Each convention, I debate whether I want to be in the convention hall or watch on television, to see the speech as millions of Americans will see it. Last time around, I was in the hall for Sarah Palin’s speech, and was pretty darn glad I was — witnessing history.
Tonight it feels the same. What was really amazing is that Condi Rice came on earlier in the night and knocked the cover off the ball. Like everyone else, I figured her appearance in a fairly plum spot was sort of an extended tribute to the Bush years, the need for a foreign-policy speech, a high-profile African-American woman . . . nope. Completely misjudged this one. Condi Rice set off a round of Rice-for-veep talk earlier this year after she blew the doors off a gathering of Romney staff and donors in Utah. Now we see why. Fantastic vision, pitch-perfect tone, a grand portrait of the greatness of America and the challenges before it. Majestic stuff.
As fantastic as it was, I suspect in the backs of the minds of many Republicans was the thought, “Great . . . how does Paul Ryan go out and top that?”
If Paul Ryan didn’t top Rice’s masterpiece, he at least equaled it. This speech, and his warmth and sense of connection when delivering it, almost unnerved me. I started worrying that I was seeing what I wanted to see, that I was hyping a pretty good speech delivered pretty well in my own mind. Except my Twitter feed was exploding. The delegates were going nuts. And it just seemed to be getting better and better as it went on. Conversational, direct, funny, detailed . . . this was Reaganesque, guys. I was a kid when Reagan was president, so I got lulled into a false sense of what American presidents were — I thought they were all that good. This felt like that.
“College grads shouldn’t have to live out their 20s in childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters.”