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Thoughts on the Republican National Convention - VIDEOS

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 5th 2008 1:01PM
Republican conNow that the confetti has been swept away, all the balloons popped, and the St. Paul cops are stowing their riot gear, it's time to recall the surprisingly eventful Republican National Convention in Minnesota. Is it really only one week ago today that Senator John McCain pulled a rabbit out of his hat and introduced little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate? She's not little-known anymore. In fact, the 2008 Republican Convention is forever more to be remembered for her ascent, whatever her future portends.

Here's some other thoughts from the TV coverage of the RNC:

Media matters
Having the two political conventions back to back was a plus for the TV pros. All the mistakes from Denver were rectified in St. Paul. The MSNBC set ups avoided train stations and noise interruptions. Splitting up Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews worked better, with Olbermann as the point man throwing the coverage to the other news pros. And there was less bickering and fighting, at least compared to the week before.

Gustav
This had to be the first time ever an imminent weather disaster -- which thankfully never materialized into epic scale -- caused a major change in a political convention. These cons only come around every four years, remember. They're a very big deal for their parties and the Republicans had to be ticked off about Monday night being a wash out. The network anchors were all in New Orleans or nearby in case Gustav became Katrina, and the Republican con got off on the wrong foot. However, hidden in that coverage of Gustav was Sarah Palin's bombshell revelation about her daughter Bristol's pregnancy.

Oops
You think they'd learn after Jesse Jackson's Fox moment. But no. There was a great off-camera gotcha when Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and Republican strategist Mike Murphy were caught on an MSNBC open mic. Check it out:

All Palin all the time
For someone who was an unknown a week ago and was only seen on camera a short time over the four (really three) days of the convention, Palin got most of the TV coverage. NBC dispatched a reporter to Alaska, Savannah Guthrie, and her reports from Wasilla reinforced the Sarah-small-town success storyline. When Sarah Palin finally addressed the convention on Wednesday, the only way she could fail was to have a breakdown on stage. She didn't. Her pitch-perfect performance -- presenting a speech she did not write, so they weren't her own words -- proved that she's an adept politician. She looked good, sounded homey (that accent sounds like Edie McClurg), and energized that St. Paul crowd. The reviews were strong, the Nielsen numbers boffo. The shock to me was how condescending and snippy her speech was. She didn't write it, but she delivered cutting lines like a pro. I don't know if that helps her win over Hillary votes.

Pat Buchanan
I thought he'd pop a blood vessel over Sarah Palin. This is a man in love, politically speaking.

St. Paul
On TV, the arena looked considerably smaller than the one the Democrats used in Denver. Also, while the reconfigured stage for McCain's acceptance speech was different, it was window dressing. There was no matching Obama's stadium visuals. As TV spectacle, fireworks trump balloons. One more thought: that huge video screen was annoying. During McCain's speech, he was framed by green lawns (that looked like green screen) and blue skies. It was distracting.

Baby talk
The media has been all over the Palin baby stories -- and yes, there are more than one -- carefully treading the line between tabloid sensationalism and responsible journalism. Kudos to Obama for immediately coming out and telling the press that children are off limits, evening reminding them that his mother was on 18 when she gave birth to him. Still, the baby story was covered extensively, fueling the McCain campaign to call a war with the media. They're now saying that Palin will not be doing Meet the Press, Face the Nation, not even The View. Media blackout. The last time I recall this kind of hatred of the media was Nixon and the Watergate years.

On the other hand... Campbell Brown
Maybe it was Campbell Brown's interview with McCain rep Tucker Bounds that caused the McCain camp to turn on the press. Brown was persistent in her questioning of Bounds, asking for specifics about Sarah Palin. Bounds was not prepared to answer and things got testy. The next day, an email campaign denouncing Brown was all over the net. Ouch.


Drinking game
Okay, every time the Democrats say Scranton, take a drink. Every time a Republican says POW, take a drink. I realize the latter is a sensitive subject, but McCain has said he would never use this part of his biography in campaigning, but the story was told at least six times during the convention. I respect and admire John McCain's courage. It's time to stop talking about the Hanoi Hilton.

CNN twins
Is it just me or are Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper starting to look alike? If AC grows a beard...

Leave that baby home
I did not like the way little Trig Palin was passed around like a loaf of bread. Why was a five-month old infant at the arena at all? He's never going to remember the night. The baby was used like a prop and I was offended. If Sarah Palin wants to prove she's a great mother, protect the baby and keep him home or in the care of a nurse or family. I have no problem with the rest of the Palins appearing, but the baby was being used.

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Melody Warbington

Why is it okay for Obama to have his daughters on stage, but not okay for Governor Palin to have her entire family in the audience to witness and share in her moment? "That baby" as you call him is, in Governor Palin's own words, perfectly beautiful and there was no reason not to have him there.

Vince, obviously Senator and Mrs. McCain love their "adopted" daughter as if she were their biological daughter. Should they have left her at home?

Can't wait for the debates. I've donated twice to McCain/Palin since her nomination and have ordered my yard signs and bumper stickers.

To those of you commenting about Palin not writing her own speech, at least she didn't plagiarize anyone like Biden.

September 08 2008 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denise

Sarah Palin modified the pre-written script to fit her style. In addition, the teleprompter malfunctioned, and she had to wing it. I'm not sure Biden could do that.

September 06 2008 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Denise's comment
Liberalpounder

Not sure...oh, he could not have given that speech with or without a teleprompter. And, we've all seen the grace and articulate Obamessiah without his! ("Whereas if you just gave them treatment early--uh---if you gave them a breathalizer, uh, inhalator---uh---")

September 08 2008 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bsgfan2003

I wonder if there will be a post about the Nielsen ratings for McCain.

September 05 2008 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bsgfan2003's comment
malren

Don't hold your breath.

September 06 2008 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bsgfan2003

I know - I was just amusing myself :)

September 06 2008 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shelley

As a mother, I hardly think I would have welcomed with open arms the boy who impregnated my daughter to join us on stage at the convention. Can you not realize how inappropriate this is?? Her daughter had no sex education and is being asked to marry a teenage boy to make her family look respectable.

September 05 2008 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to shelley's comment
Azimuth

Please think things through!

A) Impregnated? No Sex Education? You must think kids can be convinced not to have sex. News Flash: They will always want to do it! News Flash: They don't always listen to parents and teachers!

B) Liberals want to hide mistakes like pregnant daughters, pregnant mistresses, extramarital affairs, risky mortgages, living below the flood plane, etc. News Flash: Republicans deal with their mistakes.

C) See my previous comment about the baby Trig: They had to bring him out or you would have claimed she was embarrassed and trying to pretend the whole thing didn't happen.

What really happened is this: Palin's daughter getting pregnant locked in millions of votes for McCain. She instantly became like you and me.

Final note: I hope your daughter doesn't get pregnant in her teens. I'm sure you will post here that she could have avoided it if only the schools had done a better job of handing out rubbers.

September 05 2008 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liberalpounder

Sex ed? Ahhh!! You guys are nuts! Why would she hide her daughter's fiance? My parents (married for 26 years) got married when they were 17 and 18. She's not 12 for God's sake, she's past the age of consent and her parents are supporting her!!!!!!!! And, the father of Bristol's unborn child (it kills me that I know her name offhand because it means she's been plastered all over the news which is sick!) is being supportive and helpful. Big news flash! But, if you support politicians who are more keen on cheating on their wives whether in the oval office or a skeezy Hollywood motel, I guess it should make sense why this kind of accountability is shown in our party.

September 08 2008 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vincent J. Murphy

I liked when McCain mentioned that he fell in love with America while he was the captive of another country. I guess he hated America beforehand. Didn't Michelle Obama get called out for saying something similar?

I also guess that if torture makes you love America, it's a good thing.

And McCain's remarks on community service tend to ring hollow when his other proxies denigrate Obama's community organizing job.

September 05 2008 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Vincent J. Murphy's comment
Elizabeth


I think it is ironic that you wrote an incredibly condescending post that critiques Sarah Palin for being condescending.

I think next time tvsquad should get somebody who is actually fair and can write non-biased posts when reviewing political events. Or they should at least get somebody who can be objective.

And why do you care so much about who wrote her speech? Why is that relevant to this post? It's almost as though you couldn't find anything wrong with her speech, so you picked on a non-issue that no one cares about just so you could write something negative about her. And why didn't you bring up the fact that most politicians don't write their speeches when you were reviewing the DNC?

Look, I know this isn't a political blog or anything, and this post was really just Allison's "Thoughts on the RNC", but could she at least be fair in her critique? Measure all candidates with the same metaphorical ruler--I didn't hear you commenting on Obama's "snippy" remarks towards McCain last week? And come on, these are political parties holding their national conventions--you should expect negative comments about the opposing side. If this were the State of the Union, then I would be upset.

September 05 2008 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Viet Le

The unqualified and mindless indignation all over this comment section is both hilarious and deeply, deeply sad.

Feel persecuted yet?

September 05 2008 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

As others have already pointed out, they all have speechwriters. News flash: Palin probably didn't pick her outfit either. The horror!

Judging the conventions strictly as TV events, the Democratics' was far and away superior. It's their messaging that was off.

Vote for McCain/Palin if you believe in personal responsibility; vote for Obama/Biden if you want the government to take care of all your problems (and if you want everyone else to help pay for it).

September 05 2008 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bsgfan2003


John McCain has more than earned the right to speak about his years as a POW. No one need say more on that account.

The attacks on Palin's motherhood and family are filthy and grotesque.

I have no problem with Democrats and Liberals who disagree on the issues. Let's have a civilized debate.

For my part, the below the belt punches only succeed in making me take out the check book and starting writing checks to the RNC.


September 05 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to bsgfan2003's comment
Oreo

I agree with McCain's speech, a green and blue screen don't work well for a speech.

September 05 2008 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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