GOP convention

McCain's acceptance speech was aimed at winning over independent voters and moderate Democrats -- so conservatives generally found it to be disappointing after the red meat of Palin's speech. From what I saw, the excerpt below is in fact one of the few conservative comments that really praised the McCain speech. The article is from Britain!

John McCain offered Republicans vision rooted in reality, not Barack Obama's empty promises

As the thousands of red, white and blue balloons, the tinsel and the tickertape descended from the rafters on the Republican convention moments after John McCain had finished addressing it, I at last worked out what had been the key difference between this event and the Democratic beano the week before.

The Democrats have a world view based (as Dr Johnson might have put it) on the triumph of hope over experience. The Republicans' is rooted firmly in reality

In Denver, speaker after speaker lauded and coddled one minority group after another and promised the largesse of the American taxpayer would alleviate their misery. In St Paul the message was about all Americans pulling together, getting government out of their lives, and making everyone richer and happier as a result.

When Mr McCain spoke, the faithful were still galvanised and awe-struck by the performance of his remarkable running-mate 24 hours earlier. In that sense anything he could say or do was bound to be an anti-climax. Yet his steady, measured, statesmanlike speech was the perfect complement to her benign but startling demagoguery.

Thus is the flavour of the next two months established. She will eat their opponents alive; he will be there to explain from the apparently limitless fount of his wisdom what will be done on the tree-strewn road ahead. It is a horrible clich‚, but of the two men aiming for the White House, Mr McCain has more of the demeanour of a president. This is nothing to do with his white hair, still less his white skin: it is everything to do with his gravitas and his record.

Some of us thought, and hoped, that he would win the nomination in 2000 over the manifestly inferior George W Bush. The qualities he had then are the same ones that give him the edge over his opponent now: a "story", to use the campaign's favourite word, of genuine heroism, service and leadership; coupled with what are now the first signs of a grasp of what it is possible to do to right America's economic wrongs without first making them considerably worse.

Mr McCain has been on Capitol Hill for 26 years. He not only knows how the system works, he actively despises it and wants to reform it. He brings immense wisdom and good judgment to the table. It is that, rather than a beauty contest based on some celebrity X-factor, that should decide the election on November 4.

In his speech to the delegates in St Paul Mr McCain dealt only in the broad brush. In this, he was rather like Mr Obama in the Broncos' stadium at Denver a week earlier. But unlike Mr Obama, Mr McCain littered his broad brush with odd moments of detail, and clear statements of vital principle. His delivery may have lacked the charisma and sonority of his opponent's, but what he delivered will have connected with tens of millions of Americans, consolidating the shock of the new imposed on them the previous evening by Sarah Palin.

The biggest gap remains his economic programme: he cannot much longer delay explaining how he is going to cut spending, cut the deficit, and provide the tax cuts he promises.

No-one deserves to get a job on Buggin's turn, or on the basis that he or she has been in the queue for it the longest; but that is not what qualifies Mr McCain for the White House. He drew attention to the most important fact about modern life: not the global economic convulsion, from which America has in the last fortnight started to show the first faint signs of recovery, but the fact that the world is a dangerous place, and getting more so. Mr Obama doesn't know where to start on this, and the claims made for his good ol' boy running mate Joe Biden being an expert on foreign policy are charitable to say the least.

In the next eight weeks Mr McCain needs to hammer home the perils to western civilisation not just of Islamic extremism but also of a new Cold War and a restless China. He made a good start yesterday, but this notoriously inward-looking country still needs more of a wake-up call. His television debates with Mr Obama, starting later this month, will be crucial in what must be his strategy of trumping charm and effortless superiority with raw experience.

The convention was a comparatively sober affair, not simply because of the shadow from Hurricane Gustav but because the revivalist hysteria that smothered the Democrats was absent here. But that, of course, is all about the connection Republicans have with reality, practicality running through their veins as idealism does through the Democrats'.

More here

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

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