Night Two

wasn’t bad but, for my money, it fell well short of night one. Of course it could just be me. I tend to like the more cerebral stuff. For all I know, Arnold and Mrs. Bush may have won the president more votes than McCain and Rudy G. In any case, here’s my quick take on what I saw:
Michael Steele — He was an impressive guy more than 15 years ago when he worked as a legal assistant at the law firm I was with. He’s a hell of a lot more impressive now. I was particularly moved by his tribute to his mother, who refused to accept public assstance as she single-handedly raised Steele and his sister who is now a doctor (and, if I’m not mistaken, was once married to Mike Tyson). Steele also borrowed my all time favorite convention speech device — Hubert Humphrey’s “but not Senator Goldwater” riff — and hammered John Kerry with it. (Example, nearly all Senators voted in 2002 for funding to support our troops in Iraq, “but not John Kerry”). Soon the audience was joining in. This one certainly beats “hope/help is on the way.”
Arnold — Terrific. Of the three members of the Power Line crew, I’ve been the least enthusiastic about Schwarzenegger. It may be time to rethink this. As politics and showmanship, the speech was splendid. But the speech also showed that, as Rocket Man told me before the convention, Arnold has important core values and beliefs in common with conservatives. Plus, you have to love a guy who is willing to admit that Richard Nixon inspired him to become a Republican. No girlie man would do that.
The Bush daughters — I hate to say it, but that’s as embarrassed as I can remember feeling in front of a television set. Five more minutes, and I might have become a swing voter. Again, this may just be me, but I kind of hope it’s not.
Laura Bush — She did well. I think she was at her most effective when she reminded us of the president’s record on domestic issues. From an electoral perspective, I wish she had spent more time on that area — we’ve already got 9/11 covered. On the other hand, the party’s strategists may believe that most viewers won’t have seen McCain and Giuliani. As I suggested earlier, Mrs. Bush’s speech probably was directed largely at an audience that does not include me, so I’m not really the one to evaluate its effectiveness.

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