Tuesday evening

I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was missing from the first night of the Republican National Convention. The delegates on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center stood up multiple times, they displayed enthusiasm, the started chants of “USA. USA” in spontaneous bursts.

Then, it struck me as Fred Thompson delivered a host of red meat lines at Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. It was not the crowd but who was on stage. As forceful as Thompson was, delivering a speech that was better than any I heard when he was on the campaign trail, he doesn’t exactly deviate from the rich white guy stereotype.

The party is attempting to convey an image that it is best suited for carrying out reform, reaching back into the annals of American history by wrapping John McCain in the mantle of Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. The idea is that he and Sarah Palin will lead the party forward from the Bush years and the scandals that have plagued the GOP in Congress.

All through the night were speakers who offered testmonials of the times when McCain has challenged orthodoxy and stuck to his own principles — a new way of politics.

So it was curious why the Republicans would start out with Thompson and Joseph Lieberman in prime time, as well as Bush via satellite, if it is trying to convey a new image for their party. Why not more dynamic figures to kick things off like Florida Gov. Charlie Crist?

My guess this will only increase the enthusiasm and fascination for Palin when she speaks on Wednesday night. After all, who else do they have who can make the cover of Us?

Photo via The Daily Dish.