Sen. John McCain's speech Thursday night accepting the Republican Party's presidential nomination was lackluster, as any TV viewer who's honest can admit. It certainly didn't hold a candle to the recent speeches by Democratic nominee Barack Obama or Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate.
More importantly, though, McCain's screed -- full of empty and contradictory platitudes -- made no sense to anyone paying attention to the words themselves.
Joe Conason, an author and columnist for the New York Observer, elegantly and succinctly summarizes the problems with McCain’s bizarre speech on the Salon.com Web site. Although Conason’s main point is that McCain’s top advisers failed him by writing and approving such a clichéd message, he also underscores the major lapses in logic that run throughout the address.
Here’s the relevant excerpt:
“The result on display in his convention speech was a kind of political schizophrenia. He praises the leadership of ‘the president,’ to whom he has offered unstinting support for the past four years, and at the same time promises to restore the public trust forfeited by the Republican administration, as if someone else has been in the White House all this time.
He denounces both parties for making government bigger, while simultaneously suggesting that he will expand or create new programs for displaced industrial workers, families with autistic children and students in struggling public schools.
He scourges Barack Obama for supporting the Bush administration's energy bill, replete with ‘corporate welfare for oil companies,’ yet promises to subsidize the same ‘clean’ coal, nuclear and oil development programs that are the foundation of the Bush energy policy.
The question that McCain’s speech failed to answer is exactly what, besides the nameplates, will change if he and Sarah Palin win this election. He will slash away at congressional earmarks and expose the self-serving pols who misuse them, but that represents a tiny portion of the federal budget. Earmarks may be important as a symbol of integrity but eliminating all of them would not appreciably change the lives of the people that McCain swore to stand up for in his speech.”
In other words, by trying to be a candidate who appeals to everyone, McCain ends up saying nothing substantive.
— Kevin Osborne