Lincoln, Reagan and Cotton [with comment by Paul]

Tonight my wife and I attended Minnesota’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner. It was an impressive event, with a turnout of around 600. We went largely because Senator Tom Cotton was the keynote speaker. Regular readers are aware of the high esteem in which we hold Senator Cotton. He is, I think, one of the foremost leaders of his generation. He has as good a chance to be president as anyone. So I was interested to see how a few years in politics had sharpened his skills on the stump.

The answer is: a lot. He hit the Democrats hard, as is appropriate for this type of event, but always in his measured style. His delivery has slowed some, which is good, and he makes no visible reference to notes. His presence is commanding, particularly in one so young. And his conclusion, which contrasted his own experience as a member of the team that met the returning bodies of men who died in battle with Hillary Clinton’s post-Benghazi lies, was devastating.

My takeaway is that Cotton is ready to be on a national ticket, and should be on any Republican nominee’s list of potential running mates.

Norm Coleman also spoke. He has recently had a bout with cancer and received a warm reception. Rudy Boschwitz, the grand old man of Minnesota Republican politics, received a lifetime achievement award. Rudy is getting up in years, but has hardly lost a step.

Marco Rubio won the straw poll, with Jeb Bush bringing up the rear.

All around, it was a splendid evening, typical, I think, of the high level of energy that animates the Republican Party these days.

PAUL adds: I saw Sen. Cotton speak last week on the subject of the Senate’s lenient sentencing bill. My reaction was the same as John’s. I saw a major improvement in his delivery and commented on it to my wife that evening.

Substance, of course, has never been a concern.

Tom Cotton is more than ready for prime time.