The GOP ID
Character. Conviction. Judgment. If you’re paying any attention at all to the Republican National Convention, you’ve heard these words repeated with practically every speech outside of the overriding themes for each evening. It is not by accident. Fred Thompson on Sept. 2 pointed out: “I’ve experienced John’s character firsthand. … We need a president who stands on principle.”
Plagued by scandals, overspending, an unpopular war and bruising losses during the 2006 midterm elections that led to two lost majorities, today’s Republican Party is in the middle of an identity crisis. Clawing its way through redefinition, Republicans may have found their redemption with the McCain-Palin ticket.
From refocusing on life to highlighting the importance of the judiciary and bashing the liberal establishment at every turn, a new energy has returned to the party of Lincoln. “Democrats present a history-making nominee for president — history-making in that he’s the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president,” Mr. Thompson said.
Of course, the question of experience has been bandied about on both sides, as it is an important and legitimate to ask. Yet, one would think Sarah Palin herself is the one running to be commander-in- chief, not John McCain. Of course, if something were to happen to a President McCain, she would need to step in. But we don’t know enough about her yet to deter- mine whether she could do just that. That is what her speech was about and what she and Mr. McCain will have to convince voters of on the campaign trail.
The presidential question for the Republican Party seems to have more to do with judgment based on character than experience. On Sept. 2, President Bush re- minded delegates and the public: “Last year, John McCain’s independence and character helped changed this country. The Democrats had taken control of Congress and were threatening to cut off funding for out troops. … He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. … Americans will look closely at the judgment, the experience and the policies of the candidates and they will cast their ballots for the McCainPalin ticket.”
The partisan rhetoric at the convention was flying — from the man without a party (Joe Lieberman) to Fred Thompson and Mrs. Palin. Refocusing on core principles is the priority; principles that until now have left the party faithful questioning Mr. McCain’s conservative credentials.
As a sign of what’s to come, was the video that rolled after Mr. Bush’s speech, where the narrator said Ronald Reagan’s presidency “replaced indecision” with “conviction politics.” For all the rhetoric during the convention and that which has yet to come, at the very least it can be said that the Grand Old Party is back in fighting form.