Another good night

Let me offer a few thoughts to supplement John’s fine live-blog of tonight’s events.

Traditionally, the vice presidential candidate’s speech to the convention is devoted to attacking the other party’s presidential candidate. However, Sarah Palin needed to focus foremost on introducing herself and (given the times) her family to the American people. Fortunately Rudy Giuliani, who preceded Palin, launched a scathing attack on Obama. John was not overstating things in describing Rudy’s attack as a “KO.” And in delivering it, he freed Palin up to devote the bulk of her speech to telling the audience who she is and what she has accomplished.

The potential danger of this approach, of course, was that Rudy is a tough act to follow. But not, as it turned out, for Palin. In my view, she did splendidly. And since she did not follow Rudy by immediately launching attacks on Obama, she was not really “competing” with him.

Eventually, though, Palin did turn the guns on Obama, and, as John’s post makes clear, very effectively. Her best lines, I thought, were these:

The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

And:

Though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you … in places where winning means survival and defeat means death … and that man is John McCain.

After the Giuliani and Palin speech, it seems clear that the Republicans plan to continue attacking Obama through ridicule (McCain probably will be less openly derisory tomorrow, though). There’s some risk associated with this approach – Giuliani may have come across as over-the-top at times (I hope voters will accept that grin from him; they wouldn’t accept it from many), and Palin as a bit nasty. But I still think it’s the way to go. Obama is a huge balloon and the Republicans have no real choice but to deflate him.

As to the other main speakers:

Michael Steele was very good. If he had run in a less blue state or in a less blue year, he’d likely be a Senator.

For some reason, Mitt Romney was flat and unimpressive. Very platitudinous.

Mike Huckabee was pretty good – certainly better than Romney – but not up to his usual standard.

FINALLY: I’ll be consulting some of my Democratic acquaintances tomorrow to see if they are still happy Palin is on the ticket.

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