McCain, in my opinion, hit a home run last night. Yes, he is a little stiff when it comes to public speaking, but his speech was awesome. You can get a full transcript here in case you missed it last night. McCain's speech hammered home the fact that we will not back away from the war on terror as long President Bush remains in office. The best part of the speech was the major dig McCain got in on Michael Moore.
Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.
And certainly not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves.
This part of the speech led to a loud chorus of boos directed toward Moore, who was in the audience. Here is his response to the boos:
Asked about McCain's remarks, Moore said, "I can't believe they're dumb enough to bring up the film and help its box office."
Guiliani also gave a great speech. A little long and rambling at times, but the meat was what counted. He ripped John Kerry's record while recounting tales of the President's resolve and ability to connect with all of us as Americans in the wake of 9/11.
In choosing a President, we really don't choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal.
We choose a leader.
And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.
There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.
Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly.
Ronald Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as "the evil empire" while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ronald Reagan's intelligence.
President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is.
John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision.
This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry.
I respect him for his service to our nation.
But it is important to see the contrast in approach between the two men;
President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts, and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often even on important issues.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.
Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.
And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.
He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.
My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas - - one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.
Yes, people in public office at times do change their minds, I've done that, or they realize they are wrong or circumstances change.
But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception. In October, 2003, he told an Arab-American Institute in Detroit that a security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories was a "barrier to peace."
A few months later, he took exactly the opposite position. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post he said, "Israel's security fence is a legitimate act of self defense."
The contrasts are dramatic. They involve very different views of how to deal with terrorism.
Make sure you check out the real pundits coverage of the RNC. Hugh Hewitt, Powerline, and Captain's Quarters are at the convention, and have great opinion and coverage. The old media is on the way out and the new media will stand in it's place to give us the news and opinion we want and need. Make sure you check Lileks, too.
On tap tonight at the convention tonight is Laura Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.