Convention or conventional?

After my cataract surgery, I was told that reading might be hard, but that I should be able watch TV.  As if that was supposed to make me feel better!  So while convalescing I caught up on Netflix and then finally slipped back into my long-held tradition (or is it betrayal) of watching the political conventions.  (My custom, engrained into me from childhood, is that I should watch both of them.)  So last night I tuned into the GOP speeches.

Quick review, because I can’t see very well to type:  The speech by Ohio’s Rob Portman was not very good–he would have been a disaster as the vice presidential candidate, as he was widely expected to be.  Mike Huckabee did well.  Then Condoleeza Rice gave an outstanding seminar on our foreign policy woes.  Followed by New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, the Hispanic woman who acquitted herself well as a rising star in the Republican party.  Finally, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave an outstanding speech, showing strong promise as a campaigner, as well as an intellectual bright light.  (The vice presidential debate between him and Joe Biden should be especially fun.)

Are any of the rest of you watching the convention?  Or do you have to be laid up from an operation to do so?  What observations do you have?

Rudy Giuliani has said that Republicans have a better and deeper “bench” than the Democrats do.  Do you agree?  Who are the upcoming potential stars?   This will be a good thing to watch for in the Democratic convention also.  Who are the upcoming Democratic stars?  Are they centrists, leftists, or do they  have some new ideas?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve been watching, and it’s been a reminder of how conventions are exercises in extreme exaggeration: how the opposing party, alone, is at fault for all the nation’s woes; how bold and innocent the members of one’s own party have been the past four years. Lots of laughable moments in between the groan-inducing ones. I expect more of the same from Charlotte.

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve been watching, and it’s been a reminder of how conventions are exercises in extreme exaggeration: how the opposing party, alone, is at fault for all the nation’s woes; how bold and innocent the members of one’s own party have been the past four years. Lots of laughable moments in between the groan-inducing ones. I expect more of the same from Charlotte.

  • MarkB

    I have been watching both nights so far and I am impressed. Nolonger do I feel that I have to vote against Obama. I am totally onboard the Romney/Ryan train.
    And as to Tom Hering’s comment @1: I do believe that Ryan was very moderate in his speech and actually placed blame on both parties for getting into the problems we are in. But, he also very clearly stated that they, Romney and Ryan, will make the hard choices and attack the problems head on vs. the Obama administrations dithering and pandering.

    And I truly hope that the Democrats can produce some new ideas and new politicians, since there is always this swing from one side to the other in this country’s elections. Especially if Romney and Ryan actually do what they say they are going to do, because it will cause some consternation among many different groups in the US. It is my belief we need to do some things that will hurt now, since if we do not do that we will have a man made disaster on our hands shortly.

  • MarkB

    I have been watching both nights so far and I am impressed. Nolonger do I feel that I have to vote against Obama. I am totally onboard the Romney/Ryan train.
    And as to Tom Hering’s comment @1: I do believe that Ryan was very moderate in his speech and actually placed blame on both parties for getting into the problems we are in. But, he also very clearly stated that they, Romney and Ryan, will make the hard choices and attack the problems head on vs. the Obama administrations dithering and pandering.

    And I truly hope that the Democrats can produce some new ideas and new politicians, since there is always this swing from one side to the other in this country’s elections. Especially if Romney and Ryan actually do what they say they are going to do, because it will cause some consternation among many different groups in the US. It is my belief we need to do some things that will hurt now, since if we do not do that we will have a man made disaster on our hands shortly.

  • Anon

    The Romney people have said they’re not going to let facts get in the way of governing. That says it all.

    Paul Ryan’s speech was full of lies.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106730/ryan-most-dishonest-convention-speech-five-lies-gm-medicare-deficit-medicaid

  • Anon

    The Romney people have said they’re not going to let facts get in the way of governing. That says it all.

    Paul Ryan’s speech was full of lies.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106730/ryan-most-dishonest-convention-speech-five-lies-gm-medicare-deficit-medicaid

  • Anon
  • Anon
  • MarkB

    Anon @ 3 & 4: What you say is spin and not the truth. It is a good example of someone with an agenda trying to make it seem that what Ryan said was totally untrue, but what Ryan said is the truth. Go here if you want a different take on what Ryan said

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/08/30/obama_camp_melts_down_over_ryans_speech

  • MarkB

    Anon @ 3 & 4: What you say is spin and not the truth. It is a good example of someone with an agenda trying to make it seem that what Ryan said was totally untrue, but what Ryan said is the truth. Go here if you want a different take on what Ryan said

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/08/30/obama_camp_melts_down_over_ryans_speech

  • SKPeterson

    So, Anon, what you’re really saying is that we’re likely to get more of what we’ve had for the last 4 years no matter who wins come November. And we’ll get it good and hard.

  • SKPeterson

    So, Anon, what you’re really saying is that we’re likely to get more of what we’ve had for the last 4 years no matter who wins come November. And we’ll get it good and hard.

  • Tom Hering

    SK, don’t you mean the last 12 years? :-D One thing I find humorous about this convention is the total lack of any claims that Romney/Ryan will return us to the good years of the W administration. (George W. seems to have been airbrushed out of photos of the Soviet – er, Republican – pantheon.) Another thing is watching Ryan claim he and Romney will be the saviors of Medicare. Yes, Medicare – the greatest liberal achievement since the New Deal. My, how conservatism has changed. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    SK, don’t you mean the last 12 years? :-D One thing I find humorous about this convention is the total lack of any claims that Romney/Ryan will return us to the good years of the W administration. (George W. seems to have been airbrushed out of photos of the Soviet – er, Republican – pantheon.) Another thing is watching Ryan claim he and Romney will be the saviors of Medicare. Yes, Medicare – the greatest liberal achievement since the New Deal. My, how conservatism has changed. :-D

  • Patrick Kyle

    The way the RNC handled Ron Paul and his supporters tells me all I need to know.

    1. Refused to count his delegates.

    2. Changed the rules at the last minute to disqualify RP from being able to speak.

    They totally disenfranchised me and anyone else who thought RP had something of value to offer, and did it with totalitarian tactics worthy of Obama.

    Furhtermore, Ryan is either lying or ignorant concerning our fiscal situation. He needs to bone up on 7th grade math.

    Needless to say, the Republicans have seen their last vote from me.

  • Patrick Kyle

    The way the RNC handled Ron Paul and his supporters tells me all I need to know.

    1. Refused to count his delegates.

    2. Changed the rules at the last minute to disqualify RP from being able to speak.

    They totally disenfranchised me and anyone else who thought RP had something of value to offer, and did it with totalitarian tactics worthy of Obama.

    Furhtermore, Ryan is either lying or ignorant concerning our fiscal situation. He needs to bone up on 7th grade math.

    Needless to say, the Republicans have seen their last vote from me.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I only saw Condoleeza Rice, Susana Martinez and Paul Ryan last night. They were all three pretty good speeches, I thought. I especially liked my go0vernor’s little story about having been a Democrat and meeting with some Republicans for lunch, where they discussed various political issues, and ended the story with what she told her husband afterward: “I’ll be damned. We’re Republicans!

    Oh, Anon… Ryan’s facts were wrong concerning the GM plant in Wisconson. How disappointing. devastating, even.

    I guess I’ll be voting for Obama after all, then.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I only saw Condoleeza Rice, Susana Martinez and Paul Ryan last night. They were all three pretty good speeches, I thought. I especially liked my go0vernor’s little story about having been a Democrat and meeting with some Republicans for lunch, where they discussed various political issues, and ended the story with what she told her husband afterward: “I’ll be damned. We’re Republicans!

    Oh, Anon… Ryan’s facts were wrong concerning the GM plant in Wisconson. How disappointing. devastating, even.

    I guess I’ll be voting for Obama after all, then.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Ryan’s speech was good. I enjoyed the points about choosing freedom over central planning, the world where everything was free but us, and the 20-year-old staring at faded Obama posters waiting for his life to start.

    He tried to humanize Romney a little bit by comparing music collections…it came off as a little false and staged for me, but other people liked it, I suppose.

    I’ve not been impressed with my own state’s Rob Portman, so I didn’t watch. Most of the non-Ryan speakers were interrupted or pre-empted in some fashion by the networks, and that was annoying.

    I really wish the RNC would have handled the delegate situation according to its rules. At least the Democrats dealt with the fact that Hillary won some votes. Absolutely pitiful.

    And I would donate to the RNC if I could get a promise that neither candidate ever do comparative theology again. Total train wreck. Appeal to natural law, maybe appeal to nature’s God, but don’t say or imply that the Mormon god(s) are the same as the Triune one.

    I think Romney-Ryan would have this thing in the bag if they would just promise to fire Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke. ;)

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Ryan’s speech was good. I enjoyed the points about choosing freedom over central planning, the world where everything was free but us, and the 20-year-old staring at faded Obama posters waiting for his life to start.

    He tried to humanize Romney a little bit by comparing music collections…it came off as a little false and staged for me, but other people liked it, I suppose.

    I’ve not been impressed with my own state’s Rob Portman, so I didn’t watch. Most of the non-Ryan speakers were interrupted or pre-empted in some fashion by the networks, and that was annoying.

    I really wish the RNC would have handled the delegate situation according to its rules. At least the Democrats dealt with the fact that Hillary won some votes. Absolutely pitiful.

    And I would donate to the RNC if I could get a promise that neither candidate ever do comparative theology again. Total train wreck. Appeal to natural law, maybe appeal to nature’s God, but don’t say or imply that the Mormon god(s) are the same as the Triune one.

    I think Romney-Ryan would have this thing in the bag if they would just promise to fire Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke. ;)

  • Steve Billingsley
  • Steve Billingsley
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @7

    We all need to address what the role of Medicare should be.

    I know plenty of people who just feel totally entitled to any and every medical service paid for by someone, anyone else. Bottom line, people want to get more out of the system than they put into it. They only want to put in some x% of their income, but they want unlimited service; literally no limit, no cost benefit analysis. President Obama and his party seem more of realists on this point than what I have heard from Republicans. Basically each party wants to promise healthcare to “their” voters, whoever they perceive them to be. From the point of utility, it makes more sense to provide health care to younger people so they can work. What is the argument for providing health care for the elderly? Where is the utility? What interest does the state have in providing health care to people who will never work again?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @7

    We all need to address what the role of Medicare should be.

    I know plenty of people who just feel totally entitled to any and every medical service paid for by someone, anyone else. Bottom line, people want to get more out of the system than they put into it. They only want to put in some x% of their income, but they want unlimited service; literally no limit, no cost benefit analysis. President Obama and his party seem more of realists on this point than what I have heard from Republicans. Basically each party wants to promise healthcare to “their” voters, whoever they perceive them to be. From the point of utility, it makes more sense to provide health care to younger people so they can work. What is the argument for providing health care for the elderly? Where is the utility? What interest does the state have in providing health care to people who will never work again?

  • MarkB

    Tom Herring @ 7:
    Yes, conservatism has changed. It has changed to reflect the reality that once a giveaway program is inplace it is extremely hard to get rid of. Modifying it though can be done if the reasoning is there.

    That is why it is so critical to get rid of Obama Care before it becomes intrenched in our political mindset.

  • MarkB

    Tom Herring @ 7:
    Yes, conservatism has changed. It has changed to reflect the reality that once a giveaway program is inplace it is extremely hard to get rid of. Modifying it though can be done if the reasoning is there.

    That is why it is so critical to get rid of Obama Care before it becomes intrenched in our political mindset.

  • MarkB

    Mike @ 9:
    “Oh, Anon… Ryan’s facts were wrong concerning the GM plant in Wisconson. How disappointing. devastating, even.”

    I don’t believe that Ryan’s comments were wrong. The media and the Obama administration is spinning to make it look like Ryan lied. But, if you follow the link I posted above you might reconsider.

  • MarkB

    Mike @ 9:
    “Oh, Anon… Ryan’s facts were wrong concerning the GM plant in Wisconson. How disappointing. devastating, even.”

    I don’t believe that Ryan’s comments were wrong. The media and the Obama administration is spinning to make it look like Ryan lied. But, if you follow the link I posted above you might reconsider.

  • JunkerGeorg

    I like Christie’s speech–if only he would have indicted his own party a little more for the same things he criticized the Democrats for. Similarly with Ryan, were I less informed of Paul Ryan’s actual record, I’d probably have touted him as a fiscal savior after watching his speech, which was very well done. But Ryan’s record is one of supporting things like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, Homeland Security, TSA, Patriot Act, TARP Bank Bailouts, GM Auto Bailout, etc. Also, in general, Ryan’s long-term fiscal plan (i.e., the “Ryan Plan”) merely proposes curbing the amount of future Federal spending levels, which is not the same as cutting spending according to present levels, although they like to proclaim such as “cutting spending” when in reality it is not. Also, if one was really for a smaller, more limited-government in line with the enumerated powers which the Constitution grants, then why would your fiscal plan merely propose a limitation on the amount of GROWTH of future federal spending levels, rather than cuts of current federal spending levels? As Tom Hering mentioned above in post #7 above, it is funny how with regard to the two biggest expenditures in the federal budget (i.e., Medicare and Defense), Medicare has now become a sacred cow to the Republicans in addition to Defense (or Offense? i.e., Global social engineering under the guise of Wilsonian rhetoric.) For sure though, to stand against the burdensome Medicare is political suicide, nevertheless, such just shows the lack of proof in the rhetorical pudding….

    I’m undecided on whom I will cast my vote, other than that it won’t be for Obama. I will say I am no longer a blind devotee of the GOP, or a mouth-breathing drone of its surrogate Fox News. (Fox News Business is at least a little more honest on fiscal issues.) If only Rand Paul were in the game…Oh well, hopefully in 2016.

  • JunkerGeorg

    I like Christie’s speech–if only he would have indicted his own party a little more for the same things he criticized the Democrats for. Similarly with Ryan, were I less informed of Paul Ryan’s actual record, I’d probably have touted him as a fiscal savior after watching his speech, which was very well done. But Ryan’s record is one of supporting things like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, Homeland Security, TSA, Patriot Act, TARP Bank Bailouts, GM Auto Bailout, etc. Also, in general, Ryan’s long-term fiscal plan (i.e., the “Ryan Plan”) merely proposes curbing the amount of future Federal spending levels, which is not the same as cutting spending according to present levels, although they like to proclaim such as “cutting spending” when in reality it is not. Also, if one was really for a smaller, more limited-government in line with the enumerated powers which the Constitution grants, then why would your fiscal plan merely propose a limitation on the amount of GROWTH of future federal spending levels, rather than cuts of current federal spending levels? As Tom Hering mentioned above in post #7 above, it is funny how with regard to the two biggest expenditures in the federal budget (i.e., Medicare and Defense), Medicare has now become a sacred cow to the Republicans in addition to Defense (or Offense? i.e., Global social engineering under the guise of Wilsonian rhetoric.) For sure though, to stand against the burdensome Medicare is political suicide, nevertheless, such just shows the lack of proof in the rhetorical pudding….

    I’m undecided on whom I will cast my vote, other than that it won’t be for Obama. I will say I am no longer a blind devotee of the GOP, or a mouth-breathing drone of its surrogate Fox News. (Fox News Business is at least a little more honest on fiscal issues.) If only Rand Paul were in the game…Oh well, hopefully in 2016.

  • larry

    Patrick,

    I know a lot of cons. and their not even Paul supporters who feel the same as you do. If I were to bet right now, I’d say we have four more years coming. Its all too obvious, even the normal “convention bump” is statistically trivial, and that’s without the dems having had their turn.

  • larry

    Patrick,

    I know a lot of cons. and their not even Paul supporters who feel the same as you do. If I were to bet right now, I’d say we have four more years coming. Its all too obvious, even the normal “convention bump” is statistically trivial, and that’s without the dems having had their turn.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Ok, adding to the fireworks, you can’t but laugh at the Clint Eastwood “speech” (comedic routine), if not moreso the audience. I mean, Clint achieved something that Ron Paul could never achieve: He got the whole convention of Republicans to applaud a call for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan!!! Wow. You cannot make this stuff up.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Ok, adding to the fireworks, you can’t but laugh at the Clint Eastwood “speech” (comedic routine), if not moreso the audience. I mean, Clint achieved something that Ron Paul could never achieve: He got the whole convention of Republicans to applaud a call for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan!!! Wow. You cannot make this stuff up.

  • Anon

    Clint…what a disaster.

  • Anon

    Clint…what a disaster.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Congratulations, GOP, you managed to make Clint “Grandpa Simpson” Eastwood the big story of Thursday night.

    I’d been studiously avoiding the whole convention (in the same way that I avoid hour-long infomercials, in that both present themselves as sources of information, but are of course merely selling something), but my Twitter feed started lighting up about Eastwood’s strange act.

    I pulled up a YouTube copy of his speech, which is the only part of the RNC I’ve seen so far. So that’s … something.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Congratulations, GOP, you managed to make Clint “Grandpa Simpson” Eastwood the big story of Thursday night.

    I’d been studiously avoiding the whole convention (in the same way that I avoid hour-long infomercials, in that both present themselves as sources of information, but are of course merely selling something), but my Twitter feed started lighting up about Eastwood’s strange act.

    I pulled up a YouTube copy of his speech, which is the only part of the RNC I’ve seen so far. So that’s … something.

  • Tom Hering

    So, is anyone going to jump on Romney for relying on those teleprompters? His eyes rarely strayed from the same three spots – to his left, his right, and not quite straight ahead at the camera. (The effect of the latter was like someone looking at you cross-eyed.)

  • Tom Hering

    So, is anyone going to jump on Romney for relying on those teleprompters? His eyes rarely strayed from the same three spots – to his left, his right, and not quite straight ahead at the camera. (The effect of the latter was like someone looking at you cross-eyed.)

  • Joe

    Tom — I think your missing the point a bit. No one is selling Romney as a some kind of great orator. He is a CEO type, they are notoriously not great speakers. Teleprompters are not unexpected. Obama is supposed to be the supperty dupperty speaker that can inspire a generation with his words. His near dependence on the teleprompter (which is pretty clearly demonstrated when he goes sans prompter) is the proof that all of the next Great Communicator stuff is baloney.

    I would not be surprised if Romney started using Power Point in his speeches. …

  • Joe

    Tom — I think your missing the point a bit. No one is selling Romney as a some kind of great orator. He is a CEO type, they are notoriously not great speakers. Teleprompters are not unexpected. Obama is supposed to be the supperty dupperty speaker that can inspire a generation with his words. His near dependence on the teleprompter (which is pretty clearly demonstrated when he goes sans prompter) is the proof that all of the next Great Communicator stuff is baloney.

    I would not be surprised if Romney started using Power Point in his speeches. …

  • helen

    “I’ll be damned. We’re Republicans!”

    Now, there’s a sound bite!!

  • helen

    “I’ll be damned. We’re Republicans!”

    Now, there’s a sound bite!!

  • JunkerGeorg

    “Now if only we could find the Republican party.” If they remain true to principles even over party, then that perhaps might be a future sound byte.

  • JunkerGeorg

    “Now if only we could find the Republican party.” If they remain true to principles even over party, then that perhaps might be a future sound byte.


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