Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Republican National Convention: Day Four (Part Two)

As the convention speeches went though out the night, there, admittedly, was little electricity in the air. Various video tributes were played, including ones for President Gerald Ford, President Abraham Lincoln, President George H.W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and President Theodore Roosevelt. It has been quite interesting to see all of the references to Roosevelt. In the past decade or so, Ronald Reagan has been the theme and archetype for all Republicans to evoke. It's been fairly clear from this convention that McCain/Palen is aiming more at the roughriding, tough-as-nails Teddy Roosevelt and less at Reagan.

The early speakers were not very entertaining. House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a shout out to Rep. Thad Cochrane, who was holding down the fort in the House of Representatives as House Republicans continue to protest Nancy Pelosi's recurring need to recess instead of dealing with American problems. Jo Anne Davidson mortified the crowd by forgetting the name of our Vice Presidential nominee. Senator Norm Coleman gave a decent speech, but there wasn't much gravitas in it. (More than if Al Franken had given it, but not what I was expecting from the Minnesota Senator.) Coleman's speech must have struck a chord with someone, though, as it led to outbursts of idiocy amongst the Texas delegation, who, for some unknown reason (Tourette Syndrome?) feel the need to treat the Republican National Convention like a high school pep rally.

The first real touching moments of the convention came when Cindy McCain's foster child was introduced, and the story of how that came to be was told for the delegates. It is a moving story, and it provides a great narrative for this campaign about how they were rescued by Cindy McCain from near-certain death in Bangladesh.

Electricity entered the Xcel Center when President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush took their seats. This led to a short speech by First Lady Laura Bush, who focused on the role of women in the Republican Party and in American culture. It was one of her better speeches, to tell the truth.

President Bush then addressed the convention by satellite. Perhaps it was those who came before him, but Bush's speech was actually delivered in a better voice and with more enthusiasm than previous speakers had shown. Bush told us that it was McCain's life experiences - the trials and tribulations that he has endured and overcome - that provide the most important criteria for ascending to the presidency. He closed with something to the effect that if the Vietnamese couldn't break John McCain, that the angry Left never will. That was a good line, and the convention started to get fired up for the first time this week.

This set the stage for Tennessee's own Fred Thompson. Surely most of you were able to catch his speech on television or on the Net, so I won't go into it much. However, I will offer this - it was the best speech of the week thus far. I couldn't help but think, though, that Fred should have been speaking on Thursday night, accepting the nomination of the GOP for the White House. I haven't given much thought to Fred's campaign over the past few months, but tonight brought back some of that passion, even if it was only an ember that hadn't quite died out. Fred Thompson would have made one hell of a President, folks. Fred did get me fired up for John McCain, but he also got me wishing for more of Fred Thompson, too.

Instead of listening to non-Republican Joe Lieberman speak, a few of us decided to leave on a high note, basking in the glory of Tennessee's native son's keynote address. We were bussed to the Tennessee Tuesday event, which was sponsored by several Tennessee entities, including CMT, Pilot Oil, Eastman Chemical, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Corrections Corporation of America, amongst others. Angela, as well as some of the other female members of the Tennessee delegation, had been looking forward to this event for some time now. I'm not sure, but it could have been something about country stud Trace Adkins performing. Senator Lamar Alexander took the stage to say a few kind words (I had requested that he play piano and perform with Trace, but he declined), and then the show started.

Trace was fantastic, and he put on a great show to an audience that was a small fraction of the size of the arenas that he normally sells out. We all had a great time.

Afterwards, several of us made our way over to another party, where we were able to take in Robert Earl Keen, whom I had never heard of but apparently has one heck of a following. Arriving back at the hotel, we sat around until nearly sunrise talking with members of the delegation, telling stories about what we had seen or heard that day. It was a heck of a day, and it certainly made the trip to Minnesota worth it.


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