Frankly, I don't get it. The rhetoric hasn't changed -- not even a little bit. Okay, it worked for them in 2000 and 2004, sort of -- if you believe they actually won rather than stole those elections -- but a rational person might ask if using rhetoric associated with eight years of failure is, well, rational.
Mitt Romney took the "liberal as boogieman" rhetoric to what may be a new extreme. It played very well with the convention delegates, of course. The main qualification for representatives to the Republican convention, it seems, is extremism. Mike Huckabee, as we have come to expect, spoke of a choice between good and evil (before rambling off into a story about veterans and school desks.)
Mind you, those were the speeches scheduled before the network coverage began.
Rudy Guiliani, on the other hand, was a lot more effective, and even managed to go close to ten minutes without mentioning 9/11. He was especially effective when attacking Obama's inconsistencies, although the delegates seemed a bit confused when he criticized Obama's change from being against wiretapping to being for wiretapping. Nevertheless, it was one hell of a speech.
Sarah Palin did exactly what she had to do. She read her speech from the teleprompter without stepping on any lines. She and her family are attractive and well-scrubbed, and she delivered the requisite digs against Obama, Washington, and the national media with a brilliant smile. Surprisingly, I heard very little that sounded like a direct appeal to women -- probably a good choice on the part of her speechwriters. Everybody assumes the choice of Palin was a calculated effort to peel away some of the women's vote from the Democrats, so a bit of understatement was in order.