On the final day of the 2008 Republican National Convention, it was John McCain’s turn at the podium. McCain was in the unenviable position of following Sarah Palin, the lipstick-wearing "hockey mom" who turned the mother out.
Palin tore the roof off the Excel Energy Center, as well as the television ratings. According to Nielsen, 37.2 million viewers tuned in to watch her speech. That was just 1.1 million shy of the record-breaking audience for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. Palin was a ratings hit even though her speech was carried on only six networks (BET, TV One, Univision and Telemundo bailed out).
While McCain's policy proposals are GOP perennials, e.g., tax and budget cuts, strong defense, free trade, school vouchers, etc., he said he would be good for hard-pressed Americans:
These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that’s just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future.
McCain vowed to end partisan rancor, but he couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Obama:
I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.
After telling his POW story for the umpteenth time, McCain ended on a crescendo note:
Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country…Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.
History will indeed be made on Election Day. In the meantime, McCain and Obama will "go at it" so buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.