September 19th, 2008

New Tilley Hat

RNC: Total GOP Immersion

Balloons and confetti and on-screen fireworks after McCain's acceptance speech
Balloons and confetti and on-screen fireworks
after McCain's acceptance speech
Xcel Energy Center, Sept. 4, 20087CE

Greg Woodbridge, Delegate-At-Large from Oregon. On Wednesday, awaiting Sarah Palin's speech, we talk of "politics as usual" at the convention so far, offshore oil drilling and how he wanted to see the demonstrators but couldn't get out. (mp3 6:04)

Thursay, I had a Floor Pass, meaning my credentials let me in to the Inner Sanctum, the "bowl" of the hockey arena though not the actual delegate floor. I wandered up to the nosebleed section to find...

[Edited: Link fixed] Aaron Ferstman, YouTube Spokesperson, outside a booth where you could make and post instantly. (mp3, 2:45)

the best selling t-shirt at the RNC
The best selling t-shirt at the RNC
Xcel Energy Center, Sept. 4, 2008CE

My job, as reporter for KFAI News, was to buttonhole random people. I did that; the more random the better, though I sought out delegates. I had only one actual assignment, discussed beforehand: find the best selling t-shirt at the convention. The CivicFest had the equivalent of a Dealers Room, but the Xcel Center was more spread out, and hucksters were tucked into corners and byways. Amid the throngs of Republicans on their way to fancy spreads and private parties (not open to the public, even with credentials), I found one very busy table selling buttons and t-shirts. Thanks to Tristan Acker of St. Croix Promotions for taking a few minutes to talk to me and show the best seller. (mp3, 1:43)

At last, John McCain speaks. The climax of the convention. I was way up in the cheap seats, which afforded a good if distant view of the proceedings. 2nd wife Cindy came out and did an introduction, conservative Hollywood actor Fred Thompson did the narration, and the whole thing was notable for what was not said, and what was said that people interpreted differently than McCain meant. The movie of McCain's life was interesting, with his darling mother and quick comments about his admiral grandfather and father, and how he was a poor soldier until his fifth plane was shot down and he became a POW. As with George W. Bush, John McCain's story was one of transformation. As a POW he learned to be part of something larger than himself.

When McCain said "be part of something larger than himself", he meant (it was clear to me) service to his country. What the audience heard, and applauded when allusions to it came up, was religion. The speech was carefully crafted so that both could be inferred despite McCain's lackluster religious right record.

Then a gaping hole was never filled: After being released from the Vietcong prison, he came back to the US, was taken care of by his friends until he got physically better... then met and married Cindy, a beer heiress. An entire family was missing. A wife and three kids were never mentioned. George W. Bush was never mentioned by name (merely "the current president") nor George HW Bush (merely "the 41st president"). The only Bush mentioned by name in McCain's speech was Laura Bush. All the convention was like that: the only Bush anyone talked about (unless I prompted them) was Laura. The push for disaffected Hillary voters was strong.

McCain is not a great speechmaker, but he's okay when he needs to be, and he did okay this evening. As I did after Barack Obama's speech, I quickly buttonholed people as they left. (They stopped moving for the closing prayer, and we all paused respectfully.) I put all the short interviews together.

Post speech interviews late in the evening of Sept. 4, 2008CE: Victoria, a teenaged Republican intern from Florida; Fulton Sheen (grand-nephew of the reverend broadcaster), a state representative from Michigan; Lewis Nettrour, a guest of the California delegation though he is from Pittsburg; and outside the arena Tim Hugo, a member of the House of Delegates Fortieth District in Virginia. (mp3, 6:10)

Well, that's it for the RNC raw audio files. I've posted 40 interviews conducted over the four days of the convention, and this blog used some of the 478 pictures. Eventually, I'll have picture galleries and edit some of the interviews into podcasts.

And then the next day...