Saturday, September 01, 2012

Talk To The Chair

(Click on image to enlarge and then hasten back.)

David Horsey's run-down on the best and worst of the GOP convention was pretty even-handed, I thought, even though I disagree with him on a few key points. Here are a few of his points:

Oddest use of prime time: Clint Eastwood’s improvisation with an empty chair

They seemed to love it inside the hall, but the folks in charge of keeping the program on schedule were going nuts as Clint's nearly incomprehensible riff went on and on and on. Go ahead, make my nominee’s speech run late. ...

Most artful purveyor of mendacity: Paul Ryan

The vice-presidential nominee did a whiz-bang job in his speech. Afterward, numerous fact checkers pointed out the many misleading statements and false assertions peppered throughout Ryan’s script. But most convention speeches stretch the truth in order to bring the audience to a conclusion that makes the other guys look bad. Ryan was brazen but artfully skirted outright lies. ...

Worst bit of political timing: Holding the GOP convention the week before the Democratic convention

Any bounce coming from this well-presented three days of assaults on the Obama administration is likely to be quickly stifled when the Democrats seize the microphones next week.

Biggest winner: Mitt Romney

His convention managed to humanize him (great use of home movies in the video bio), plus his meandering speech had one sharp attack line that may resonate: “You know something’s wrong with the job [Obama’s] doing as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”

Now, I recognize that Horsey's comments have to do with the "low expectations" for the convention and that they also deal only with this convention, but I still have a few nits to pick.

First of all, Paul Ryan's speech attracted a lot of attention from the "fact checkers," much more than I would have expected from the mainstream media. He may not have outright lied, but he did make those "false assertions," which is a pretty euphemism for lying. And not only did the media run with that, so did the Democrats.

Second, and more importantly, Clint Eastwood's truly bizarre performance garnered far more attention on Friday than Mitt Romney's speech. That does not bode well for a presidential nominee. Whoever thought up the "mystery speaker" trick and then didn't thoroughly vet Eastwood and make it clear what was expected is probably out of a job right now, or at least should be.

That said, I admit that this was only a convention. Conventions rarely change anyone's mind or sway the undecided. The Democratic Convention will no doubt have the same rah-rah delegates, the same kinds of speakers, perhaps even the same kinds of gaffes. Fortunately, we won't have to wait too long before it too is over.

And that reminds me: I'm getting low on popcorn.



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