The best and most effective speeches at the Republican convention so far have been the ones that have departed the most from a simple-minded partisanship. Neither Condoleezza Rice nor Paul Ryan pulled any punches last night, but they also did not pretend that all of our problems are the result of Barack Obama. Both of them were willing to speak in full paragraphs, not the click-click-thuds of too many of the formulaic convention speakers who came before them.
Ryan hit all the right notes: acknowledging both the appeal Obama possessed in 2008 and the disappointment that has succeeded it; pointing out that while Obama inherited a difficult economy, he has had enough time to accrue responsibility for it; assailing the crony capitalism that he has practiced; defining the philosophical difference between the parties’ views on freedom; reminding Americans what they dislike about Obamacare; and, perhaps above all, holding out the promise of better times to come.
The Democrats seem to us to be flailing in response, essentially accusing the Republicans of failing to respect prevailing media sensibilities. It is simply the case that Republican presidential campaigns that appear to have the potential to succeed will be attacked in the press as dishonest, demagogic, and racially insensitive or worse — especially when they are seeking to dethrone a black liberal Democrat. Republicans have seemed admirably indifferent to these absurd charges. Expect them to rise in volume if the Republicans take a lead in the polls.