Both the offensive and defensive segments of his speech — as of this convention as a whole — strike us as a success. Romney’s remarks about his own agenda were sketchier but promising, and conservative. In the past Romney has described conservatism as a three-legged stool resting on free markets, moral truth, and national strength. He mentioned all three elements tonight: promising to protect the sanctity of life, to guard against unwise cuts to the defense budget, and above all to remove governmental impediments to economic growth. The economic policies he suggested — energy development, school choice, new trade agreements, spending restraint, reductions in taxes on business, regulatory simplification, and the replacement of Obamacare — impress us as sensible if incomplete. (We also need a monetary policy, for example, that reduces uncertainty rather than adds to it.) We would not be surprised if the president delivers a finer literary production in his speech next week. What he cannot talk away is a high unemployment rate, a legislative record most Americans dislike, and a philosophy they do not share. Last night may be remembered as when the Obama tide began to recede.