Too bad on such a fine professor…

The two best speeches so far on the Republican convention have been given by women, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

It was hard not to like about Ann Romney and her speech about the love for the man she has been married to for over 40 years, without revealing anything really new about her husband.

It was Ann Romney’s day, that first convention day. She outshone New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Yes, she outshone her husband, who has never given a speech like that. It remains to see how Mitt Romney succeeds tonight in his big opportunity to explain to the American people why they should vote for him in November.

Condoleezza Rice’s speech was also very good. But it made me sad, that after many times having heard her lecture as professor of foreign policy during my years at Stanford University, my image of her, a prominent academic, has now changed into a Republican standard-bearer, a Republican spokeswoman. Yes, she was national security adviser and secretary of state, but, in my view, she never seemed to be hardline partisan, though she has never hid her Republican sympathies.

But now? To me, she finally made the move from academia to partisan politics, and although she denies it, it is quite possible that she has now also launched a political career with 2016 in view.

When I say that her speech was very good, that does not mean that I didn’t have big problems with her uncritical history of recent foreign policy, of her description of the years during George W. Bush, and of the current foreign policy situation and on U.S. standing in the world. Not a positive word about President Obama, not one.

The excellent foreign policy commentator in Slate Magazine, Fred Kaplan, was deeply upset in a piece today, “Condoleezza Rice Has a Lot of Nerve.”

One can only gasp at the magnitude of “chutzpah” in one woman. Condi Rice, a top adviser in the most disastrous, reputation-crippling foreign policy management in decades, has no business lecturing anybody on this score.

The New York Times’ former editor Bill Keller describes in “Condi’s World” the foreign policy dilemma in the Republican Party and the fact that Rice now, as with George W. Bush before that, “endorsed another would-be president unschooled in world affairs – conspicuously, embarrassingly so – and this one is Already seemingly in thrall to the hard-liners. “

Too bad on such a fine professor.

Here is her speech:


Massive criticism of Ryan’s “dishonest” speech

As I suspected after Paul Ryan’s speech last night, many commentators have not been kind to him. I am not talking about his performance. It was powerful and the speech was well written speech, and although Ryan in the beginning looked a bit like a nervous young kid, he clearly managed to establish a very good contact with convention delegates.

So the Republican base is now not only secure but clearly enthusiastic about Romney’s choice as vice president. Thus, the goal of the speech was accomplished.

But did Ryan manage to reach the broader American voter groups, especially the independents? We do not know yet. Probably not. It was somehow too partisan, the picture of President Obama’s years in the White House somehow too dark, with no nuances.

A few examples: “Mr. Ryan’s misleading speech,” the Washington Post wrote in its main editorial today, while one of the paper’s blogs, The Plum Line, talked about Ryan’s “staggering, staggering lie”.

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic has a good compilation under the headline “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever”? And Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine called the speech “Paul Ryan’s Large Lies and One Big Truth”.

Here’s a bit of what they are talking about:

  • The GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville closed before Obama became president.
  • Ryan, just like Obama, wants to cut more than $ 700 billion from the Medicare, but he was silent about this.
  • The downgrading of U.S. credit rating was not a result of Obama’s policies but of Republican’s refusal to agree to raising the debt ceiling.
  • Obama has not contributed more than anyone else to the increase of the national debt. It is rather the result of the policies that George W. Bush pursued and which Ryan as congressman fully supported: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the two huge tax cuts.
  • Ryan’s pledge to support the weak and the poor do not rhyme with his budget proposal, where 62 percent of his cuts affect the low-income earners, including Medicaid.
  • Bowles/Simpson Commission: Ryan attacked Obama for not having adopted his own commission’s proposal. But he neglected to say that Ryan himself, as a member of that Commission, refused to sign the proposal because it contained tax increases.

The Democrats have a lot of new ammunition for the remaining days of this election campaign, but Ryan, unlike Sarah Palin, is no fool, so it will be a tough debate! Who will the American voters believe in the end? Mitt Romney has a big task tonight.

Here is Ryan’s speech: