I watched some of the first night of the Republican Convention last night, and was I impressed? Meh, not so much. (Not that you are surprised I am sure :) It was pretty standard convention fare, and pretty much exactly what I had expected from the Republicans.
It was all terror, be afraid, we have been attacked and will be again, only Bush can protect us.
That is pretty much it. I watched John McCain speak about the wonder that was Bush taking the war to the terrorists. He simply failed to mention that Iraq had not terrorists. He also spoke about how Saddam was a threat to us, because the world community was on the verge of reducing the pressure on Saddam, and without the invasion, Saddam would have been up to his old tricks any day. Forget the fact that we were told he was an immediate threat, McCain now tells us he might have been a threat some time in the future.
Then I watched three widows of the 9/11 attacks. They had very moving speeches. They asked us to have a moment of prayer and silence for the heroes of 9/11. They had nothing to say that had anything to do with the election.
Then they had Rudi Giuliani. Rudi is a good speaker in a down home kind of way. But once again he was all 9/11 and thank God Bush was president on 9/11, and we are all under threat of attack at any moment so thank God Bush is president. He also mentioned Iraq, and how after 9/11 we put the terrorists on notice by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq. What??? How exactly did we put the terrorists on notice by attacking Iraq? He then spent the rest of his speech dwelling on 9/11 and Bush's amazing reaction to it.
There were a couple of other noticeable things. First the crowd was predictably white and middle aged, with a smattering of others. I saw one black lady 4 times by my count, in three speeches. That has to be a record for a non-celebrity. Oh, that was the other thing, no celebrities, at least that I saw. Both of those were large contrasts with the Democratic Convention.
The other thing was that it was noticeable what they didn't speak about. Osama Bin Laden??? Doesn't exist according to the Republican Convention. It was all Taliban, Al Qaida, Saddam Hussein. I would guess they don't want to remind people that we have Saddam (who wasn't a threat) but we don't have Osama (who is a huge threat). We also heard about Iraq, Afghanistan, even Libya, but we heard nothing about Israel and the Palestinians (except in a derogatory statement about Kerry) or North Korea.
We also heard nothing about tax cuts, health care, the economy, jobs, environment, trade, etc etc etc. Pretty much anything other than security and terror. While I am sure that some of these things will have to be mentioned at some point in the convention, the fact that this convention seems to be so far so single minded is pretty amazing, but not really that unpredictable. They have little else to run on, so they have to remind people about the extreme terror they should be living under every day.
So far, I am not very impressed and can't imaging it would sway anyone who is yet undecided. They have days left yet though, so we will have to see how they do!