Here's what I see coming out of the Republican convention...a whole lot of media coverage of a party that is less intent on partying and bashing the opponent then on the welfare of the country. Right now they are urging the convention masses to donate to the Red Cross or other organizations supporting the relief to Gulf Coast victims.
A lot of folks are interested in reducing the severely partisan nature of Washington When these folks contrast and compare the self-sacrificing and tradition-breaking Republican convention with the self-indulgent, clearly partisan Democratic convention (along with the DNC's traditional 20th-century populist platform), their assessment of the party of "change" would not be the Democrats.
Having said that, I agree that this is a high-risk move on the part of the GOP. Traditionally, the convention serves to frame the opponent as the boogie monster sure to lead the nation to ruin. This has been a highly successful technique in the past, so the GOP's radical departure from tradition might easily backfire. Luckily, Obama's bounce from his convention dissipated quickly and the candidates are once again neck-to-neck. This reassures me that the GOP can survive a non-confrontational convention.