Friday, September 3, 2004

GOP convention maintains focus

Convention delegates confident of Bush?s re-election

For the Mountain Express

The Republican National Convention has floated smoothly through New York City?s often-rough liberal swells this week, managing to maintain a confident air of expectance in the re-election of President George W. Bush.

The convention focused on providing the necessary primetime stage for what has turned out to be the Bush administration?s regimented rebuttal to the Democratic presidential hopeful, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

Vice President Dick Cheney accepted the party?s nomination for re-election Wednesday night. Bush was scheduled to address the convention and accept its nomination Thursday night.

From the outset of the convention, Republican leaders made clear that their goal was to promote their platform and simply let that do the talking.

?The principle effort is to try and make sure that the focus is on those issues of primary concern,? said Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo. When it comes to gearing down to the raw, determining factors in the up-coming election--national security, economic responsibility and foreign policy--Bush supporters simply do not think Kerry can handle these immense national responsibilities, Crapo said.

The oftentimes volatile protests in Manhattan this week might indicate a popular feeling of dissent towards the current government, but convention delegates are confident these sentiments do not run in the majority.

?Bush is right in the mainstream of how most Americans think,? said David Alexander, a lawyer from Boise and guest to the Idaho delegation.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas suggested that the Democratic presidential campaign is resorting too often to the easy enough doctrine of Bush bashing rhetoric.

?We have to be a party of governance,? Roberts explained, ?Kerry cannot put forth a positive platform. He needs to campaign for the office as opposed to campaign against his opponent,? something con-servatives in Washington view as poor political strategy.

By moving away from anti-Kerry sentiment to focus mostly on platform specifics, the first two days of the convention tried hard to show the country the GOP?s fundamental resolve and ability to generate progress. The overwhelming sense at the convention has been a confident feeling of achievement, a cold, clear understanding of production,

In Madison Square Garden the Republicans rolled their stars out onto the convention hall floor to enumerate just how effectively Bush really does stand by his guns. On Monday night Arizona Sen. John McCain referred to the mission of the war in Iraq as ?necessary, achievable and noble.? Controversial former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani followed, detailing the president?s determination in dealing with the consequences of a post 9/11 America.

?My favorites have been Giuliani and (Californian Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger,? said Idaho delegate Karen McGee, a member of the state board of education and a resident of Pocatello. ?They talk about the American dream--that people can achieve, they can do anything they want to in this country?.

After these relatively diplomatic turns on the stump Cheney and Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller took initiative on Wednesday night to rekindle their hard-line, rampant attacks on Kerry, reversing the more objective trend the Republicans had begun to establish.

When Bush accepted his nomination Thursday, he was expected on domestic issues as well the war on terror.

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