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An RNC review

By Jeff

How the Republicans ran their convention this week is an example of the types of catalyst that allowed an inexperienced candidate like Barack Obama earn such a groundswell of energized support.

The Democrats rarely mentioned McCain during their convention, and when they did it was largely to link McCain and Bush’s voting records. The easy punchline at the time was about McCain’s seven houses, and I don’t recall any of the prime-time speakers even mentioning it.

Rather than pandering to their crowd to get a few big hoot and holler applause lines at the expense of McCain or Bush, their convention was about Obama’s history, why Obama wants to be president and what he aims to do if he gets there.

Contrast that with the approach of the Republicans this week, whose major speakers have littered every speech with petty digs, snide comments and general condescension about Obama’s history and qualifications. There was little mention about McCain other than his history as a soldier, his support of the surge and his mystical “maverick” status (though no concrete details have been offered). The convention seemed to be three days of McCain biography.

Where’s the looking forward? Instead of making the case for their candidate, their focus was to tear down Obama. They continued the vile “us vs. them” narrative that has been a Republican staple since shortly after 9/11.

(continued) Giuliani’s speech was not only juvenile, but full of abrasiveness and fear-mongering. There is no question that his root message was to frighten people into thinking that if Obama wins, terrorists will get us and people will die. In Palin’s (overrated) speech, she mocked Obama for worrying about the rights of terrorists. Well, he’s right to. Humans have rights, even those who are suspected of atrocities.

If America is going to detain them, we must charge them with something. Holding someone indefinitely or without charge is immoral as is allowing their torture; both of which occurred under this administration. The excuse these actions was the “TERRORISM!!!” trump card, which was touted consistently during the convention as well. I fear for the foreign relations of this country if McCain is truly a third Bush term.

Also surprising is how bold the Republicans were about their deception. Even after it was exposed that Sarah Palin absolutely supported the “bridge to nowhere,” and actively pursued earmarks both as mayor and governor, her speech retained the statement that she opposed both.

Even though the Republicans have controlled the White House for the last eight years, the House for six of the last eight and the Senate for four of the last eight, the Republicans tried to make it seem like they are the outsiders and Obama/Biden are the establishment.

In spite of the fact that G.W. Bush and the Republican Congress have skyrocketed spending (discretionary, non-military spending) at rates higher than any president since LBJ, they painted the Democrats as the “big spending; do nothing party.” This statement would be more influential if we ignored the facts of the last eight years.

Clinton’s surplus is gone; the debt has grown over $4T in the last eight years and now approaches $10T. Between Obama’s “raise taxes and raise spending” plan and the Republicans’ recent “cut taxes and raise spending,” Obama’s is the more fiscally sound.

If McCain is truly the same maverick who disagreed with G.W. Bush on abortion, gay rights, immigration, evangelical influence, the Bush tax cuts, the Medicare Drug Bill, the 2002 Farm Bill and many other areas, why wasn’t it mentioned during the convention? I was a big fan of John McCain in 2000 when he was a freedom-loving, small-government Republican who fought extreme social right wing of the Republican party. I was hoping that 2000 McCain would show up at the convention, and remind everyone of the times he’d battled his own party; maybe even G.W. Bush.

But it didn’t happen. He was a Republican first, he praised G.W. Bush, and detailed no differences between them. He’s now positioned much more socially conservative, he tightened up on immigration, and used demographics and politics as his only factors when naming his VP nominee.

I was hoping McCain 2000 would show up, but it appeared to be Bush 2004 with a war record.

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