Thursday, September 4, 2008

Closing Time

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) closed out the 2008 Republican convention here at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., tonight with a speech drawing on his record of service and sacrifice to the nation. The speech also offered an administration that would reach out across the political aisle, his willingness to defy the status quo and his own party, and to bring change to Washington, D.C., in a way his opponent, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), wouldn't.

His moment: John McCain addresses the filled-to-capacity
Xcel Energy Center during the closing night of the 2008
Republican convention.

Among them: The convention's stage was reconfigured
so that McCain would appear more accessible and
surrounded by his family and supporters.

"A word to Senator Obama and his supporters," McCain said. "We'll go at it -- we'll go at it over the next two months. You know that's the nature of this business, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and my admiration. Despite our differences much more unites us than divides us.

"We are fellow Americans," he added. "And that's an association that means more to me than any other. We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country -- no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

"And after -- and after we've won, we're going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace."

Following Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's vice presidential acceptance speech the night before (which was still a hot topic of discussion even as the delegates were leaving the arena), McCain had an extremely tough act to follow.

Over at the New York Times, Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper wrote, "Much of the address, though delivered at one of the most prominent moments of a presidential campaign, was little different from the stump speech he has been delivering across the country. And it was often offered in a monotone as he stood before a solid-color backdrop that flicked from green to blue. The reaction was far more subdued than it was the night before for his running mate, Ms. Palin. There were stretches in which he drew only a smattering of applause."

In short, the speech had more substance than Palin's did but it lacked spark. But I think that was part of the math McCain did when he made the (national) political neophyte his choice for VP. In addition to helping solidify his conservative base of voters, he also was looking for what he's not: young, vibrant, fresh...On the other side, though, McCain brings gravitas, experience and a story unequaled in American political history (JFK's PT 109 saga comes close).

The curtain has come down and the adventures in St. Paul are now but slowly fading memories. History was made, speeches were given -- some memorable, others not so much, and the race between McCain and Obama officially kicked off. We've got about two months of attacks, debates, annoying dinnertime phone calls from campaigns, and more political commercials and mailers than we know what to do with ahead of us.

The curtain (balloons) come down on the convention.

Good luck to us, one and all.

Extra: No political convention is complete without a balloon drop, confetti and streamers. This convention was no different (video clip below).

(All photos except balloon drop -- and video -- courtesy 2008 Republican National Convention and Reflections Photography. Balloon drop photo and video courtesy of Yours Truly.)

1 comment:

Russell Snyder said...

This is not a sprint but rather a marathon. It's a long way to November, and there will be plenty of twists and turns between now and then. One thing for sure, this will be a lot more interesting election season that we might have imagined a year or two ago.