McCain a genius for picking Palin

By Drew Conrad, Hinckley Institute Journalism Program

If I could chose one word to describe the 2008 Republican Convention, that word would be genius. Genius in the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. Genius in the discrediting of Barack Obama. Genius in the projection of McCain as a true American hero and a patriot who is more than prepared to be the next president of the United States.

Palin addressed the convention Wednesday night, the morning I was at breakfast with Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. It was not so much the words that Huntsman used to describe Gov. Palin, but the way he expressed his excitement for her. He could barely contain himself, he was so genuinely thrilled about the McCain-Palin ticket.

Gov. Huntsman said she “is as well versed in energy policy as anyone else,” and cited the incredible impact her state, Alaska, has on domestic energy production. He was very excited to hear her speak and show the country how great she really is. She stepped up and delivered a speech that gave her credibility and established her as a big time player in the 2008 election. Gov. Huntsman was right, she is everything we need in an executive and she is ready to lead.

As much as the convention was about building trust in the Republican ticket, it was also about bashing Barack Obama.

Fred Thompson said, “The Democrats present a history-making nominee for president. History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history-making, Democrat-controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.”

Thompson continued, “Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases. They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business,” like groceries or clothes or gasoline, or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business,” don’t worry, it’s not going to affect you.”

Rudy Giuliani added, “Obama ran for the U.S. Senate. He spent most of his time as a celebrity senator: no leadership, no legislation to really speak of. He’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.”

Even the feisty Palin joined in, “Some candidates use change to promote their careers. John McCain has used his career to promote change.”

The Republicans came out on the offensive, something that the Democrats did not do effectively in Denver, and made a convincing argument that the ticket that truly “gets it,” is the ticket of McCain and Sarah Palin.

The GOP did an excellent job of showing Americans that McCain is a loving father and husband, someone who will fight for family values. With detailed accounts of his time in prison camps and war experiences we were all able to see the hell he went through and the true war hero that he is.

McCain’s record as a Washington reformer was cited many times, prompting Giuliani to say, “Palin is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn’t happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they’re going to shake up Washington?”

Obama was on the campaign trail Thursday morning saying that the GOP had not addressed the economy all week. This comment from Obama baffled me, as I had spent all week inside the Xcel Energy Center and had heard the economy addressed every day. Maybe this is because Obama does not, as Republicans do, understand that keeping taxes low and keeping markets open is how America grew to an economic giant in the first place.

The convention was great. Palin will, regardless of what the media says, have an impact on women. Her ability to connect with them and her strong support for family values will attract mothers.

This race is going to get intense. Obama better watch his back8212;McCain-Palin are one tough team.

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Editor’s Note8212;Drew Conrad is reporting from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul through the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Shantou University Political Journalism Program