Now that the dog and pony shows are over, I thought I would look back and reflect a bit on the highlights of both conventions. In general, I thought the Dems had more emotion at their gig than the Republicans had at theirs, and, for the most part, the Democratic speakers fared better than their counterparts. If the recent polls are any indicator, the voters felt the same way.
My inner rock critic came up with a top ten list of the speakers and yes there will be both Democrats and Republicans. I only bothered to grade those speeches I heard, no transcripts.
1. Bill Clinton: What can you say? Bubba knocked it out of the ball park. Not only did he clearly articulate what the election should be about, he was the only speaker at either convention who spoke directly to independents. Docked a point for going a bit long, but otherwise he nailed it. Grade A
2. Michelle Obama: I’m continually amazed at the animosity some on the Right have for this woman. Not only did she give one of the best speeches at the convention, she came across as a real down to earth wife and mother who was authentic, unlike Imelda Marcos, who was about as genuine as a $2 bill. Grade A
3. Deval Patrick: The current governor of Massachusetts was passionate and fiery. As I said in an earlier piece, he reminded me of why I vote Democrat. For those who were worried that Democrats lack a backbone, watch this speech. Grade A-
4. Marco Rubio: Don’t look now, but if Mitt Romney loses the election, it’ll be because he chose the wrong VP candidate. Keep your eye on this guy; he’s not just a rising star in the GOP, he’s a rising star in politics in general. He gave, by far, the best speech at the Republican National Convention. Can you say 2016? Grade A-
5. Barack Obama: The President gave a competent, if familiar speech that probably didn’t sway any independents, but did no harm either. Besides, he was speaking to his base in an attempt to shore up support. With polls showing a very small percentage of the electorate still undecided, it is becoming all too clear that the candidate who gets more of his base out to the polls November 6th will probably win the election. Strategically it was a success; vision wise, not so much. Grade B+
6. Joe Biden: Okay admit it. You were holding your breath the whole time. Well, you can exhale. For a guy who has a habit of going off message and forgets to hit the mute button, Mr. Biden delivered a pretty good speech that at times was a little too confrontational, but more than made up for it with some genuine tear-jerk emotion. Grade B+
7. Mitt Romney: Gordon Gekko did his best to look human, which thanks to some rather long, tall stories about his "humble" beginnings and a somewhat laid-back demeanor, he managed to pull off, but just barely. His hurdles still remain, chief among them is this persistent belief that he is not being upfront with the American people. Despite all the accolades from the business community, he still can’t sell the voters on the one thing that matters most: himself. And then there was the failure to mention the two wars and the military. Oops. Grade B
8. Paul Ryan: Bud Fox really outdid himself at the convention. Not only did he tell no less than five whoppers about the Obama Administration, he looked like a rookie ballplayer making his debut at Yankee Stadium. That he still looked more credible and authentic than his running mate, says more about his running mate than anything he brings to the table. Rarely have two people so fittingly deserved each another. Grade B-
9. Chris Christie: Somewhere out there is a black hole that is VERY jealous. Really now, you’re the keynote speaker at your party’s convention, which means you’re there to talk about the nominee, and you spend 90% of your speech talking about yourself and the “tough choices” you had to make as governor. Oh and by the way, your state’s unemployment rate is 1.5% above the national average, which means you probably suck at making those tough choices. Self-indulgent would be a word in a half. Grade C
10. The Chair: It sat there for twelve minutes and watched helplessly as a movie icon humiliated himself in front of millions of viewers. Not once did it say anything in its defense. It didn’t even have the good sense to just get up and leave. That’s what you get for being an inanimate object, Chair. Grade F