-Its a new party. Four years ago the Convnetion was dominated with names like McCain, Leiberman, Guiliani, Thompson, Ridge, Martinez, Graham - et al. The single shining moment came with Sarah Palin's star-making performance where she single-handily raised that campaign, convention, and party up. No such herculean effort was needed yesterday. What the tea party has presented to us is a new party, more diverse, and more principled. The candidates put forward were ethnically diverse, culturally diverse, people coming from all walks of life, and all parts of the country. Mia Love, Kelly Ayotte, Mary Falin, John Kasich, Bob McDonnell, Scott Walker, Brian Sandoval, Ted Cruz, Artur Davis, Nikki Haley, and Chris Christie - nearly all of those men and women did not hold office in 2008. There are Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian, working class, and suburban. Last night's lineup represented America well, something we did not do effectively four years ago.
-I LOVED Chris Christie's speech. Mind you, I am a bit of a Christie skeptic, I don't necessarily think the bark matches the bite. I think Christie's screaming and yelling at teachers was cute at first but there has to be more there. What he laid out last night was essentially presenting the New Republican Party to America. Its the party that elected McDonnell and Christie in 2009; Walker, Sandoval, Ayotte, Falin, Haley, and Kasich in 2010; its the party that has nominated Love and Cruz in 2012, and the party that has opened its arms to Davis. Christie is talking about an adult Party no longer willing to pander, but to speak the truth and lay out an honest vision for what needs to be done. I much prefer a more philosophical Christie to the Tony Soprano Christie. In that role, he is perhaps the most impressive of this new Party.
-As for Ann Romney's speech, it was great. Spouse speeches are their own deal and I think she did a great job introducing herself and taking on the burden of making people understand what a good man Mitt Romney is. Regular readers of this blog know that I've never been a huge Romney supporter, but the one thing I greatly admire about his is his personal story. I believe Mitt is perhaps the best man to ever seek the GOP nomination. He is a good and decent man, who believes in God and family, quite and unnoticed charity, and really believes in taking the privilege he was given at birth and to give back. I think Ann Romney did a good job putting that human face on him.
-Overall, despite the bad taste in my mouth about what the party did to change the rules, I was happy with the message presented. A word about those changes - I hope Ron Paul supporters take notice of this and understand that the Tea Party and conservatives ARE NOT THE ENEMY. We must unite together to fight the common enemy. The refrain I here over and over from RP folks is "we are going to take everything over." Its an ignorant and ultimately failing strategy and one that ignores naturally allies among traditional conservatives like Morton Blackwell. We must come together, not fight each other. Conservatism is stronger when we are together. The Establishment was able to ram this through on the backs of Ron Paul supporters, denigrating you as fake Republicans who have no interest in the party. I know that is false, but you do yourself no favors by fighting natural allies. Let's come together.
-There are three men I am eyeing at this convention. Gov. Christie, Sen. Paul, and Rep. Ryan. I think that is the three-headed monster that moves the Party forward. They will, as well, probably end up fighting each other. Christie laid claim as the face of the New GOP - outsiders, governors who want to take power back from the federal government. Senator Paul will lay out a vision uniting the libertarian wing with the regular party, and Rep. Ryan will finally talk about grabbing the third, fourth, and fifth rail of politics and run honestly on it.
I apologize for all typos and mispellings, I wrote this up rushing out the door to work.