The Rhetoric of Change


It's hard to see through two weeks of political convention caused exhaustion to know if John McCain's big speech will have any appreciable and lasting impact on polls and votes come November.

His speech was as poorly delivered as possible and I know that I'm simply tired of his genuinely awe-inspiring war bio. It's a tremendous story, but also one that seems less and less connected to the current day, much less a leading indicator of what sort of president he'd be (reason's Matt Welch has done a fantastic job in McCain: The Myth of a Maverick and elsewhere of documenting the senator's actual legislative record, and it's not a pretty picture for those of us who care about individual liberty and freedom). McCain's speech had bits in it that I liked (hearing a presidential candidate talk up school choice, even if you don't believe the feds should be involved in education, is pretty good; it was good to hear a pol actually stand up for free trade too), but he really leaves me cold with the emphasis on service and communitarian-type ideals.

Conventions are horribly scripted and tedious events. Still, I'm actually interested in seeing the upcoming debates, both between Barack Obama and John McCain and between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. From a purely spectacular perspective, there are interesting and new characters in play and should make good viewing, especially if they ever get around to talking about policy rather than biography.