CBC gets Obama

There are reports today that the CBC has secured a pre-visit interview from US President Barack Obama.  Congratulations to the team at the public broadcaster, for any network that’s what they call an exclusive in the biz.

These sorts of of coups are usually a combination of networking, of credibility and of audience, but to be serious, it’s mostly like anything else in politics, media or business; it’s the strong interpersonal contacts that one builds up that open most doors.

This reminds me of when I found myself at the intersection of US politics and the media.  Last year, during the election at which Obama would ultimately succeed, his GOP opponent John McCain took a history-making detour to Canada.  Never before had a major-party candidate for President visited our country during an election.

Since the event was political, and in Ottawa, the political flacks of this town registered through their centralized guild that is the Parliamentary Press Gallery.  Since the press conference would occur off of Parliament Hill and outside of the sphere of control of the Gallery, I called the press office of the McCain campaign.  Could a blogger get credentials for a press conference with a presidential candidate? Yes.

During McCain’s speech at the Chateau Laurier a producer from CBC spotted me and was puzzled by my media credentials and asked how I got credentialed.  I told them that I called the campaign and easily set it up.  The producer then explained that it had been very difficult for them to get a one-on-one interview with the GOP nominee and asked if I could make a call to set up an interview for the CBC.  Political capital is a real currency in both Washington and Ottawa.  Though I have some friends over at the public broadcaster, I wasn’t about to spend any capital on the CBC that day.

At the press conference, I asked a simple question to get McCain on record for his first foreign trip if he should become President.  I asked if it would be Canada, he cracked a joke but then mused seriously, “why not?”

This week President Obama will make that first foreign visit of the 44th Presidency.  In the tradition of Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Canada will be his first international destination.  And, as in most “gets” in news media, it does come down to who you can get on the phone.

My congratulations to the CBC for their good connections — already established and newly formed — into the Democratic Party, it will serve them well as they cover the Obama administration in Washington.  However, nobody was shocked when Fox News scored exclusives with the 43rd man to serve as POTUS during his two terms.

I wouldn’t be surprised if CTV and Canwest are now looking into the rights to such CBC favourites as “Fahrenheit 9/11“, “The World According to Bush“, and “The Unauthorized biography of Dick Cheney: Ascent to Power“.  It’s a pity that CBC’s invested capital in “The Arrow“, “Trudeau: The Man, The Myth, The Movie“, “Trudeau II: Maverick in the Making” and “The Fifth Estate: Mulroney” isn’t paying dividends in the domestic market.

FINALLY: Partisan bickering and CBC institutional teasing aside, the Obama interview is a great get and the people who set this up deserve a lot of credit.

The inauguration of the 44th President of the United States

I’ve been back in Ottawa for about 36 hours after making the trip to Washington DC to observe the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.  It goes without saying that the inauguration was a historic event as the United States turned a page on centuries of troubled history as the first African-American ascended to assume the highest office in the nation.  I write this blog to report on the news, to offer opinion, and to give an account of my experiences.  I’ve never been to a Presidential inauguration and I’d like to share some of my observations of those couple of days in DC.

After going through an unusually thorough screening with Homeland security, I boarded my Air Canada flight with a number of Canadians and Americans heading to Washington.  When traveling, one often see travelers reflecting, in a clichéd way, their departure point or arrival.  On a trip to Hawaii, for example, you might see an inordinate number of leis and cheap plastic “grass” skirts on fellow passengers, in Vegas, empty plastic souvenir ‘hurricane’ margarita cups.  On this trip to DC, a number of Canadians and Americans were decked out in the colours of the American flag.  Minister Peter Kent was on my flight, on his way to represent Canada in DC as minister of state for the Americas.

Landing in at Reagan national airport, I was immediately struck by the shops which had switched from generic Americana to 99% Obama merchandise.  One t-shirt I saw had a mock headline that read something along the lines of “Now is our time” with a photoshopped image of Obama’s head on Michael Jordan’s body going for a slam dunk from the top of the key wearing a Superman outfit.  I immediately became determined to find the most tacky and absurd Obama memorabilia during my trip and if this was a location as mainstream as the airport, I’d hold my greenbacks for the streets of DC.

I took the metro to the Capitol and after fighting the lines leaving the metro, I found the line that snaked around the buildings which held the congressional offices.  As I had a ticket set aside for me, I joined the queue.  After making my way inside and after having picked up my ticket, I crashed a mid-western pre-inaugural party in the congressional district.  It wouldn’t be the last party I crashed on my trip, but for the main event, I had my golden ticket.

Next up, I made my way over to a party held by the British mission in DC.  On the way, in Dupont Circle BDS-afflicted revellers were tossing shoes at an 30-foot tall inflated cartoon effigy of George W. Bush.  In 24 hours, what would these people have to do with themselves?  After the British party, I made my way over to Clarendon with some GOP friends to attend a leftwing netroots blogger party sponsored by big labour, netroots nation, blue state digital, and a host of well-read “progressive” blogs.  With drink tickets, guitar hero, and a live band, the festivities certainly had a hobbyist-gone-mainstream feel.  I met some very talented people working on social media the Obama side of the partisan divide.

Next day was inauguration day and the common wisdom was to show up at the metro as early as possible to make one’s way to the Capitol.  Despite my best efforts, I arrived to the metro station to find it packed with people.  Apparently, record ridership was recorded on the previous day with 600,000 people passing the DC metro gates.  It’s a bit harrowing standing on a platform packed 20 rows deep with anxious DC residents and inauguration tourists when one indeed has to “mind the gap” between a packed station and the tracks.  On the train, however, people were in good spirits despite the overcrowding.

I eventually made my way from the metro to the ticketed checkpoint area.  On my way, more Obama kitsch tempted me as spontaneous capitalists popped up everywhere to hawk everything from Barack Obama action figures to Michelle Obama t-shirts.  The ticketed area in front of the inaugural platform in front of the Capitol building had rows of seats for a few thousand people.  Looking back at the national mall towards the Washington monument, we could see millions of people.  On television, it was reported that 3-4 million people were packed in to see Obama take the oath of office.  Looking across the mall, when the motorcade drove up the street, it was a shimmering sea of red white and blue as people waved their flags.

Sitting and waiting for the ceremony to begin, I spotted New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg sitting a few rows ahead.  Bloomberg was considering a run at the presidency this cycle and would have contested as an independent versus Obama and McCain.  I made my way over to Bloomberg to say hello.  The mayor was a registered Republican, however would have run as an independent.  Some speculated that his run would have made him a viable candidate for a running mate to the Republican or Democratic nominee seeking the presidency through the independent swing vote.

The inauguration ceremony went off fairly well with only the Roberts/Obama oath blunder as the only notable exception.  Obama’s speech was adequate at best and I don’t think it met the oratorical expectations that people have expected; “ask not what your country can do for you”, Obama’s speech was not.  I believe that this presidency will be about managing and decreasing expectations that have been built up during the campaign.  After the wrap up of the inauguration, Obama made his way to the other side of the Capitol building to see President Bush and his wife off in a marine helicopter.  We saw the events on a big screen on our side of the building and a few seconds later saw the helicopter pass over the roof of the Capitol and over our heads.  Everyone waved at the helicopter, though while some gave a warm wave goodbye, others were not so friendly.  The helicopter passed over the national mall and Canadian embassy.  The embassy would be my next stop.

The Canadian embassy is located on some of the best real estate in DC.  The building is about a stone’s throw away from the Capitol and had a great view for guests of the Canadian ambassador.  Party guests at the embassy included former ambassador Frank McKenna, Jason Kenney, Peter Kent, Michael J. Fox, Newt Gingrich and… for some reason… er… Star Jones?

After taking a bit of a break from inauguration festivities, a few of us on the right headed over to David Frum’s to mark the launch of his new website New Majority.  While inaugural balls were going on elsewhere in the city, I had a couple of invites for the post-inaugural Google party.  The party was downtown by the Reagan Center and was the media/Washington insider gathering was well-attended by CNN, MSNBC, DNC and RNC people.

The inauguration of Barack Obama was about the closest thing I think I’ll see to a coronation.  To be sure, Obama was elected through the democratic process, however, the fanfare, ceremony, celebrity, commemorative-plate-esque atmosphere and the millions of people caught up in it was certainly something I don’t expect to see again.

Barack Obama inspired many, from Democrats in the primaries to electors during the campaign.  He was an incredible campaigner.  Now comes the hard part: he has to govern.  With a worsening economic crisis and an ill-advised and massive economic bailout coming, transformational is bound to become transactional and we’ll need more than hope to pay off the interest.

More photos (click any photo on this page to enlarge):


The Obamas wave to the crowd on the National Mall


Joe Biden is sworn in as VPOTUS


John Kerry imagines what might have been


At the inauguration of President Barack Obama


The inaugural band packs up below the inaugural platform


President Obama’s limosine drives by the Canadian embassy


As for Obama kitsch, this hand puppet was too good to pass up


What that Barack? You’re pro-death-penalty, pro-Afghan-mission, anti-same-sex-marriage, and for private healthcare?

Obama sets example for Canada

The election of Barack Obama is historic in many ways, most significantly in the progression along the troubled history of race in the United States. On Tuesday, Americans turned out in record numbers to give Obama a decisive win and vault the first African-American into the highest office in that country. The Obama team also set new records along the fundraising front and may indeed set a precedent for the financing of elections in the future.

According to opensecrets.org, a website on money in politics run by the Centre for Responsive Politics, Senator Obama raised $639 million during the 2008 Presidential election cycle with 91% of that sum coming from individual donations. Comparatively, Senator McCain raised $360 million, 54% coming from the same type; the majority of the dollars from each candidate’s campaign came from people making personal donations to their favourite candidate. A striking difference between campaigns was Obama’s refusal of public funding. The Illinois senator took $0 of public financing while his Republican counterpart from Arizona took over $84 million to make up 23% of his campaign’s spending power.

We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory. — President-elect Barack Obama, Chicago November 4th, 2008

In Canada, the Reform Party under Preston Manning started a tradition of passing the hat in church basements and legion halls during rallies, speeches or simple administrative meetings. A donation of $5, $20 or $100 was passed on to bring change to Ottawa. The tradition continues today under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, though in a much more sophisticated way and one that is buoyed by databases and telemarketing. Conservatives have historically raised an average individual donation of about $100 while Liberals used to depend on fewer but larger sums. Jean Chretien –perhaps to kneecap his long-coveting Prime Ministerial successor — changed the way election financing was done in Canada by banning corporate and union donations. Chretien replaced the private financing of political parties by special interests with public financing by government. For each vote that a party earns during an election, that party receives $1.75 per year from the federal treasury.

On the surface, this reconfiguration of campaign financing seems to rebalance the funding equation from powerful institutions to those that ought to have the first and last word in any democracy. Indeed, voters are empowered not only when they give campaigns their vote but also when they do so with the knowledge that instead of corporate or union backing, there is a small financial sum that comes with each ballot cast that sustains parties instead. However, while Chretien’s system solves one problem, it creates another.

In Quebec where a province defaults to the inert rather than the principled, a problem exists with Chretien’s model of campaign financing. The Bloc Quebecois, doing all it could to supress its core principle of sovereignty for that province, rather stood against — indeed, as a block to — Conservative ideas in the 2008 general election and against Liberal corruption in 2006. In the first half of this year, the Bloc raised just over $70,000 but received $1.5 million in public financing. Donations are a result of direct support whereas that larger windfall comes from standing against something rather than offering something better. The Bloc Quebecois would not exist if it had to rely upon direct non-governmental financing from supporters.

This summer, I met a member of the Obama campaign’s senior staff in New York City. Discussing the presidential campaign and some Canadian politics, I was told that the Liberal Party had approached the Obama campaign to attain some insight into their fundraising capacity and to create a similar system in Canada so that a large number of small donors could fill their campaign war chest. The staffer told me that after initial discussions, the Liberal Party never followed up in any significant way.

A tried-and-true election strategy for the Liberal Party has been to strike fear into the electorate about what a Conservative administration might mean for Canada. In the last election we were warned that a Conservative majority would allow Harper to finally implement his hidden agenda. Yet the Conservatives in power have not been innocent of taking this lower path either. Defining Stephane Dion as a weak leader and scaring the electorate as to what his “tax on everything” would mean to the economy took a negative track and suggested people vote against, rather than for the Conservatives. People are goaded out of fear to vote against and they often hold their nose for the not-as-offensive choice they end up “supporting”. Since money comes from support, we should break the model that rewards false support and strengthen one that challenges parties to offer ideas rather than fear. Government subsidization of political parties hurts Canadian politics.

The motto of Barack Obama’s campaign for President was “Yes We Can”. Under the current Canadian system, we give welfare to parties for being best able to convince Canadians of the other parties, “No They Can’t”. If we made politics about the positive (Yes), responsibility of self (We) and enablement (Can) rather than the negative (No), what one’s opponent would do (They) and a need to stop them (Can’t), perhaps we could reduce voter apathy both at the ballot box and when parties pass the hat. If we gave voters more power to finance those they support rather than sustain those they least detest we could shift Canadian politics for the better.

On Tuesday, American politics changed. It is time to end campaign welfare so that we can replace politics that scares with that which inspires.

Yes we can.

US Election 2008: Live results


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11:00pm: CNN declares Barack Obama President-elect
10:01pm: Democrats are +4 in the senate.
10:00pm: stephentaylor.ca decision desk calls the presidency for Obama, even before the California polls close and lucrative pharmaceutical ads run.
9:58pm: FNC projects TX, UT for McCain. Obama projected to win IA.
9:51pm: Why so slow on projecting Obama as President? It’s over.
9:46pm: CNN projects NM for Obama.
9:33pm: CNN projects OH for Obama.
9:22pm: CNN projects WV for McCain.
9:18pm: CNN projects McConnell (R-Sen) winning in KY.
9:11pm: Levin (D-Sen) wins MI.
9:10pm: CNN has better exit poll data than FNC.
9:09pm: Johnson (D-Sen) wins SD.
9:08pm: Inhofe (R-Sen) wins OK.
9:08pm: Barrasso (R-Sen) wins WY.
9:01pm: FNC projects ID KS, ND, WY for McCain.
9:00pm: FNC projects MI, MN, NY, NM, RI, WI for Obama.
9:00pm: Polls in central US close. CNN projects RI, NY, WI, MI, MN, NY for Obama, WY and ND for McCain.
8:56pm: CNN projects AL for McCain.
8:50pm: Obama at 71% in OH.
8:45pm: US House of Representative so far +1 for the Democrats.
8:42pm: Mark Pryor (D-Sen) wins AR.
8:30pm: FNC projects GA for McCain.
8:38pm: CNN late to the show and projects PA for Obama.
8:35pm: Frank Lautenberg (D-Sen) wins in NJ.
8:34pm: Susan Collins (R-Sen) wins in ME.
8:32pm: John Kerry (D-Sen) wins in MA.
8:32pm: Dick Durban (D-Sen) wins in IL.
8:31pm: Jay Rockefeller (D-Sen) wins in WV.
8:31pm: Lamar Alexander (R-Sen) wins in TN.
8:28pm: CNN calls NH for Obama.
8:17pm: Obama leads by 250k in FL with 30% reporting
8:16pm: Correction… Dole (R) loses in NC.
8:12pm: NBC, ABC call PA for Obama.
8:02pm: CNN describes african-americans as a stronger voting block for Obama than registered Democrats.
8:00pm: McCain gets OK and TN. Obama gets MN, DC, IL, MD, CT, DE, MA, and NJ.
8:00pm: CNN projects fresh round of states 8-2 Obama-McCain.
7:55pm: CNN calls SC for McCain (44%-55% Obama?!)
7:34pm: Dole (R) re-elected in NC.
7:32pm: FNC calls Daniels (R) re-elected in IN.
7:28pm: Georgia leads for McCain. He should take it. 1,650 votes reported with McCain at 71%. 2.41% MoE, 19/20 (if the sample was representative, which it is not!)
7:24pm: McCain will take IN.
7:17pm: McCain leads in FL 54-46.
7:14pm: Star Wars hologram on CNN. WTF? (CNN title: “CNN’s Jessica Yellin via Hollogram from Chicago”)
7:12pm: McCain leads in VA.
7:10pm: So far GOP (-1) in the Senate.
7:08pm: FNC calls Linsey Graham (R) for Senate in SC.
7:08pm: FNC calls Mark Warner (D) for Senate in VA.
7:07pm: FNC calls Vermont for Obama.
7:04pm: McCain leads Indiana. Indiana hasn’t gone Democrat since LBJ.
7pm: CNN calls Kentucky
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US Election 2008: Linkstream

Newer
Electoral College: Data from electoral-vote.com: Obama 353 | McCain 174 | Tied 11
Candidates vote: Palin, Obama, McCain, Biden
Electoral College: Prediction from fivethirtyeight.com: Obama 348.6 | McCain 189.4
Voting problems: Twitter Vote Report
Get out the vote: Voter turnout above 60% a safe bet?
Voter Intimidation: Black Panthers brandish nightstick outside of polling station in PA (FNC followup)
Get out the vote: Freebies a ploy to get out Democrats?: Bush/Cheney webmaster
Get out the vote: Free Starbucks, Free McDonalds, Free Krispy Kreme, Free Ben&Jerrys for voting
Older

Obama takes early lead

…and a very small lead at that. In the county of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire polls open on election day at midnight and close one minute later. This year, 21 eligable voters of the 75 person county showed up to cast their ballots and Obama leads with 15 votes to 6 for John McCain. Voter turnout for the county was 100%.

The county however usually has a Republican bias. The people of Dixville Notch picked Republicans in 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992, 1988, 1984, 1980, 1976, and 1972.

Of course, the county is not a representative sample but shows some early good news for Barack Obama.


View Larger Map

twitter releases govtweets.com clone

Today, twitter released its own version of a website I developed in the summer and launched about a month ago.

Twitter Election 2008, like its predecessor called govtweets.com that I coded, aggregates twitter mentions of John McCain, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in real-time as a constant stream of data updated using asynchronous javascript and xml (AJAX).

I contacted some of the folks at twitter about my idea on July 22 when I was developing the website. The release of their version of the idea today is nicely designed and I’m flattered that they’ve released it to a wider audience. When a big player like twitter validates your proof of concept, you say thanks! So a big thank you to twitter!

Of course, for your Canadian fix you can check out govtweets.ca. Twitter has yet to touch the Canadian election in an official way. I hope they do soon.

govtweets update

Both govtweets.com and govtweets.ca are humming along nicely as the websites track the real-time online conversation via twitter on the POTUS race and the Canadian federal election. Here are some stats I just compiled from the levels of activity on the both govtweets.ca and govtweets.com:

In the past 8 days on govtweets.ca, there have been 303 tweets about Stephen Harper, and 120 about Jack Layton and 92 about Stephane Dion.

Comparatively, in the last 8 days at govtweets.com, there have been 24838 tweets about “Palin”, 22869 tweets about “Obama”, 20671 tweets about “McCain” and 4051 about “Biden”.

Conclusions that we can draw from this are that McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for VP has generated much more chatter than Obama’s pick Joe Biden. Further, we can see that American politics is much more discussed globally than Canadian politics. But, I think we can also conclude that Canadians are still in the early stages of posting tweets.

And… for those of you who are wondering, I’ll be adding Elizabeth May to govtweets.ca soon.

John McCain’s party

Last night, I sat a few rows behind elected delegates on the floor at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul Minnesota where Senator John McCain accepted his party’s nomination for President of the United States.

In all, the night was somewhat less charged than the previous; the night that featured Governor Sarah Palin saw speeches from Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and the Alaskan Governor herself. Last night featured a handful of moderately important senators and governors, but the speech by Cindy McCain who would be first lady sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. It nearly put me to sleep. Mrs. McCain clutched the microphone tightly with both hands and read her speech awkwardly from teleprompters telling the audience about her warm feelings about her husband. McCain ran in 2000 and had an extended run, obviously in this primary season, yet Cindy McCain is still not ready for prime time.

John McCain’s speech was direct and outlined his case for President. His record of military service and sacrifice for country is incomparable, he says, to that of the “community organizer” from Chicago.

For some time, I was confused by the McCain campaign’s lack of ability, or want, to match Barack Obama’s brilliant and attention-gathering campaign. Why was McCain not responding directly with massive rallies, trans-Atlantic trips, and buzz-generating speeches? Was it a factor of the campaign’s failure to reach voters? Perhaps. But, I think that the McCain campaign may have had a strategy of letting Obama’s star burn bright while they would sustain and build their campaign reliably and with a moderate tone. Why would they do this? I think that John McCain’s campaign did this purposefully to allow the election to become a referendum on Obama. If Obama got more attention, the question would be “is this the change we’re looking for and do we take a chance on him”. The difference in experience between Obama and McCain is striking and therefore when the ballot question has been defined, McCain is able to step in to answer the specific question they intended to shape on Barack Obama.

In my opinion, the most effective lines from McCain’s speech were:

“I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

“I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.”

The speech ended using a method that caused a crescendo of applause for the Senator:

“I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.”

crowd rises to their feet and applauds.

“Fight with me.”

louder

“Fight with me.”

almost literally says “louder”

“Fight for what’s right for our country.”

“Fight” is an action word that evokes a call to action and a sense that McCain and the crowd are doing this together.

“Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.”

Each “fight for” line enunciates values important to Republicans and to those who can put McCain over the top in November and elect him President in November.

“Fight for our children’s future.”

“Fight for justice and opportunity for all.”

“Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.”

“Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America”

Fight, now stand up. Literally stand up. Cheering louder.

“Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.”

Elections are about engagement for participating in making a change that one can believe in. Each “stand up” emphasized with pause to get the crowd to get even louder and build excitement.

“Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”

Message of unity and common purpose in order to act together to elect McCain.

“Thank you, and God Bless you.”

Here are some of my photos from McCain’s speech last night:

Being a non-partisan international observer of the process was still quite exciting. Americans do these events and speeches like nobody else. Barack Obama addressed a stadium of 80,000 in Denver and both racked in millions of viewers. McCain, however, had a slight edge in TV viewership.

Meet the Palins

Last night I saw Sarah Palin accept her party’s nomination for Vice President of the United States. I was sitting a couple of rows behind the VIP stand and watched as Palin’s family, the subject of intense media scrutiny (both fair and unfair), were seated and as they watched their mother, wife and daughter make history as the first woman on the GOP Presidential ticket.

Governor Palin’s family faces a phalanx of cameras

A riser (top-left) focuses their attention and telephoto lenses on Palin’s family.  At the time, the Governor of Hawaii was speaking on stage making introductory remarks about Sarah Palin.  Nobody seemed to notice.

and from above

Governor Palin accepts her party’s nomination for VPOTUS.

Senator John McCain joins Governor Palin and her family on stage after her speech.  Presidential candidates do not usually appear in person at a convention until the final day, but Obama broke with the orthodoxy and it came as no surprise that McCain showed up last night.

Here is Palin’s speech.

From the convention floor, a few observations for those watching the speech on television:

– Michigan delegates wore hockey jerseys emblazoned with “RNC”.  They chanted “hockey mom” at Sarah Palin during the speech.  Palin recognized them and seemed to integrate it as a point in her speech.

– At one point Palin emphasized that regular folks will decide who becomes President of the United States and not the media elite.  A few in the crowd stated chanting “N-B-C” and much of the convention joined in.