Short on Cause

Abraham Lincoln thought long and hard about the intersection of politics and principles. In his Temperance Address of 1842, he admonished his audience:

When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one.

I thought that Romney’s RNC speech last night was long on honey and short on cause. I therefore found it to be an anticlimax, the word that Charles Kesler uses to express his disappointment in last night’s proceedings.

Kesler holds that Romney “came across [last night] too often like a motivational speaker at a business seminar who is working a difficult and rather distracted audience.” Kesler posits that the speech seemed to have been born of the fear of losing the election. To the extent the speech reflected a generally conservative point of view, it was conservatism with the edges sanded off. I found it dispiriting.


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