What made the Republican National Convention unique was the cohesiveness of three speeches that were written separately and delivered by different men. Taken together, they dovetailed nicely.
First came the philosopher, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who talked about the differences between the party of President Bush, Dick Cheney and Ronald Reagan and the party of John Kerry, Michael Moore and Al Sharpton.
His most memorable line: "If you believe 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 a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican."
Also compelling was his story of coming to this country penniless and unable to speak the language. Hearing a translation of the Democrat and Republican platforms, he immediately recognized the Democrats as being most like the socialists in his home country, and has been a Republican ever since.
Next was the researcher, U.S. Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who gave a long list of votes that raise doubts about Kerry such as opposing the B-1 bomber that dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric," declared Miller, a Democrat and a Marine.
Finally, there was the visionary. Bush laid out what Americans could expect under a second term. He would push for tax simplification, spending restraint, investment in communities, Social Security reform, health savings accounts, and a renewed emphasis on math and science.
Bush's words were simply stated, forceful and consistent with his past without helter-skelter, focus-group-driven rhetoric. He also had some memorable, inspirational thoughts; for example: " ... people will look at the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose."
Bush's words, despite his lack of oratorical skills, were reminiscent of the Great Communicator. His poll numbers surged 2 percentage points overnight.
Voters have seen both the GOP and Democrats on display. Soon, it will be time to choose between them.
Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
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