Last night was probably the most wretching, repulsive, offensive, nasty bits of political speechifying I have ever seen. Depressing in its gleefully sarcastic ridicule, I will never forget just how.... evil the tactics of both Giuliani and Palin turned out to be. It wasn't just the fear-mongering, which we have come to expect from Rudy, it was the belittling disdain for Obama and everyone who supports him. It was Bushian high school peer pressure tactics on steroids, trying to paint anyone still making up their mind that choosing Obama would be not just the wrong choice but a laughable choice.
This is one of the primary reasons I could never be a Republican (the other being their awful policies): their politics is a repugnant, cynical bullying. Even when Dems are hitting hard, it's related to policy or relevant character questions. Last night was mostly just cruel sneer. Their campaign strategy is clear: shore up and energize the base (check), and initiate a renewed culture war, this time between Obama and small-town America. It's nothing to do with issues. It's teenage identity politics.
I'm afraid it's going to work, if only because it always seems to.
I can't link to her speech, or to Rudy's. If you missed them I just can't describe how dismissive and insulting they were. Maybe I usually skip the RNC, but like I said, I've never seen anything quite like it. It was not, in the least, civil. If you did see it, though, and want to know the Obama response, they've released a detailed rundown snapping back at, for starters, Palin's lies and deceptions.
One thing they left out is that not only did Palin ignore the economy (and foreign policy) in her speech, she also declined to even outline Senator McCain's plan for implementing the 25th Amendment, much less offer any details. The people are waiting, Senator! I assume we will hear his presidential succession plan this evening in his acceptance speech.
[UPDATE: I agree completely with Andrew Sullivan - who is becoming increasingly must-read, this election season anyway - here as to the low point of the night, during Giuliani's screed.]