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Republican National Convention, Day 3, Part Two

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Republican National Convention, Day 3, Part Two

The 8-9pm hour was supposed to conclude with live music by Gretchen Wilson, John Rich and Cowboy Troy, and I must say I was disappointed not to see the G-girl when they just moved right along with the next speakers.

One has to wonder why Linda Lingle isn’t the Vice Presidential candidate. Oh,sorry! That would be because she has grey hair, has only a couple of children, and is twice divorced. Lingle has the same executive experience as Palin—mayor of Maui County and Governor of Hawaii—but she doesn’t have the youthful looks or the chance to send her son off to war at such an expedient time. When Lingle spoke of McCain choosing “an experienced woman governor” she looked downright disappointed that it wasn’t her.

During Lingle’s speech the chants of “Sarah! Sarah!” began, along with the chants of “Zero! Zero!” in reference to Obama. (Can’t you just see the ZerObama posters already?) The funny thing was that the two words are virtually indistinguishable when being chanted by thousands of people in a sports arena.

And even funnier was when the crowd chanted “Zero! Zero!” in all the wrong parts of Rudy Giuliani’s nasty, sarcastic speech. The effect was positively Pythonesque. Talking about the troop surge and politicians changing their positions to be popular, Giuliani asked, “How many times have we seen Obama do this?” “Zero! Zero!” came the response from the crowd, which seemed to be reacting to cue words instead of listening to what was actually being said.

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(Above) Georgia delegates wave their “Georgia Loves John McCain” placards at Giuliani’s mention of McCain saying “We’re all Georgians now.”

Finally, the lady of the night made her appearance. There’s something about Sarah Palin’s looks that remind me of the lead character in The New Adventures of Old Christine, but her attitude is more that of the nasty PTA moms Christine is always having a run-in with. The scariest part of her speech was her statement that “there is a time to campaign and a time to put country first”.

That will be the moral high ground the Republicans will take during the election season. It is simply the Bush Iraq invasion mantra “You’re either with us or against us” repackaged for a domestic election audience. There was very little for the Democrats to take comfort from in her speech. This election will be downright nasty, and it will take all the evenhandedness the Obama campaign can muster to keep from getting into the mudslinging that seems inevitable.

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(Above) At the conclusion of Palin’s speech and standing ovation, delegates got into a bit of boot-scootin’ in the aisles.

Finally, we came to the important part of the evening’s agenda in terms of what conventions are all about—the votes of the delegations for their preferred presidential candidate. The first shock was Alaska, which has 29 votes. It cast 24 for McCain and 5 for Ron Paul. The Secretary recording the vote did not even mention the votes for Ron Paul when she read them back. She just said “24 for John McCain.”

One of the Alaska delegates, Evan Cutler, told me the next day that there had been a shouting match that evening between him and the delegation leader on the floor, with Cutler insisting the Paul delegates’ votes be enumerated. Cutler also said he’d had calls from other state delegations urging him not to rock the boat but to just go along with there being a unanimous vote for McCain.

Another Ron Paul supporter, Bill Montgomery, told me that when state delegations later in the alphabet tried to give a number of votes for anyone other than McCain, their microphone was cut off. “Look at the vote counts,” he said, “they don’t add up.” Most states simply accepted being browbeaten into saying they were unanimous for McCain when they weren’t. Even Arkansas, Mike Huckabee’s home state, cast all their votes for McCain.

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(Above) At the beginning of the roll call, Arizona passed on giving its numbers, so it could later be the state whose votes put its Senator, John McCain, over the top.



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