I need a laptop again so I can “liveblog” these things. Oh well. I was able to Twitter some notes again. First things first: I think this speech was one of McCain’s better ones. He’s done worse, and prepared speaking has never been his strong point. He did well tonight.
He said many things I agree with, and a lot of things I liked. For example, energy. While I think the Republicans are more right on it, that we need the smorgasbord of options developed, I still think they focus too much on drilling. Yes, we need more domestic drilling. The problem is that they emphasize it too much. Drilling is not a magic wand that is going to end all of our energy problems for a while so that we can defer the other options to the next generation. If you really are for everything, please show it. The Democrats similarly have a problem with emphasizing too much on alternatives and completely ignoring oil.
I also liked his attacks against his own party. Now, while the conventioneers were going wild, I think a lot were shaking their heads, because they don’t want to admit the party needs reform. McCain realizes the problem and is calling his party on it. *cough*Barack Obama could take a few lessons from McCain on this.*cough*
Another place I think conservatives, or at least some conservatives, were shaking their heads, is education reforms. McCain talked a lot about school choice, but largely framed it in terms of public school. No talk of vouchers for private schools (though he has talked about them in the past) or homeschooling. I know more than a few conservative bloggers are going to call him out on homeschooling. I don’t really have an opinion one way or another on the issue. I did public school and while it had problems, it largely worked for me. If someone wants to homeschool children, more power to them.
There was a two second moment when he mentioned all about Sarah Palin’s executive experience. So much for cringing whenever he hears someone mention it. He didn’t dwell on it, though, like some of his colleagues, which is probably a good thing. I don’t think he wants people to start making the comparisons.
Finally, defense. Here I’m a little disappointed. Just as I’ve been disappointed with Barack Obama’s “4 more years of Bush” meme, I’m disappointed with the “he puts country second” meme. But, it looks like this race will defined in those terms for the next two months. And neither candidate should let the other just get away with saying these things. They both have an excellent opportunity to say why what the other says is wrong.
On aesthetics, I liked the crowd surrounding McCain thing. He does best at town hall meetings, so trying to make it more comfortable for him is only a good thing. But, that screen! His speech was in danger of the puke green screen that accompanied the first part of the speech. The screen, while okay for when you’re at a huge convention hall, doesn’t work when aired on TV. I think the Republicans got it after a while, sort of. They changed to a less puke green screen, that, while still distracting somewhat, made it easier to focus on McCain.
I thought they had it down, until they changed to a screen with a flag to the right side, and sky blue on the rest! It was just as distracting! I highly expect Stephen Colbert to make a new green screen challenge tomorrow night or next week, where you can pick from your choice of green or blue chroma keying.
So, I think they speech was good, for a man who doesn’t usually do well with prepared speeches. It was pretty exciting and all. He had a tough act to follow with Gov. Palin. Do I think he surpassed it? No. It could have been somewhat better. The problem was that McCain spent a lot of time explaining things in great detail. Now, explanation is a good thing, but dwelling on a subject for too long can make your audience lose attention. Basically, he should have used this kind of stump speech at Saddleback, and that one here.
Yet, in the end, I think it was an okay end to the convention.