Mad Johnny on Wednesday night. Her spot-on delivery of a comprehensive speech wrapped up the rabid right. Not only did she bring some life into the Xcel Center (which, to that point, had carried the pall of a crypt), but she delivered a speech that accomplished all the goals that had been set for her: she introduced herself to the country, roused the fake patriots, and seemed to show a better-than-expected grasp of policy.
Of course, the speech was largely "canned," in the sense that it was written by Republican speechwriters before McCain had selected a running mate. Nonetheless, her delivery was excellent and few can doubt that the speech was a success. Hats off to her.
It was a given that, at some point, Republican nastiness would rear its ugly head. And last night was the night.
It seems that the McCain campaign is now banking on evangelicals to carry the day for it in November. Spineless Mitt Romney and fanatic Christian warrior Mike Huckabee spit out some bile early causing a stir in the zombie-like crowd. Then, just prior to Palin's speech, vampiric Rudy Giuliani spewed out the time-tested appeals to fear with talk about "Islamic extremism" and "evil." He had them roaring and chanting.
Governor Palin herself showed that she has teeth, delivering some biting lines about Obama and likening herself to a pit bull. By the time she finished delivering her low-brow cynicism and sneering throw-away lines the crowd was ravenous.
It's the old Karl Rove methodology and it is designed to evoke hatred toward some vast horde of enemies. Enemies which include not only "terrorists," but "liberals," "elitists," and "the left-wing media."
That strategy, the strategy of dividing the voting public through fear and hatred and then relying on a narrow electoral victory, has definitely worked in the past. But its success this time around seems less likely. The Republican brand is badly damaged by the stink of the Bush administration. And although McCain, with his pick of this well-spoken former beauty queen, the epitome of so-called "conservative" values, has finally and completely won over the right-wing religious zealots of the nation, it seems a little late in the game to be nailing down the base.
Thursday night Mad Johnny delivers his pitch to the nation. One wonders if he can scale the peaks that Sarah Palin has set for him.