Thoughts as we head into a Labor Day weekend juxtaposed between the two national political conventions:
1. If there’s one thing that stands out from the GOP convention for me, it was how boring most of the Republican goverors (and former governors) speeches were. They may indeed be good (or were good) at running their states, but the speeches given by Ohio’s John Kasich (whom I’ve always liked), Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, Florida’s Jeb Bush, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, and Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee were real snoozers. And maybe that’s a good thing: give me someone who can run a state effectively and efficiently over someone who spouts fancy phrases and talks pretty any day. Haven’t we seen the alternative in the White House to drive that point home?
2. The future of the GOP is very bright indeed – you look at folk like Walker, McDonnell, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Mia Love, Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Allen West and others, I’m pretty stoked about the future of the GOP and conservatism in general. Compare those young and charismatic leaders with the line-up the Democrats have prepared for Charlotte and the difference is pretty striking – I mean, old war horses like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Harry Reid (whose Senate still hasn’t passed a budget in three years), Nancy Pelosi (who was so successful as Speaker of the House that her party got smashed in the 2010 midterms). Sure they’ll have rabid feminists like Elizabeth Warren (in the midst of a campaign shrouded in scandal) and Sandra Fluke (a college student who expects taxpayers to subsidize both her birth control and the abortions that result if she forgets a day), but I don’t see a lot of carving out a message geared towards independents. They’re obviously in desperate need to charge up their base.
3. Which brings me to this: I’m going out on a limb here and make a fearless prediction: by the end of the Democratic convention Hillary Clinton will be Obama’s VP on the ticket. I don’t buy that she’s planning on being overseas; they’ll come up some sob emergency involving poor Joe Biden. Why? I have little doubt they’re freaking out in the White House over the internal polls and need Hillary to carry them over the goal line. Watch for the Dems planned “surprise” to be hubby Bill introducing her on Wednesday night. It ought to be quite the spectacle, and a game-changer in the 2012 elections.
4. I watched Clint Eastwood’s remarks last night, and the only problem I have with his bit was that it could (and should) have been done a night earlier. The planners did a great job laying the groundwork for presenting Mitt Romney’s past, and then, rather than ramp it into the stratosphere with Marco Rubio, they stick Clint right in the middle of that. His eleven minutes were like watching one of the Flying Wallendas over Niagra Falls – you didn’t know where on earth he was going – but the lines he used to jab at the Obama administration drew blood. You can tell because: a) the YouTube videos of his presentation going beyond viral, with over 1 million views already, and b) all the howling and hand-wringing of the liberal left afterwards. Like the old bomber pilots in WW II used to say: the closer to target, the thicker the flak.
5. I’m with Larry Kudlow on Mitt Romney’s speech. I liked it enough and think he did what he felt he needed to do, which was, shred the meme that the Obama campaign spent July and August (and millions of $s) doing, that Romney was a bloodthirtsy, non-human bean counter / corporate vampire, but he’s going to have to lay out an economic plan with specifics before the October debates. It’s not enough to critique the Obama presidency and say you’re going to take the country on a different track – this time around, voters are going to be wanting, and expecting, specifics. If it’s a battle of personalities, Obama wins. That’s what the Democrats are hoping for, because that’s all they’ve got left in the tank. Liberalism as an concept and movement may be dying a slow death, but Obama has enough believers to make the sale for his own re-election if Romney can’t put forth and alternative that goes beyond slogans and competing concepts.