Wow. I was really underwhelmed with last night’s speeches. McCain’s reads quite strong, but his delivery was weak. Giuliani needs a better speech writer if he really wants to make a play for the bigtime, and his delivery was dispassionate, devoid of the awe and enormous respect he commanded in the wake of 9/11.
Schwarzenegger on the other hand, just gave a speech every bit as good as Obama’s. He gave a tremendous speech, offering up examples of how you know if you’re a Republican, with statements geared to easy conclusions. (He came close to crossing into Jeff Foxworthy’s Rhetoric for Dummies, but fortunately avoided, “You know you’re a Republican if…” Come to think of it, that would be a fun fill in the blank game…)
He had fire in the belly, and spoke from the heart. He was unabashedly partisan, taking shots at John Edwards’ “Two Americas”, and at the economic “girlie men” who think the economy isn’t strong. (Sure, the Census Department just released figures showing 1.3 million more people slipped into poverty, and more people are uninsured, but why let facts get in the way of the fact that the speech worked.) Like Reagan, he was able to speak in big, broad themes. He poked fun at himself. He showed ease in front of the crowd, and a mastery of the well-timed pause.
In short, he nailed it.
And then, the Bush twins. Oof. I’ll bet the Cross guys liked ‘em. But I doubt that was really ever in doubt. Swing voters, on the other hand, probably don’t want to hear two 22 year-olds making fun of married people who have sex but never talk about it.