Last year, from a seat on bloggers’ row in the (metaphorical) rafters the Excel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Republican vice presidential nominee deliver a speech that wowed us all. “If this were baseball,” I wrote from those rafters, “the ball would be up here. Or further. She’s hitting this out of the park.”
You could feel the energy in the hall. You could feel it as people left the auditorium, seemingly floating, not walking, back to our cars and busses.
“Leaving the hall” last night, reports the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Republicans seem to have had similar feelings, offering “reviews of [this year vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan’s speech that ranged from ‘fantastic’ to ‘awe-inspiring.’ If any were underwhelmed, they didn’t show it.” Even non-Repubilcans liked it. One 2008 Obama voter blogged that “Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.”
Jim Geraghty called the speech “Reaganesque“. Ryan skeptic Paul Mirengoff dubbed it “optimal“, his blogging colleague John Hinderaker called it “fantastic.” The fetching Wisconsin Republican criticized, as Jennifer Rubin observed, “‘more in sadness than in anger’ with great expression of empathy for fellow citizens.”
Glenn Reynolds listed his favorite lines, including the one about “fading Obama poster”. Maybe everyone is buzzing about that one, but two other passages which struck me, the first, Ryan ribbing his running mate for his choice in music. Can you imagine Joe Biden making fun of Barack Obama’s tastes in music (or anything else for that matter)?*
Perhaps, I should cite his conclusion where he harkened back to our nation’s “founding principles”, but it was this passage where he articulated one of those principles that really resonated with me:
In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.
In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson listed the British government’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” against the American people. The Constitution placed strict limits on what the new federal government could do.
Like Ronald Reagan, like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, Paul Ryan understands the imperative of limiting government.
So let me delight in that and leave others to offer broader evaluations of the address, including York who wrote that
Ryan’s 36-minute address did everything he needed to do: offer a devastating indictment of President Obama’s economic record, with a few memorable barbs about the president’s legendary self-importance; offer enough personal background so that viewers feel they know a little about Ryan; and most of all, convince voters that he and Mitt Romney will devote all their energy to jobs, the economy, and debt.
Ryan got it all done.
*Last week, Peggy reminded us that “President Obama can’t stand to be made fun of. His pride won’t allow it, hisamour propre cannot countenance a joke at his own expense. If Mr. Romney lands a few very funny lines about the president’s leadership, Mr. Obama will freak out. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?“