On the final day of the RNC convention, a few things occurred to me (other than Republican Party being whiter than Walton's Mountain):
Although I didn't watch the whole thing (it almost put me to sleep), I found John McCain's speech to be sincere and touching, particularly, in that much of it (via a retelling of his POW days) had nothing to do with elections. Instead, it was a first-hand page out of history. And all politics aside, no one can ever say that McCain is not a true American hero.
However, by using the previous night to charge the masses via Sarah Palin's big debut, the RNC con ended on a comparatively quiet note. This provided an emotionally uneven feel to the week for Republicans. After all, in theory, it should be the presidential candidate who brings down the house, not his running mate. But after gorging on the fierce, "community organizers suck" tone set by Palin and Rudy Guliani the night before (which helped generate $10M in new donations for Obama in 24 hours), the emotional contrast via McCain's low-key address left GOP conventioneers in a rhetorical lull when they should have been more excited than ever.
Anyhow, here are the final lessons for John McCain this week: a) never let your running mate upstage you at your own party; b) when the economy is the top issue this election year, instead of platitudes, try sharing a detailed solution voters can refer to, and; c) when co-opting Obama's change mantra, recall that it's Republicans who've been in charge of DC for 20 or the past 28 years.
None of these realities inspire much zeal for McCain's candidacy, nor his party as a whole.
Nevertheless, the clock on the election's final 60 days is running. And Sarah Palin's got a learning curve the size of Mt. Fuji to tackle.