I respect McCain, I've always liked him, so I was very interested to hear what he had to say. And I do still like him. He's well-spoken, and reasonably moderate in his Republican views. But, he did say some things I had a bit of a problem with.
First, he said that one of the reasons that the terrorists are evil is because they are "disputing God's love for everyone". Again with the arrogant assumption that Christianity is the only right religion. And again, his speech revolved ENTIRELY around the war on terror and 9/11. NOTE TO THE REPUBLICANS: IT'S 2004 NOW. Things have happened in our country since then, you guys. There are other things to be concerned with too.
McCain also addressed our lack of international support in the war on Iraq. He said that since we have allied ourselves with other nations in their times of trouble, that we have a right to expect their support when we need them. I don't agree with that. I think that each country should do what it thinks is best, and if we're not getting a lot of popular support from the international community, maybe we should pay a little attention to that. Maybe we should consider what that might mean, instead of just steamrolling our agenda throughout the world.
I haven't seen Farenheit 9/11 so I can't talk about the content of the film, but I think it's interesting that McCain thought it appropriate to go after Michael Moore. I think this is another instance of the Republicans lowering themselves to directly address attacks against them. Especially in this case. Moore is in the film business, the entertainment industry. His film was a commentary. It's outside the realm of professional politics, and probably should have been ignored. To mention it is to recognize it, to validate it, to direct attention to it.
Unfortunately for McCain, the Republican crowd was so rowdy and rambunctious that they started up a chant right in the middle of the point McCain was trying to make about Moore and about the film, and his point lost a huge amount of its power because of that.
Side note: MAD PROPS to Michael Moore for having the ENORMOUS HAIRY GONADS to BE THERE at the RNC. Rock the fuck on.
I do think McCain did a decent job of bridging the party gap, of trying to reach out to the Democrats and at least say nice things about them. That's one of the things I like about him.
I have fewer comments on the content of McCain's speech itself than I did on Giuliani's speech, but McCain's speech has inspired a lot of general thoughts about the Republican platform.
I find it interesting that the Republicans are going to such lengths to defend the war in Iraq, with almost no mention of the war in Afghanistan. Maybe that's because there was no question about the validity of the Afghanistan war.
Look, I'm not saying that we should just sit down and take it when we take a punch in the sack like 9/11. Obviously we have to stand up and defend ourselves, and I believe we are right to hunt down and eliminate those responsible. I understood the reason for going after Afghanistan and the Taliban and Al Qaeda and all those types. That made sense to me. But the connection to Hussein and Iraq was dubious at best, and although Hussein probably did need to be removed, and although many of the Iraqi people probably do consder themselves "liberated", I think the pretenses under which that war was conducted were not solid. I think Bush could have possibly had even more support than he did by simply citing other reasons for Hussein's removal, as long as they could be verified.
At this point I feel like the war against terror is a war against a ghost. The Bush Administration hasn't shown me clearly enough who or what we're fighting against. It's like we're just fighting the shadow of 9/11. And if we're going after terrorism so hard, why aren't we focusing on Bin Laden?
There is another overall tone difference between these speeches and those of the Democrats - the Republicans are speaking like we are AT WAR, and the Democrats are just not sounding like that. Just an interesting observation.
It feels like this "obligation to spread freedom" is just being used as a cloak to disguise what is actually Imperialist expansion. I'm torn on that though. I mean, if a country is oppressed, whose obligation is it to remove the oppressor? Part of me feels like it's up to the citizens of that country. I mean, that's what we did, right? But it makes it difficult when the government controls the military and the people just don't have the strength to rise up against it. I don't know.