Going into New York for the convention so many things could’ve gone wrong - but instead largely things went very right. No terror acts, demonstrations that were no big deal, a strong lineup of speakers all articulating common sense conservative issues.
For four nights the GOP drove forward with a vision for the future in contrast with the weather-vane mind of John Kerry and the Edwards disappearing act.
So as we did for the Democratic Convention, here’s a review of the key speakers:
Senator John McCain - B - You couldn’t have asked for more, who showed he was a team player and ignored differences with the President. He made the case for the war on terror and on Iraq and laid the wood on Michael Moore to everyone’s delight.
Rudy Giuliani - A - He hit it out of the park in one of the top three speeches of the week.
Highlight Comment. - “The President announced the Bush Doctrine when he said: Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. And since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid. It doesn't matter how he is demonized. It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him. They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom. Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership. ”
Governor Schwarzenegger - A - A top three effort - strong supportive message that “girly men” may not like.
Best Comment - “My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans how do you know if you are a Republican? I’ll tell you how. If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government…then you are a Republican! If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as an individual, not as a member of an interest group… then you are a Republican! If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does… then you are a Republican! If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children… then you are a Republican! If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is he best hope of democracy in the world… then you are a Republican! And, ladies and gentlemen… if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism… then you are Republican!”
The Bush Twins - NRFPT - Sweet but not ready for prime time. You know why they’ve been left out of the limelight.
Laura Bush - B - Strong message from a class act.
Best Comment - “George and I grew up in West Texas, where the sky seems endless and so do the possibilities. He brings that optimism, that sense of promise, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day - and with your help, he'll do so for four more years. These are times that require an especially strong and determined leader. And I'm proud that my husband is that kind of leader. Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.”
Senator Zell Miller - A - Like a Baptist preacher on a roll - Senator Miller popped Kerry up and down truthfully. A great message for Reagan Democrats.
Best Comment - “Where are such statesmen today? Where is the bi-partisanship in this country when we need it most? Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and weaker because of the Democratic manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief. What has happened to the party I’ve spent my life working in? I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny. Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator. But don’t waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution. They don’t believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy. It is not their patriotism - it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace. They were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war. They were wrong. And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Together, Kennedy and Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on terror.”
Vice-President Cheney - B - Good message but typical delivery from a smart, tough leader who is the most important Vice-President in decades.
Highlights - “This nation has reached another of those defining moments. Under President Bush we have put in place new policies and created new institutions to defend America, to stop terrorist violence at its source, and to help move the Middle East away from old hatreds and resentments and toward the lasting peace that only freedom can bring. This is the work not of months, but of years and keeping these commitments is essential to our future security. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our history. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement and against it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two America's. It makes the whole thing mutual America sees two John Kerry's.”
Governor George Pataki - C+ - Got prime spot introducing the President and was ok - not up to the other stars.
President Bush - A - Really two speeches - one my vision for the next four years like a State of the Union and then the switch into high gear, a campaign speech on why you should re-elect him and why his opponent is an indecisive politician. Highlights too long to reprint, see www.gopconvention.com
The results of the convention are in and President Bush got a much more significant bounce than Kerry. The latest Gallup Poll has Bush up in double digits. As a result of the numbers shift, Kerry is shaking up his team yet again.
TCR COMMENT - The GOP needs to keep doing things right, have a good debate series and hope events beyond our control don’t come up and bite us. In other words, there is a long time to go in this election and we need to stay on the offensive.
The Story Behind the Story in New York
The Battle for '08 Begins
Who is the person to carry the flag for conservatives in 2008? At this point no one person has emerged, but there are many conservatives and moderates interested in leading the GOP.
TCR was privileged to attend many of these “Auditions” for possible 08’ standard bearers.
It’s clear that there will be a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and no less than the future of conservatism in America is at stake.
So here are those interested with TCR’s COMMENTS about each potential candidate:
Senator Sam Brownback - Good conservative, Senator from Kansas.
Governor Jeb Bush - Great guy, great Governor, great conservative but will we have three Bushes in a row.
Senator Bill Frist - Thankless job as majority leader and has had his ups and downs. Not well known. Not an inspiring speaker.
Rudy Guliani - Superstar Mayor, see John McCain - can he finesse the social issues by evolving? High name ID.
Senator Chuck Hagel - Weak on National Security, critic of Bush - but domestic policy conservative. A candidate from Nebraska - not likely.
John McCain - High name ID, great on National Security, inconsistent domestically and will be 72 in 2008.
Governor Bill Owens - Colorado conservative Governor called “the best in America”, family issues may hold him back.
Governor George Pataki - New York Governor, good guy in liberal state. Tough sell on social issues and spending.
Governor Tim Pawlenty - Another superstar Governor from Minnesota who made a splash at the GOP convention and good innovative Governor.
Governor Mitt Romney - Good Governor in a liberal state (Massachusetts). Governors are formidable candidates.
Senator Rick Santorum - Good conservative Senator from Pennsylvania but irritated conservatives by helping Senator Spector.
TCR’s COMMENTS - Forget the rumors, we don’t have a bench and this is just the beginning. We will revisit this often after we safely re-elect President Bush.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.
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