Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012 Republican Convention - Night 2


I loved Paul Ryan's acceptance speech.





Loved, loved, loved it...

  • I presume that the MSNBC viewers - both of them - saw a black woman speak at the Republican convention yesterday, when Condoleezza Rice addressed the convention in the 10:00 hour.  I hope that the cognitive dissonance wasn't too painful.
  • Of course, she was probably presented to them as a token, whose presence proved the Republicans' racism.
  • Condi was pretty good, too.  I particularly loved this part:
    And on a personal note: A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America. Her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be President of the United States. And she becomes the Secretary of State.
  • And she was followed to the stage by Susana Martinez.  Who gave every evidence, unfortunately, of being a token, as the entire premise behind her presence seemed to be, "hey, here's a Latino, Republican Woman."  She gave a good speech, she has a compelling story, but she overshadowed (well, not just she - they introduced her that way, too) her own story by limiting it to a "overcoming racism in America" paint-by-number presentation of her accomplishments.
  • I don't want to understate either the speech, which was very good, or the personal story, which is quite compelling.  The tokenism grates on me.
  • I saw almost nothing before the last hour.  I did catch the last few minutes of Mike Huckabee, and, as with Santorum the night before, wanted him off the screen.
  • I've already said that I loved Paul Ryan's speech.  If you didn't watch it, you should.  Or at least read it.  He was outstanding.  Some of the great lines that jumped out at me last night:
    I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power. They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left. With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that.
    ...
    The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal. What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.
    ...
    President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners? Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?
    ...
    He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.
    Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.
    So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing. In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.
    They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.
    ...
    Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.
    ...
    College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.
    None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.
    Just a great speech.  
  • There's always a risk, when going negative, that you'll go too far and have it backfire, as the voters react to the perceived "nastiness" of the attack.  When you can go negative in a positive way, as Ryan did, it's very effective.  While the Democrats are attempting to demonize Romney and Ryan, the Republicans are playing the "sorry it hasn't worked out, more in sorrow than in anger" kind of negative that doesn't fall into nasty territory.
  • Of course, the playing field largely dictates the game.  If everything that Obama has done had worked - hell, if anything Obama has done had worked - the campaigns would look very different.  Both of them.  The facts are compelling the Democrats to remain "so silent about their record." 
  • This is the second consecutive Republican National Convention where the VP candidate has provide a home-run speech, and seriously increased the energy level in the room and among the base.


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