McCain’s speech

“Strikingly bad.” Those were the words, or words like those, with which commentator Jeffrey Toobin summed up John McCain’s speech last night. He said the speech had no theme, no vision, and presented no policies, and was only good in its closing, rousing section. I agree. But this is exactly what one would expect of McCain. McCain has no ideas. He has a couple of pet issues he cares about, such as reducing pork barrel spending, and he has his sense of “honor” and of “service to something larger than ourselves,” and he has his delight in messing up conservatives and Republicans. And that’s about it. His speech perfectly reflected the intellectual and political vacuity that has characterized his entire career.

It also epitomized the rank absurdity that characterized the convention as a whole—the notion that McCain, a Republican running to succeed a two-term Republican president, represents “change.”

And the conservatives attack Obama for using a lot of empty rhetoric!

The best thing about McCain’s speech was the sight of his 96 year old mother, Roberta McCain, listening to him in the convention hall. What a magnificent looking woman.

- end of initial entry -

Spencer Warren writes:

As a political matter, given his views, I think his speech was very good to excellent. Such a speech is built on detailed polling, including focus groups, as to what issues the candidate should promote and how he should frame them. I thought it had good lines and was delivered well, including the peroration. Unfortunately, he ignored the paramount issue from our viewpoint, immigration, and other issues as well. But from the point of view of his campaign, I thought the speech was very good.

Jeffrey Toobin is a partisan, arch-liberal, so his complaint has little value. If he was on CNN as usual, his comment also has little value given the gross liberal bias of CNN.

LA replies:

Given McCain’s poor abilities as a speaker, he did a decent job of delivering it, that’s true. My criticism was directed to what I saw as its substantive emptiness. Why should this man be president?

Also, while I have generally seen Toobin over the years as you do, as a liberal partisan, I didn’t feel in this instance that his remark was merely partisan, since, one, it reflected my own view, and, two (as I remember), he said that he had praised Sarah Palin’s speech.

Paul K. writes:

After the complete tizzy the folks at the Corner went into after Palin’s spoke, last night’s reaction to McCain was muted, to say the least.

Near the end of his speech, when McCain says he gained a new sense of patriotism while a POW, he described America in classic neocon terms: “I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.”

McCain’s epiphany seemed to require that the country change, too. It must no longer be its own country anymore, but the world’s; no mere place comprising a people, a language, a common culture, a shared history, and defined borders, but an idea, a cause.

So when McCain goes on to say, “And I will fight for [America] for as long as I draw breath, so help me God,” it may sound as if he’s talking about the country as most of us understand it, but he most assuredly is not.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 05, 2008 09:07 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):