Republican Convention: Night 2

After the first whole night of the Republican Convention, is anyone else feeling silly that they were so worried about what the GOP was going to do this week? Maybe the hurricane forced them to change their plans drastically, but in any event last night was undoubtedly worse than any of the 4 nights in Denver. Now maybe my personal preferences are clouding that a bit, but I think you can easily explain why.

For starters, the difference in the lineup before the 10:00 hour was just striking. Yes the Democrats put one of their big speakers on during the 9:00 hour, but even the supporting cast was noteworthy in that time frame. On Monday night you had Nancy Pelosi, Tuesday Lily Ledbetter, Thursday Bill Richardson, and so on. The Republicans had Norm Coleman and a 17 year old missionary. I guess that’s the consequence of having so many of your national elected figures skipping your convention, and it’s not on TV anyway, but still, that’s really embarrassing for a national party. Bush wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either. And if anyone compares Dubs to Clinton as the picture of a President, well, I think Democrats are in good shape.

The headliners weren’t necessarily terrible, but they weren’t particularly good either. Fred Thompson did a good job of telling McCain’s life story, as I suppose you’d assume an actor would, but I couldn’t stop wondering what the point of it was. Presumably the vast majority of people who tuned in to watch Tuesday night at the RNC already knew more or less everything Fred was telling us, so there really wasn’t any need to waste 15 minutes on it. The rest of the speech was just disjointed and, I thought, hollow. When your “red-meat” is asserting that the other side is “panicked,” as evidenced by criticism of your VP nominee, trotting out the liberal media meme, and lambasting “beltway cocktail parties,” well you’re in sort of a rough spot then aren’t you?

As for Holy Joe, he was, well, Joe Liebermann. He didn’t really say anything that set me off, in fact, I was mostly just bored by it and sort of fascinated by its awkwardness. You could tell the guy was lobbying for some sort of cabinet gig, and you could also tell the crowd didn’t quite know how to treat him. But more than that, the bottom line about Joe is that he’s just not the kind of guy who does well with these things. He’s a slow, plodding, lethargic speaker who doesn’t really deliver lines well, and feels like he has to step on his own stuff. And did anyone else catch that awkward bit when the crowd started chanting “Country First” and Liebermann kind of mumbled it whimsically into the mic with a far off look in his eyes? So again, it wasn’t particulrly terrible, but I didn’t see anything that should concern Democrats last night either.

Also, the Obama campaign seems to have done pretty well running counter-ops so far. Robert Gibbs is already floating the obvious counter to the bizarre argument that Palin is more qualified than Obama because she has “executive experience,” and they jumped all over Rick Davis for saying this election “isn’t about issues.” So all in all, thus far I’m actually shocked how underwhelming this has been. There’s two more nights obviously, but those are somewhat muffled by Palin, who’s going to have to be on her stuff, and McCain, who we know is just bad at these sorts of things. One thing is for sure though, this wasn’t put together by Karl Rove.