The Corner

Bush At Rnc

I was down in Washington yesterday and saw Bush speak at the RNC “Gala.” He gave a ringing campaign speech that lasted about 30 minutes. This may seem a banal observation, but I was struck at just how conservative his speech was. It was all tax cuts and war. His compassionate conservative riff was relegated to a small bit at the end (Ramesh wrote a cover story about this a few issues ago appropriate called “The Death of Compassionate Conservatism”). Bush seemed fully engaged. He seemed to genuinely enjoy his own anti-Kerry jokes and appeared to get teary-eyed when defending his decision to go to war in Iraq. There is no doubt that he is up for this campaign, in contrast to his dad in 1992 and to himself at times in 2000. One disturbing thing was that almost all the speech was backwards-looking, defending things that he has done rather than talking about what he will do going forward. At this rate, if he wins a second term, it might well be a listless one. In the meantime, he is working up quite a campaign stump stem-winder.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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