First I want to thank the people, particularly jenniker, who mentioned C-SPAN's unbiased coverage. That was and will be my network of choice for the rest of the convention.
My take on the speech... The first thing that I really had an opinion about was when Giuliani started making attacks on Kerry. In my opinion, it made the whole Republican party sound like a cornered animal lashing out. They sound like they already know they've lost. In addition, I lose respect for the party and for Giuliani for doing that. I don't remember seeing anything like that coming from the Democrats. The Democratic speeches made very subtle jabs at Republican policy, if you can even call them jabs, by simply highlighting the parts of their policy that conflict with the unpopular policy choices of the Bush administration. They said "We as Democrats want to do ______________." and that's all they said. Anyone who gives a damn about politics can then infer for themselves that what's just been said is in opposition to the Republican platform; the Democrats didn't have to lower themselves and spell it out. Whereas, Giuliani made very specific remarks about Kerry and his policy and voting decisions (citing lots of stuff that to me has no weight whatsoever because it's being related to me out of context). The Republicans are playing significantly dirtier than the Democrats at this point. It's like that on Bush's website and Kerry's website as well: Last time I checked (which was a couple weeks back, admittedly), Kerry's website had no mention of Bush anywhere on the front page, it just spoke about Kerry's policy. Bush's website on the other hand had no less than four pictures of Kerry on the front page, all with accompanying trash-talking. So, the Republicans lose points for that.
The next thing I noticed was how often Giuliani mentioned 9/11. We all know what a horrible event that was for the entire country, and we all know how the country came together and unified in support of the victims and in support of going after the bad guys responsible. Of course that stuff happened. We are America - we are a great nation. That's not really all that surprising. But it's kind of sad that the Republicans have to reach all the way back to a time three years ago to try to appeal to the undecided and democratic voters. Don't they have anything more recent to hang their hats on? Oh yeah, no. And mentioning 9/11 so many times just underlines that fact. I think Giuliani (and possibly the Republican party in general) is/are exploiting the whole event.
Another thing I noticed that really set the tone of this speech apart from those at the Democratic convention was the fact that in his speech, Giuliani tried to address many of the recent popular criticisms of Bush and his administration. It sounded like someone being accused of something trying to make excuses for what was done, which makes the accused sound guilty. The Democratic speeches on the other hand rose above the level of addressing criticisms that had been leveled against them and simply addressed policy and what they wanted to do with Kerry in the White House. Another example of the Democrats simply conducting themselves on a higher level, I feel. I mean, I have to give them some credit, obviously if there are concerns in the press and among the people about the Bush Administration they do need to be addressed, but I think it could have been handled more gracefully. Perhaps that simply falls to the wording Giuliani's speech writer(s) chose.
I also found it interesting and somewhat amusing that Giuliani actually recognized Bush's plummeting popularity and tried to make it sound "okay" by saying things like "we have a leader who sticks with the difficult decisions through times when public opinion shifts and changes, because he is making the RIGHT decisions". Like he was saying to the hard-core staunch Republicans, "It's okay, we know he's right even if a majority of Americans seem to disagree." Whatever. I thought this was a Democracy. Theoretically, anyway.
Giuliani also focused almost exclusively on war and terrorism. Most of the Bush-boosting talk was based on a foundation of "ridding the world of terrorism" and what a great thing it was that Hussein was removed from power and all that stuff. No mention of domestic policy. No mention of taxes, jobs, poverty, or health care. Now I'm not going to say that terrorism has absolutely nothing to do with me, but you know, I live in flyover country and the odds of terrorism hitting me close to home are really pretty slim. Okay, there was the Oklahoma City bombing which is like three hours from here. The odds of *foreign-supported* terrorism hitting close to home seem slim to me at this point. And yes, the economy sagging as a result of 9/11 affects me, but it's not like anyone's going to fly a plane into downtown Wichita. (There's nothing worth crashing into anyway.) Point is, the Republicans seemed less concerned about things that would affect *me* and more concerned with their Imperialist march across the Middle East. (Okay, I'm exaggerating... a little.)
In fact, Giuliani talked about how it's our "responsibility" to spread freedom to all countries in the world. Like it's our job to see to it that everyone has a Democratic government. Yes, Democracy works and people who live under Democratic governments enjoy it, but where do we get off? How is that our business? Isn't it up to the citizens of other countries to rise up if they want a revolution? Why is it our job to start a revolutionary war, or to bypass it altogether and control every government in the world? That's kind of scary. You know what that reminded me of? It reminded me of church. It reminded me of missionaries. It reminded me of how the Christians seem to think it's their business to go around the world converting everyone from their uncivilized, primitive religions to Christianity. That's not freedom.
Two more side notes. One, the backdrop behind Giuliani was not pleasing to the eye on the closeup shots that most of the speech consisted of. The Democrats did a much better job of that. The Republican backdrop was some small unidentifiable chunk of something bigger, and it was PIXELLATED. Bad form.
The other note is that after his speech (and a VIDEO of Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York" because evidently no artists who are STILL ALIVE wanted to be associated with this whole thing), they had a benediction. A BENEDICTION. That's a PRAYER, for those of you wondering. They practically turned the convention into a Church service. BAD IDEA! How is that at all reflective of a separation of Church and State? Also, how arrogant is it to assume that because everyone there is a Republican, they are also Christian? Sure, the prayer was somewhat non-denominational, but what about Buddhists? What about Taoists? Hindus? Muslims? Oh yeah, no Muslims allowed. I guess if you belong to any of those groups, you're not allowed to be a Republican. Nice.