When accepting a party’s nomination, presidential candidates hope to do two things: excite their base and woo potential swing voters. We fear John McCain may have done neither last night.
Speaking one night after his running mate Sarah Palin tremendous speech, Senator McCain seemed to be spouting the same policy-driven rhetoric he has throughout this entire campaign. Pledging to end Washington’s “partisan” culture, McCain rambled through a litany of issues, like drilling and the war in Iraq.
And it didn’t work, as Jeffrey Toobin pointed out on CNN:
…I thought it was very, very boring until the end when he started talking about his personal story, which is, of course, remarkable and always important to hear. I personally cannot remember a single policy proposal that he made because they had nothing connecting them. I found it shockingly bad.
The only interesting bit, we thought, came when McCain discussed his party’s weaknesses. Though he didn’t name names, we couldn’t help but think of Larry Craig and David Vitter, two Republicans caught in embarrassing sex scandals: Craig in an airport men’s room and Vitter with a hooker. Said the monotonous McCain:
I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.
Many people agree: McCain’s snooze worthy performance last night successfully undercut the Palin-generated zest. Good thing McCain says he likes a good fight, because he’s going to get one.
If you’re looking for some bedtime inspiration, here’s McCain’s speech in its entirety: