Notes from the Floor

by Jay Nordlinger

Headwear is alive and well at conventions — funny hats. Seuss-like political hats.

In August — maybe particularly in Florida — John Boehner’s tan looks perfectly normal.

The people here: When they say the Pledge of Allegiance, they mean it. When they salute the flag, they really mean it. Such earnestness is sort of amazing to me.

The national anthem was sung by a group called Seven. (Wasn’t that a movie?) They sang it in C. (Usually in B flat.)

The invocation was done by a Mormon. An explicitly Christian prayer. Should a prayer, if you’re going to have just one, at an event like this, be ecumenical? I don’t know.

Lots of makeup on the ladies — Republican convention. I’ll let you know about the Democratic ladies next week.

During speeches, early on, before the big speeches, everyone’s milling around. No one’s paying attention. They’re gabbing and visiting and so on. This must be disconcerting to a speaker, trying to give his speech. Having his big moment.

Receptivity — the atmosphere in the hall — has a lot to do with a speech’s success. Last night, people were ready to respond to Paul Ryan. This was the vice-presidential speech. People were full of anticipation. They were ready to be wowed. It was a Moment, acknowledged by one and all.

Was Ryan’s speech better delivered than the ones that got no or little response? No, not necessarily. The conditions — the expectations — matter greatly.

Young Connie Mack noted that Americans brought home more Olympic medals from London than did the athletes of any other country — “even China.”

We’ve reached a pretty pass when we say, “Hey, we even did better than China!” Shouldn’t they be saying that of us?

You know what I mean? (I could pause to explain, but am rushing.)

Orrin Hatch absolutely loves to meet and mingle with people — sign of a fine politician, and a likable, sociable man. He’s apt to greet you with, “Come here, you rascal you!”

A man to get a kick out of. Splendid.

They showed a Reagan film. Compilation of his statements and so on. First of all, what a voice — what a voice. A superb instrument.

Denny Hastert: amiable, smaller than before. Still a wrestling coach, though.

Phyllis Schlafly: still beautiful.

Craig Romney, one of the nominee’s sons, made some remarks in Spanish. Reminded me of something: The most multilingual student body in America? BYU’s, so far as I know.

When I was in Salzburg the other week, a natty Euro snorted that Romney was “insular,” and knew nothing about the world. It’s not merely that people such as my Euro are ignorant. It’s that they don’t even want not to be.

Herman Cain: southern, courtly, fun — a rascal, no doubt.

The most moving speeches of the convention so far (to me)? The speeches by “ordinary people” whom Romney has helped, in the worst of circumstances.

A datum about Phyllis Schlafly: She attended her first convention in 1952.

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