Friday, September 5, 2008

GOP Convention Wrap-Up

Some various additional thoughts about the events this week, in semi-chronological order:

-  Limiting George W. Bush to a short, taped address was just wrong. I know he’s quite unpopular, he’s made lots of policy mistakes, he's been less than a solid fiscal conservative, etc.  But still, he's a sitting two-term Republican President. He deserved a passing-the-torch-to-McCain speech, and such an address almost certainly wouldn't have resulted in any significant political harm to McCain.

As it was, the way the matter was handled was distinctly un-Republican.

-  After viewing Fred Thompson's speech on Tuesday I thought I had seen what was likely to be one of the best speeches of the convention. Now it's evident I was wrong in that prediction. But it was a good speech, and I'm glad that we got to see an appearance from Fired Up Fred Thompson, rather than I Can Barely Be Bothered Fred Thompson.

-  If McCain wins, he must find a spot in his administration for Michael Steele.  The GOP can't afford to have a talent like him out of the public eye.

"Drill. baby, drill!"

-  The good news for Mitt Romney: on Tuesday night he gave a pretty good address, with some crowd-rousing one-liners.  The bad news for Mitt Romney: he spoke right between Steele and Mike Huckabee, and in the hour before Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin.  That's what's called "overshadowed."

-  For all the great lines by Palin and Giuliani and the rest,  in my view Huckabee had the best one of the convention:

"I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich, I'm a Republican because I didn't want to stay poor waiting for the government to rescue me."

Huckabee has lots of flaws, but no major GOP politician makes points like that better.

- Speaking of Huckabee, this convention demonstrated exactly how important a good closing is to a political speech. Huckabee's lengthy and puzzling closing anecdote about earning desks (if you didn't see it, it's not worth your time to track it down or my time to explain it) turned a borderline excellent speech into a merely good one.  By contrast, McCain's close was the difference between a truly middling speech and one that was good enough for the occasion.

-  Covering Rudy's speech, NRO contributor Jim Geraghty posted the following comment from one of his readers:

"Nobody gives a good [blank] you speech like Rudy Giuliani."


-  Considering the hectic scheduling circumstances, it's hard to lay too much blame on the organizers, but the pre-McCain Thursday night speaker lineup was just horrible.  And Hurricane Gustav didn't have anything to do with those lousy bio videos.

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