I don't get riled up often -- regular readers can, I hope, vouch from me on that one. I did, however, get just a bit over the top tonight (specifically, on twitter) when Paul Ryan delivered one of the most awful lies I've heard in a major convention speech. I'm calmer now, and if you want more of that I wrote up a (very watered down) version of my twitter reaction over at Greg's place.
But if you're looking for something more in the way of analysis...
Actually, I do have a point to make about the broadcast network hour. I missed the earlier speeches; sorry, I played hooky to get to (half) of my pick-up game tonight, so other than a bit of Rand Paul on the radio on the way there, and a bit of the Huck on the radio on the way back, I don't have anything, other than to marvel that "build that" wasn't just a one-night thing.
As for the broadcast hour. It featured Condi Rice, Susana Martinez, and of course Ryan. What I have to say definitely applies to the first two, and probably to Ryan as well, although to tell the truth I floated in and out of his speech after the deficit commission thing and I don't really have it in me to go back and read it all. Still. Rice kicked it off with what many of us imagined would be a foreign policy speech, but not so! Instead, it was a perfectly fine speech about the United States, it's strengths, it's challenges and to some extent how her life fit into that. Folks on twitter at least were extremely impressed; I thought it was fairly good, but nothing special. Then came Martinez, who talked a whole lot about herself, took a few shots at Obama, and, well, no policy there, either. As far as Ryan: he talked a fair deal about the deficit, and quite a bit about health care reform, but there was relatively little positive policy stuff there, too -- definitely some on budget, although it's all a bunch of vague generalities, but beyond that I didn't hear much ( I did think that the first extended part of Ryan's speech, in which he made the case that Obama had come in with the economy in terrible shape but had failed to fix it, was overall quite well done. I thought the ACA section that followed was much less likely to appeal to anyone but committed Republicans, and then he got to the deficit...).
Nor, from any of them, did I get much of a sense of why Mitt Romney in particular was particularly well-suited for the Oval Office. We get, as we got on day one, a repeated version of his resume -- business, Olympics, governor -- but that's about it, beyond some vague "good leader" stuff that could have been used for anyone from the Huck to Pawlenty to even Herman Cain.
Anyway: I talked yesterday about how then the party was on policy. But several have been arguing that they're also thin on building up Romney, and I think that's right. As I was watching Rice and Martinez, however, what hit me was that the real goal of having them out there -- and I think the goal of last night's broadcast hour also -- was more basic than that. The goal is just to make the Republican Party seem not scary. That's it. They have normal people, who recite normal, non-scary, cliches. If you're fed up with Obama, you don't have to worry that you'll get some sort of freak show.
And if that was the goal -- and it's a smart goal to set -- then I think they've done a pretty good job of achieving it from what I've watched.
Also, Paul Ryan really did tell a whole bunch of really blatant lies, and his reputation should take a major hit for it. Just didn't think I should leave off on this without making sure everyone gets that part.