RNC Theme: McCain’s Tough. And, oh, a Maverick.

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Did you watch the first night of speeches at the Republican National Convention? President Bush made a fleeting appearance on a big screen. Fred Thompson needed a throat lozenge but did a decent job of emotionally delivering the story of John McCain’s POW years and got in a few good shots across the Obama/Biden bow. And Joe Lieberman told us Barack Obama had no record of consensus building (true, in regards to the U.S. senate) but didn’t ever tell us on what issues a President McCain would build consensus.

In fact, we heard over and over that McCain is “his own man” and bucks the system but we were apparently just supposed to know on which issues McCain is a maverick. Maybe that’s for later.

But I have to agree with John Dickerson at Slate who called the night a “Bizarro GOP” for all the cheering and approval of McCain’s tendency to go against the GOP. The delegates seemed eager for change – even though that change would mean leaving behind the policies of the current Republican president.

If the first night sets the convention tone, then I suspect we’ll hear a lot about McCain’s toughness and willingness to go his own way. Hopefully we’ll actually hear how he plans to change things if elected. I know Obama is basically running on the cut-and-paste Democratic platform. As plodding as I find those positions, they are at least different than the cut-and-paste Republican platform McCain has generally pushed for most of the campaign. I’m hungry for some new ideas. Maybe Sarah Palin will surprise us tonight and not just talk about being a maverick but actually tell us what that will mean if we elect McCain/Palin.

We’ll see…