Whew. What a saturday that turned out to be. I had a good time, or as good a time as you can at a convention, but it was night and day compared to last year. Here are some final thoughts.
- Bob McDonnell really shined. His talk, a melding of a political speech and a political science presentation, was great. His theme of a "Jobs Governor" has been used now over and over, but yesterday the meat was finally put on the bones. Every proposal he talked about, concerning taxes and energy and drilling were all dovetailed back into the need to build up jobs. In the past, I've worried about McDonnell getting boring; but yesterday he was thoughtful, engaging, a sounding like a true leader. But most of all, he was positive. I thought it was a masterful performance and a perfect way for him to fully enter onto the statewide stage for real. He was past talking points, pasting cliff note politics, and instead spent nearly 20 minutes tying proposal after proposal, point after point, all back to jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Tax cuts will create jobs. Stream ining government will help create jobs. Offshore exploration will create jobs, clean coal and nuclear will create jobs. Lowering college tuition will keep students here and help jobs. It was a great speech.
- Bill Bolling is our Happy Warrior. Always smiling, always positive, always ready to fight the conservative fight he gave two great speeches yesterday and clearly what he has done and the decisions he has made were very well appreciated by the crowd. He's the hardest working man in show business, and I think he will be the glue that holds the entire ticket together, he's sort of McDonnell and Cuccinelli molded together. He also has taken a big gamble, not only passing up his own chance to be governor, but banking on the man he deferred too will win. Its that duel bet that will drive Bolling harder than ever this year.
- As for Cuccinelli, what can I say? I know he's controversial within some of the party, but his victory was overwhelming. This was his convention, he was the reason twice as many people showed up this year versus last year. There was an air of showmanship as well, with the yellow Don't Tread On Me flags waving, the intro clips of various media types talking about where the country is headed. In the end, I think my perspective coming from the blog world made me think this would be closer than it was. Brownlee's presentation was bland and boring, hammering on the theme over and over of being a prosecutor. Foster was wooden, talking about his corporate law experience to help streamline government. Both completely missed the hunger in the audience for a fighter, for someone to stand up to the Democrats, instead focusing on the minutia of the office. Brownlee and Foster were talking about the office, Cuccinelli was talking about principles; it wasn't even close.
- But I think Brownlee and Foster are good Republicans, and I hope both stay engaged because we need their help in their areas of the state. Brownlee has a lot going for him, he's young and engaging. There is much work to be done in Southwest as the Democrats wage war against coal and thus against the region, and Republicans need strong leadership in the are to help fight this. For Foster, he comes back to the 8th District were there are rumbles of hope. The performances for Frank Fannon, Alicia Hughes, and Joe Murray in recent elections show there is hope. Furthermore, nearly all of these delegate districts have Republican candidates. Foster has used this race as a platform to elevate himself and he can use that elevation to help these candidates. Good folks like Sasha Gong, Mark Whited, Joe Bury, Danny Smith, among others are all running for HoD seats in the 8th. Lets hope Foster stays active and helps these folks out.
- Perhaps Pat Mullins had his election for Chairman wrapped up from the beginning, but whatever doubts were dispelled by the tremendous and aggressive speech he gave. It was sort of lost in the shuffle, but it was excellent. Mullins looks ready to attack with gusto and humor. It was really fun to listen too and I think really made the difference in his win over Stanley.
- Patrick Muldoon deserves no further recognition of existence. He came into this convention knowing he wouldn't win, and couldn't win. But he still got up before the convention and lambasted Bolling over and over to Republicans that clearly love the current lieutenant governor. The points he were making about the grassroots being taken for granted and dictated too could find some sympathy, but his selfish campaign and bomb-throwing on a great conservative who has fought everything Muldoon talked about was over the line. In the end, there was no real reason for Muldoon to be running other than for vanity and to somehow elevate himself. Well, it didn't work. The sooner he leaves the better we all will be.