The fourth night of the GOP convention was far from perfect. Like prior nights, it featured regular Americans paying tribute to President Trump and conservative policies. Like Scott, I thought Ann Dorn, widow of a murdered St. Louis police officer, was most impressive. The appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Mueller, parents of Kayla Mueller, who was murdered by ISIS on Barack Obama’s watch, was also powerful. On the whole, though, I didn’t think last night’s group was effective as prior evenings.
I also didn’t care much for Ivanka Trump, who focused on criminal justice “reform.” Tom Cotton was good, if awfully serious. But of course Trump’s acceptance speech was the one that mattered. It could, and should have been better.
Trump has a great story to tell, and he told it. At great length. It came across like a State of the Union speech, basically a laundry list with surprising little passion, given the subject matter. I don’t know how many viewers made it to the end; it should have been 20 minutes shorter, at least.
Trump is, of course, head and shoulders above Joe Biden. His stamina is legendary. But four years as president will age anyone, and when Trump goes on at the length he did last night, he gets tired. You could see it during the last 10 or 15 minutes of his speech. The other problem with a long speech is that the strong points get lost in the never-ending checklist.
Still, it was a good night, made better by the gorgeous fireworks display that followed Trump. Fireworks spelled out “Trump 2020” in the sky behind the Washington Monument, no doubt making liberal heads explode. The fireworks show was long, but could have been longer. When it finally ended, I thought the evening was over. But no! It concluded with a mini-concert by an Italian singer who stood on a White House balcony. He was very good, but the rationale for ending the convention with operatic song was unclear. If I had been there, I would have been saying, Let my people go.
In sum, I think President Trump got some benefit from the GOP convention. By all accounts, it outclassed the Democrats’ effort in style as well as substance. It will be interesting to see whether there is a bounce. If so, I expect it to be small.