Day 3 Final Thoughts

I don’t have a lot to add to what I’ve already written, but I do have a few thoughts about the tandem of firebrand Zell Miller and the more stoic surgery of Dick Cheney. I’ve read some who think that the pairing was deliberate — that the RNC knew how Zell would go after the Democrats and John Kerry, and that the contrast between Miller (who isn’t running for anything) and Cheney would emphasize Cheney’s reasonableness. It’s the kind of counterpoint that could take the edge off of Cheney’s unwarranted image as a warmonger.
Well, maybe. As Deacon at Power Line says, it may well be that the Republicans attempted to play good cop/bad cop. Unfortunately, if they did, they may have done too good a job, as both men made excellent points in their speeches that their wildly divergent styles will obscure. Miller was especially effective when talking about Kerry’s record on voting against all sorts of military systems that we’ve used effectively in the field. If he had used the money line as more of a joke than an angry shout — “With what … spitballs?” — it would have been devastating. As it is, it’s damaging but the tone may have already turned off the centrists. My prediction is that Miller’s speech will read better with swing voters than it played on TV tonight. I liked Miller’s speech and agreed with every word, but we shouldn’t pretend it will change a lot of minds.
Cheney’s problem was that his delivery was so deliberate that he never seemed to connect personally with the camera or with the crowd. I’ve seen Cheney do better. I don’t think it was a bad speech at all, or even a bad delivery; it just felt a little flat, and the best parts failed to get punched up. Compare it with John McCain, for instance. He’s known for his mediocre style on the stump, but on Monday he gave one of the best speeches of his career. I wanted to see Cheney give us some passion — maybe not on a Zell Miller scale, but at least on a McCain scale. I didn’t see that.
I think Miller’s speech will eventually play well enough, and Cheney didn’t do any damage. But Bush will need to tell us why we need him as President for the next four years, using hope instead of anger and showing more passion than Cheney did tonight.
UPDATE: Cassandra at I Love Jet Noise disagrees with me about Cheney, and has a point-by-point analysis of his speech. It’s worth reading. I don’t disagree with the assertion that the content of the speech wasn’t excellent, but I think I wanted to see a little more passion for the subject from the man who wants (we assume) to get a majority of Americans to vote him back into the vice-presidency.

One thought on “Day 3 Final Thoughts”

  1. Wed Night Convention notes

    My own take is that Mathews is a well known leftist cheerleading idiot, and Miller went in expecting the standard fare from Matthews…. and misheard him because of the noise surrounding the remote.

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