Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

How High Was the Bar?

Featured image So how did Mitt Romney do tonight? I think it depends on how high the bar was. If he needed to deliver a virtuoso performance, it didn’t happen (that was last night). If he needed to portray himself as a decent, highly competent guy who would make a solid president, I think cleared that bar. I don’t believe he needed a virtuoso performance. Given Romney’s solid speech, Paul Ryan’s great »

Marco Rubio’s speech

Featured image He sounds flat to me. Is it because I’ve heard him many times before, including some of the same lines? Is it because I’ve listened to too many speeches this week? Or is Rubio simply coming up short? What do you think? JOHN adds: I thought he was great. I had heard a lot of it before too, but I thought he came across very well. I think most people »

Clint Eastwood’s speech, or whatever it is

Featured image Actually, I would have preferred it if the Republicans had not tried this stunt. Eastwood is combining some solid common sense and some pretty good humor, with some howlers and poor taste. My position on actors in politics is the same regardless of which party tries to use them. They shouldn’t have speaking parts at this high level. But right now, the real question is how Eastwood went over with »

Romney and the Olympics

Featured image Excellent testimonials from Olympic stars. Mike Eruzioni captain of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team does a nice job of praising Romney. But Derek Parra, a speed staking gold medalist from the 2002 games that Romney saved, is the show stopper, with his recollection of the opening ceremony in which he carried the tattered flag that had flown at the World Trade Center. That’s two powerful themes — the Olympics »

Romney and Massachusetts

Featured image Good testimony about Romney’s time as Massachusetts Governor from his former Lieutenant Governor and a former member of his cabinet. The first is female. The second is not only an African-American female, but a self-described liberal Democrat. She is talking about how authentic Romney is. It’s not a good sign when someone has to vouch for your authenticity, but if it has to be done, this woman isn’t a bad »

Romney and Bain

Featured image Now the Romney campaign is taking on the potential political problem posed by Bain Capital. And he’s doing it head-on. The head of Staples is testifying to Romney’s dedication to making that company the great success it became. He includes a nice reference to the importance Romney gave to providing day care for the children of Staples employees, at a time when this was not so common. However, the Staples »

Romney and religion

Featured image The Romney campaign is dealing with the potential political problem raised by his Mormon faith the same way he’s dealing with all other potential political problems this year — head-on. A friend and close associate from his church has described how hard Romney worked to help those in their parish. Now an elderly couple is recounting what Mitt Romney did to help bring joy and comfort to their young son »

Jeb Bush’s speech

Featured image Jeb Bush has paid brief tribute to his brother and has politely ripped President Obama for blaming his predecessor for the current woes. After nearly four years, says the former Florida governor, a real leader would accept responsibility for the failure of his policies. Now Bush has turned to his favorite issue — education, the soft underbelly of the Democrats’ fake claim that their Party puts people first. He’s making »

Newt Gingrich’s speech

Featured image Newt Gingrich and his wife are talking about Ronald Reagan’s legacy and how the Romney-Ryan program fits well within that legacy. They are also comparing Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter. In some ways, they are being unfair to Carter, whose domestic policy was not particularly radical. In any event, this presentation represents a good use of Gingrich. — probably his highest and best use for purposes of this convention. »

Is Elizabeth Warren Martha Coakley with a fake ethnicity?

“Elizabeth Warren was supposed to be the Great Liberal Hope, the one Democrat tough enough to evict Scott Brown from Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Then she started campaigning.” So begins a devastating critique of Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy that appeared in Boston Magazine. Shockingly, as the reader who alerted me to this article put it, the Harvard prof who lives in Cambridge isn’t connecting in the suburbs with middle class and »

“Yesterday’s wind,” and tomorrow’s

The great thing about Paul Ryan’s speech last night is that it worked at so many levels. As I tried to show in my initial post about the speech, it worked as an indictment of Obama administration policy, as deft support for Mitt Romney, and as traditional pulling of the heartstrings. And it worked at an additional level that I neglected to note — a portryal of Barack Obama as »

An “optimal” speech, and then some

Featured image When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, my initial take viewed Ryan as a “sub-optimal” choice. Time will tell whether this assessment proves correct. Thankfully, events to date suggest that I was wrong. The most notable such event, of course, was tonight’s brilliant speech to the convention, one of the best I can recall. I’ve long believed that the most persuasive arguments — be it in a »

Susana Martinez’s speech

Featured image I confess to wondering about the decision to give the New Mexico governor a plum speaking time on a big convention night, just in front of Paul Ryan. But then I had never really seen Susana Martinez in action. Now that I have, I wonder no more. The sky could be the limit for this rising star. »

Condi Rice’s speech

Featured image The stated question raised by former Secretary of State Rice’s speech tonight was: Where does America stand? But the real question was: Why should a moderate, including a moderate African-American, vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket? Rice answered the question thoughtfully, in the understated manner that we have come to expect from her. By the end, I believe she had knocked it out of the park. »

Mike Huckabee’s speech

Featured image Mike Huckabee is a political natural. I first became aware of this when my daughter, no social conservative, told me that of all the candidates who visited Dartmouth during the 2008 New Hampshire primary season, she was most impressed by Huckabee (no, she didn’t vote for him). Tonight, Huckabee got off to a weak start when he explained his support for his 2008 rival, Mitt Romney, by referring to their »

Rob Portman’s speech

Featured image Rob Portman reportedly was near the top of the VP short list. But for his important involvement in the Bush administration, he might have received the nod. Portman is known as a cerebral guy. But tonight he is demonstrating strong qualities on the stump as well. Portman has hammered home perhaps the single most telling indictment of President Obama — the fact that his budget failed to gain a single »

John McCain’s speech

Featured image He’s hammering Barack Obama on foreign policy. It may not advance the political ball, but needs to be done anyway. Plus McCain still appeals to some independents who may not be fans of Mitt Romney. McCain savaged Romney in 2008, so it’s helpful for him to stress, as he is doing repeatedly, that he trusts Romney to lead on foreign policy, an area in which the candidate has virtually no »