5:38 Central Time: Just setting up the post, so you'll know I'm going to do this again. Don't expect much for another 2 hours.
6:44: I just recorded a new Bloggingheads, with lots of talk about the convention. Now, I have the time to watch some things. Pawlenty is coming up in the next hour. Brownback. Hmmm.
7:07: Barack Obama gives a good speech, but the best sermons are lived, says Tim Pawlenty. He's trying to get the chant going: "John McCain put our country first." That was a little cheesy. Ah, but it didn't last long.
7:24: Brownback calls McCain "a history maker and a history breaker." That sounds like a line for the Steve Carrell character on "The Office."
8:01: Lindsey Graham says that everyone knows the surge is working. "The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at MoveOn.org." Why? Because the Obama campaign is built on losing in Iraq, Graham says. McCain pushed for the surge, pushed against Republicans. It was unpopular. "Some said it was political suicide." John McCain "stopped the Democratic Party from losing this war." Strong stuff. Excellently delivered.
8:10: A little film about Sarah Palin. Co-maverick. "When Alaska's maverick joined America's maverick, the world shook." Some lovely pictures of people and landscapes. I especially enjoyed the shot of shelves of cut up fish meat to illustrate "hard work."
8:23: "It's not about talking pretty; it's about talking straight," says Tom Ridge, putting a lot of effort into sounding tough. "Let's call this maverick forward."
8:35: A nice film about Cindy McCain. Good works. Loving mom. And.... drift racing!
8:43: Cindy is speaking. She says we feel Abraham Lincoln's hand tapping us on the shoulder, then pauses, and it takes way too long for the crowd to pick up the applause cue. She makes a nice contrast -- a good liberal/conservative contrast -- between being concerned about what people in other countries will think and being concerned about what our forefathers would think.
9:02: "Obama to Dispatch Female Surrogates" -- NYT headline.
9:04: Excellent film presentation of the story of John McCain. Most notable is the idea that he survived the Forrestal fire because there was a plan -- God isn't named outright -- for him to do something more. Nice but intimidating contributions from Mother McCain.
9:17: McCain's speech. It feels rote sometimes and has an actorly passion sometimes. "I hate war," woke me from one of my dozes. "I've never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn't thank God for the privilege.... I was blessed by misfortune." The speech felt very long and had its ups and downs. After many diverse phrases, he got it together over the idea of service and the slogan "Country First." He spoke clearly and well about his early life, as a cocky selfish man, and his transition to a man in love with his country. Now, I'm watching the final waving, with the family and Sarah Palin. Where are the balloons? I obsess over the balloons. What if they never fall? Obviously, there is a huge balloon snafu. Finally, balloons. Why were balloons important? Ah, why is a speech important? The big idea is John McCain's life, and somewhere along the way tonight that point was made. It was made over and over. It's now for us to decide if we want this man to lead us for the next 4 years.