RNC: John McCain’s Big, Anticlimactic Night

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Balloons and confetti couldn’t save John McCain from the letdown of the Republican National Convention’s final night. Sarah Palin’s introduction to the American public last night left delegates buzzing with excitement. Even before she went on stage, a countdown created anticipation for her appearance. Tonight, delegates were drinking coffee minutes before Senator McCain’s speech, trying to stay awake for their chosen candidate.

I asked a few delegates to compare the two nights, and most agreed that this evening was more subdued. “Wait until Cindy gets on,” said a delegate from Georgia. A delegate from Iowa said, “I think we have to wait until for the man himself.”

That promised excitement never came. After McCain’s speech, delegates used words like “sober” and “on message” to describe the proceedings. Even the ultra-conservative blog Powerline called the talk, “a little flat and unstructured.” Words like “personal responsibility” garnered huge applause at the Ron Paul rally yesterday, but the Republicans tonight couldn’t get quite as excited.

Many in the crowd tried to interject some enthusiasm to the speech. One man behind me yelled “Wooo, John” after nearly every applause line. When McCain mentioned Senator Obama, one person in the crowd started to boo, anticipating a harsh attack. Senator McCain, however, wouldn’t oblige.

The only real excitement came when two separate groups of protesters were dragged out of the hall. The crowd tried to chant down the protesters by yelling, “U.S.A., U.S.A..” After the second group was subdued, Senator McCain pleaded with the crowd saying, “please don’t be diverted from the ground noise and the static.” That ended up being one of the biggest applause lines of the night.

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Republican National Convention, clickhere.

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