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RNC: Day One
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I only heard about an hour of the RNC in New York last night, broadcast on NPR (the major networks weren't covering it).

By the way, their coverage was pretty loopy. As I tuned in, a male reporter was talking to a female reporter (I didn't catch the names) who was down on the floor near Michael Moore. The female reporter was saying something about the Secret Service pushing Moore off or something, but wouldn't give a reason and wasn't being very descriptive when the male reporter asked follow-ups. It seemed like they were trying to generate some sort of controversy where there was none. If the Secret Service really did drag Moore away to a locked room, I guess we'll hear about it.

Then there was a brief interchange with Linda Wertheimer of NPR, who said something like, "It's very strange...I've never seen anything like it in my convention experience. The delegates are supposed to be showing reverence for the fallen soldiers in Iraq, but then they were dancing. They were dancing!"

Um, lady...conventions are basically big pep rallies. Did you expect them to assume a somber tone for the entire convention?

Anyway, I heard McCain's speech, which was focused almost exclusively on the War on Terror (presumably because this is Bush's leading issue). It was good, I thought. And even had a little tribute to Michael Moore:

The years of keeping Saddam in a box were coming to a close. The international consensus that he be kept isolated and unarmed had eroded to the point that many critics of military action had decided the time had come again to do business with Saddam, despite his near daily attacks on our pilots, and his refusal, until his last day in power, to allow the unrestricted inspection of his arsenal.

Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Not our political opponents. And certainly -- and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...

AUDIENCE (Booing filmmaker Michael Moore who attended the convention):

Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MCCAIN: Please, please, my friends.

That line was so good, I'll use it again. Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe, my friends, who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact -- when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls.

One thing I didn't like about the speech was the fact that he talked several times about sacrifice, mentioning that the bulk of the sacrifice has fallen on our soldiers. That's true, but what I'd like to hear out of the Administration is a call for every American to sacrifice, to conserve energy and fuel in order to try to reduce our dependency on countries like Saudi Arabia, to understand that rebuilding Iraq may mean fewer entitlements in America, but that it's crucial for the stability of a new Middle East.

But overall it was a good speech, a refreshing departure from the Democrats, who seem to want to have it both ways when it comes to the war (we hear Edwards talk about kicking ass, and simultaneously there are many Dems even mocking the concept of the War on Terror). McCain echoed Bush in clearly framing and defining the conflict between malignant fundamentalist Islamists and free democratic nations.

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