GOP Convention: Tributes and The Bushes
With Gustav now thankfully receding into history, the Republican convention got underway tonight. So far things have been pretty much true to form. They have done tributes to former Presidents Ford and Reagan and, since 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, they also paid tribute to him.
The first major address was a joint venture by Laura and George Bush. I have to say that every time I watch both of the Bushes speak, I am struck by the fact that Laura is a much more accomplished public speaker and seems far more at ease with the process. Of course it is pretty standard for wives to outshine their husbands, but she is a real gem.
During her introductory remarks she did make one very important point which I think has gotten much less attention from the media than it deserves. When Bush took office in 2001, the AIDS epidemic was sweeping across Africa and the number of victims getting daily medication was in the few thousands but today, thanks to Bush initiatives, the number is over 2 million.
To their credit, both Senators Obama and Biden have paid proper tribute to Bush for this work, but few others on the left have done so and I want to credit him for that now.
The President’s remarks were pretty standard for an outgoing Chief Executive. As I’ve said while I respect Bush for many things, great public speaking is not one of them. Because he felt it was proper to remain in Washington to help oversea relief efforts for Gustav, Hanna, et al Bush spoke from the White House.
He used his remarks to praise and support Senator McCain, wryly observing that McCain was not shy about speaking up when he disagreed saying ‘Believe me, I know it well’. He praised McCain and Palin as a great team to serve the United States over the next four years and pointed out McCain was right on the issue of the Iraqi surge.
All in all, it was a fairly standard address, I can’t really compare it to that of Bill Clinton since he had the unusual circumstance of the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign but it was on par with speeches by former President Carter or former VP Gore at the Democratic convention.
The big guns are yet to come, Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman.