But then I found an article by Tom Shales at the WaPo that said what I would have said, and also said more, and said all of it a lot better.
It's doubtful that four more years in office would turn George W. Bush into a great speechmaker, but that he's improving was evident last night when he stood on a circular stage meant to suggest a pitcher's mound and made his case for a second term to near-deafening cheers at the Republican National Convention in New York.
Bush still has problems maintaining poise. Twice, when cheers from the crowd were interrupted by jeers from protesters -- who were quickly hustled out of the hall by security guards and police -- Bush looked flustered, even frightened, though he did keep reading from the prompting devices encircling him. Ronald Reagan in the same situation would have responded with a quip and dismissed the protesters with a tolerant smile. Bush clung carefully to his text, his eyes darting anxiously around the hall.
Where the Republican convention seemed to fall disgracefully short was in paying proper tribute to Ronald Reagan, whose name is invoked at every opportunity but who seemed to get very little in the way of passionate posthumous tribute. Maybe the Republicans feared that too much homage would only serve to remind viewers that Reagan is gone, and that if it isn't mentioned, people will be lulled into thinking he's still around.
Reagan could have beaten John Kerry with one hand tied behind him. George W. Bush will need both hands and lots of additional help besides. Then again, the Democrats' post-convention antics, poor use of TV and Kerry's ill-advised photo ops give the impression that the Democrats are so determined to lose that nobody can stop them -- no matter what and no matter who.