crowd: Yeah.

Remember that kid?  That’s what this is reminding me of.  “Oh, I love your dress, was that your mother’s?”

You know what I’m talking about.

What do you talk about, when you have nothing to say?!

What do you talk about when you CANNOT EXPLAIN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS OF FAILURE?!

(Standing Ovation)

What do you talk about?!  What do you talk about?!

You talk about the other guy.

Speaking of McCain’s acceptance speech (transcript here), I didn’t think it was well-written. If there are any aspiring speechwriters out there, you want to avoid drafting passages like this:

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them. I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs. His tax increases will eliminate them. My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

The crowd kept interrupting with boos after McCain’s description of what Obama would do. It came across as very negative.

These contrasts should have been flipped around so that the crowd kept interrupting McCain with applause after he compared his opponent’s plans with his own ideas. You want television viewers to see the audience repeatedly cheering the nominee.

A whole lot of television viewers saw McCain: Nielsen estimates that he drew a slightly bigger television audience than Obama did when speaking at Invesco field in Denver. Sarah Palin’s speech on Wednesday was watched by almost as many people.

NCDem Amy brings you the video of Rachel Maddow daring to call Republican lying what it is.

Speaking of lying, a new ad from McCain and the Republican National Committee says Obama is the candidate who would bring you “more of the same.”

If you were wondering why McCain started talking in front of a green screen on Thursday night, it’s because he was standing in front the grass at the bottom of a huge photo. It turned out to be Walter Reed Middle School in California (presumably they had intended to use Walter Reed Medical Center, where wounded soldiers are treated, as a backdrop).

Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla resident who knows Palin well, wrote this piece about her that has become a viral e-mail.

Here’s another piece about Palin by a longtime resident of Alaska.

I’m with this guy: when it comes to Palins, I’ll take Michael Palin of Monty Python. (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

UPDATE: Reacting to McCain’s repeated promises to “fight” in his acceptance speech, Senator Barbara Boxer of California notes that she has seen McCain fight many times: against raising the minimum wage, against equal pay for equal work, against access to birth control …

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