August 30th, 2012
Two quick kudos:
1) I didn’t catch the name of a cappella group which sang the national anthem, but it was one of the most beautiful arrangements I’ve ever heard. Phenomenal.
2) The law enforcement people in Tampa this week have been wonderful. Professional, helpful, friendly, even. A sterling, exceptional job they’ve done this week.
* I poked fun at the RNC set design–it looks like the Windows 8 tiles. But they’ve really grown on me during the week. I actually kind of love it now.
* Early prediction: Unless Mitt Romney passes out, the immediate CW on it will be that it was an excellent, strong speech–a forceful case for his presidency and a better speech than anyone expected him to give. The performance of his life!
Because that’s what people almost always say immediately after the nominee gives his acceptance speech. It takes a couple days for a more considered appraisal to settle in.
* That said, this has been a very competently-run convention. Probably the most impressive GOP convention I’ve been to, in terms of messaging and production.
* As Clint Eastwood ad libs, Venus Williams dropped the first set and it looking terrible. Roddick announced he’s retiring. We could be heading into the nuclear winter of American tennis. After Serena it’s a waste land.
* I’d never seen Rubio live before. I’m now a believer in his native political skills. His drop-in line as he walked out onstage–“I think I just drank Clint Eastwood’s water”–was incredibly deft and showed a totally intuitive sense of theater. As he speaks, I’m watching the teleprompter and he’s occasionally dropping in lines. And they all work. It’s a very impressive display of political gifts.
That said, his speech would have been twice as powerful if he had pressed through some of the applause lines, as Condi Rice did last night when she put on a clinic.
* Instant reaction to the Romney speech as it’s in process (I read ahead through the transcript for the rest): Whatever you think of the text, or the delivery–this is a pre-Ryan speech. It’s absolutely the speech he would have given a month ago when his theory of the campaign was “jobs-jobs-jobs, make the election a referendum not a choice.” So if you thought that strategy was smart then, then you probably think this speech is well conceived.
On it’s own merits, though, it struck me on first-blush as a good effort with some great moments.
Possible updates to follow later in the night; either here or on the Twitters.
Tennis note: One (possible) bright spot on the women’s side – 19-yr-old Sloane Stephens; pulled an upset against Schiavone in the first round of the US Open. Lost in the third round against Ivanovic (won the first set in a tiebreak, then lost the next two 4-6, 2-6). On the men’s side the cupboard is indeed bare. Not good times.