SA Live Blogging from the RNC Convention – Day 4

Hard to believe after last night’s speech by Governor Palin, but tonight is actually the grand finale.  Folks were excited to see McCain on the new stage and they wanted to see how he would deliver his remarks.  They weren’t nervous or excited, they just seemed to really want to see how it would turn out and how it would compare to last week’s speech by Obama.  What they expected was more substance and less fluff, and that’s exactly what they got.

The evening’s warm-up acts were the usual fare, with little red meat for the partisans.  The line-up wasn’t as conservative as the previous night’s and the speeches lacked the flair and personality that the Huckabee and Giuliani speeches provided.  Eventually Cindy McCain was introduced and she did quite well.  She is a classy lady with a special family and story and you get the sense that she will bring real elegance to the White House.  Finally it was time for the nominee and, in spite of several attempted disruptions by protesters, he delivered!

It wasn’t amazing, but no one expected that.  What it was was mature and serious, and it painted a meaningful contrast between McCain and Obama, between a man with a lengthy and distinguished history and a self-promoter whose record remains alarmingly devoid of achievement.  For the Arizona delegation, most were very familiar with McCain and his record/story, so it had less impact.  But the feedback from members of other delegations was positive, with a lot of folks leaving the convention a great deal more educated about McCain’s personal story.

Then came the confetti (NOTE:  Falling confetti in an air-conditioned arena is nearly impossible to catch!) and the balloons.  The final prayer was said, and the final gavel fell on the 2008 Republican National Convention.  That meant it was back to the hotel for the farewell party!

Overall, this was a great convention.  Great for the national GOP and the McCain campaign, but also great for the national party’s mood and identity.  I would expect McCain to open up a slight lead based on this week and it is impossible to underestimate the impact that Sarah Palin is having on the party faithful.  Speaking to party leaders from Nebraska, Nevada and other states, they report that their phones are lighting up and folks are suddenly walking in off of the street to volunteer, make phone calls, take yard signs and bumber stickers, etc.

Kudos to the State GOP, Chairman Pullen, and the staff.  If there were glitches in their plans (and there always are in events this size) they were invisible to the delegates, alternates, and guests.  They did an excellent job and it will be nice to get them back to Arizona where their full attention can now turn to the November elections.

Signing off from St. Paul!


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