Going into last night of the Republican National Convention, I was worried they might try to make an effective case to independent and moderate swing-state voters. Thankfully, they decided to replay the party's greatest hits of Republican hatchet attacks instead.
Mitt Romney, whose brain and hair apparently just jumped through time from 1968 to the present day, went on the attack against the elitist East Coast elite liberal media elites, the liberal Supreme Court (?!), and all the liberals who run Washington today (?!?!).
When Romney was done reviving the Spiro Agnew schtick, Rudy Guiliani decided to reach back even further for a vintage 1950 Joe McCarthy, sinisterly talking about how Obama went over to Europe -- gasp! -- and brought back some suspicious European ideas with him!
While I would've expected Romney to ooze insincerity (and secrete his own hair gel) and I would've expected Guiliani to bare his fangs like a C-list Bela Lugosi, I was a little surprised to see Vice Presidential Lottery Winner Sarah Palin continue to ramp up the attacks. If she'd played up the "hockey mom" act a little more, she might have appealed to suburban mothers across the country; instead, she decided to devote her time to shrill attacks and a long, long list of easily refuted lies about her Democratic opponents. Also, is it smart to keep mocking "community organizers" when they're the people who basically run the ground game in the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort? Way to make them kick it into high gear.
The media pundits are all swept up in the mood of the arena -- even nominally liberal Mika Brzyznski on MSNBC looks like she's going to stroke out from excitement this morning -- but I think they're misreading this. These speeches will doubtlessly fire up the Republican base, but I have to think they're going to alienate the hell out of independents and moderates. (And looking at the early focus group reports, that seems to be the case.)
It'll be interesting to see what Grandpa Simpson does tonight. I'm sure his speechwriters are seriously concerned about this issue, but there's also the matter of whether or not he can live up to the base's excitement after last night. My friends, I doubt it.