Explaining my RNC grades


ST. PAUL--In an email, a DQM reader takes vigorous issue with my assessment of Mitt Romney's speech to the RNC:

A B-plus my ass! You won't see or hear a worse speech all year than Mitt's. I was sitting on my couch practically covering my eyes. I don't like him, but I was touting him for VP.

Real quickly, here's my response. First off, I've felt like covering my eyes pretty much this entire week. And my expectations for Romney are exceedingly low. I'm surprised at the surprise that Romney's speech has elicited: if you're a long-time Romney watcher, you know that--while he's talented and very smart--he decided several years ago that pandering to the baser instincts of the GOP was his path to political success. (As I noted last night, Mitt's speech was actually less strident than his '04 RNC address, when he posited a parallel between gay marriage and Islamic terrorism.)

Even though it's awfully difficult, given my own liberalism, I've been attempting to hear these speeches the way a Republican would, whether it's a Republican in the convention hall or a Republican sitting at home. This approach + my low Romney expectations = Mitt's B-plus.

Incidentally, if I wasn't trying this little excercise in sociopolitical empathy, I would have been a lot harder on both Palin and Giuliani. Giuliani in particular strikes me as a menace. There's nothing like a victim complex when it comes to whipping up aggression, and Giuliani's 9/11 grudge--and his willingness to milk that day for political benefit--is flat-out dangerous, whether or not he gave the "speech of the week."

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