From our seats way up near the rafters in Madison Square Garden, my daughter and I had a great view of the crowd's reactions to President Bush's acceptance speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
It was fascinating to watch the faithful as they hung on his every word ? to learn what motivated the crowd the most, and what moved them to their feet.
Certainly, his words of victory over Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and the president's expression of his resolve to protect the innocent and export freedom around the world were the high points for this crowd. And when the president spoke of protecting innocent unborn life, the crowd went wild and gave him a standing ovation. When he talked about the importance of protecting marriage from activist judges, they cheered and jumped to their feet once again in thunderous applause.
As he promised to give working men and women the ability to keep more of their hard-earned money by making tax cuts permanent, attendees were exuberant. And when he talked about creating an ownership society where people can pay less in Social Security taxes and instead use the money to build their own nest eggs for their future, the delegates' ovation was deafening.
The president and other speakers discussed many issues during convention week, but there was a commonality at the core of most of them: Protection of the innocent, freedom for mankind and justice for all.
These were not themes discussed from the podium at the Democrat convention in Boston a few weeks ago. Although family commitments kept me from attending the Democrats' convention this year (much to my disappointment ? I had the chance to attend both conventions four years ago), it was obvious that the focus of the Democrat and Republican candidates' speeches could not have been more different, especially those dealing with the topic of war.
Kerry called for a more "sensitive" war against terrorism, while Bush promised to hunt down the terrorists wherever they hide. While Kerry trashed the war against Saddam Hussein ? yet simultaneously made a show of his four months of service in Vietnam ? Bush forcefully pledged to honor the request of those brave firefighters on 9-11 who begged him to "do whatever it takes" to make sure the horror of that day is never repeated.