James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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The GOP Convention: Lieberman & Thompson, Noonan & Murphy

Posted by James McPherson on September 3, 2008

Joe Lieberman and Fred Thompson gave pretty much the speeches I expected last night. Thompson offered a good recitation of John McCain’s warrior history, which, despite the fact that many of us have heard it so many times we’re starting to feel as if we were tortured ourselves, appealed to the Republican base.

Thompson actually was more fired up than usual, and did a good job last part of the speech of exciting the crowd by attacking Barack Obama. Unfortunately Lieberman killed the buzz only minutes later by pointing out that Democrats can’t solve the nation’s problems, but neither can his new buddies in the GOP solve the problems–it will take a bipartison effort.

Lieberman was right about that, of course, and bipartisanship would be a good thing for John McCain to stress tomorrow night, to appeal to the moderate Hillary Clinton voters that he hopes Sarah Palin will help draw. But last night should have been about generating excitement for the party. Lieberman couldn’t even excite people on either side eight years ago as the Democratic nominee, so last night’s GOP voters were bound to be an understandably tough audience–especially those who realize that he disagrees with them on most issues not involving the protection of Israel.

Having Lieberman speak at the convention was a good idea, but he should have been scheduled before Thompson. As Karl Rove said on Fox News last night (and I hate to agree with Rove, but do in this case) , the curiousity factor of pseudo-Dem Lieberman speaking to Republicans likely have drawn a larger television audience at the beginning of the hour during which most networks covered the convention.

Following the dry old-white-guy version of “Can’t we all just get along and vote for John?” with the more heated and inspirational rhetoric of Thompson also would have ended the night’s activities on a high note, leaving the talking heads and convention goers talking about that speech, and perhaps not going so quickly onto the heavy expectations for Palin tonight.

Tonight’s speech, of course, is likely the most important of the convention for the GOP, and it would have been tough enough without GOP analysts Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy trashing their own party’s VP pick (including this Noonan comment about the election: “It’s over“). See the video below.

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2 Responses to “The GOP Convention: Lieberman & Thompson, Noonan & Murphy”

  1. Mike Ingram said

    Please tell Liberman I have openings in my Public Speaking course. While I like the recent trend in inviting Dems who have seen the light to address the GOP convention, its better when they are capable speakers and have a tight message. Joe Libe is with us on national security issues but not on many others.

    As I’m typing on Thursday – perhaps Joe could bring Sam Brownback to my class too. Was there a more boring GOP speaking in MN this week? They have stuff to say – they just say it poorly.

  2. James McPherson said

    I was actually amazed last week at how poorly many nationally known Dems spoke, as well. I can see why the networks only cover an hour of it, but for those of us who sit through much more it can be excruciating.

    On the other hand, I thought the four people who mattered most–McCain, Palin, Obama and Biden–all gave pretty good speeches, and a few others (Giuliani, Thompson, both Clintons and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer) all gave addresses worthy of their respective roles and forums.

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