6:07: "Please release each one of us from ego"... part of the invocation, given by a Sikh.
6:08: The color guard are amputee veterans, which we see because they're wearing shorts, earning a new, immediate exception to my "men in shorts" rule.
6:10: A bombastic tribute to Ron Paul. "No, no, I'm not going to be elected," he said to his wife. "To be elected, you've got to be like Santa Claus." Rand Paul says one thing he likes about his father is the lobbyists don't even bother to come by his office.
6:29: I found it hard to watch Mitch McConnell. I almost got out my sketchbook and pen, though, because his face says "Caricature me!" So I moved from C-SPAN over to CNN. (I'm recording both, and also Fox News.) They had an interview with Paul Ryan, in which Gloria Borger prodded him about how he felt when, as a 16-year-old boy, he discovered his father dead. Ryan moved on to how you have to live knowing you could die at any time, so Gloria asked why he didn't live fast and run right away for President. He said there were others who could do that job, but he was the only one would could father his young children. Gloria did not proceed to ask why then is he taking on the VP slot, but I guess that's a very short campaign period and, frankly, once you get it, it's a lot less work than chairing the House Finance Committee. Then Piers Morgan was interviewing Michele Bachmann, and the 2 of them agreed that Ann Romney was just lovely and then enthused about the "miracle" of the 2 of them agreeing, which Wolf Blitzer then echoed, sending me back to C-SPAN which was showing the on-stage entertainer, a horrifying aging rock singer who was belting the line "I'm back in the game" over and over.
6:30: Rand Paul: "You know when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were 'I still think it's unconstitutional.'" Pushed to reflect, he reflected, and he still thinks it's unconstitutional. "The whole damned thing is unconstitutional." Meade says, "He said 'damned.'" And then, more seriously: "What we have here is crazy old Ron Paul" — and Meade makes a Ron Paul face — "morphing into Rand Paul."
6:50: Video of the Bushes, 41 and 43, and their wives, Barbara and Laura. So they weren't entirely banished from this place. They are circumspect, yet charming, claiming their place in history without seeming the slightest bit arrogant. Old Bush even does his Dana Carvey imitation imitation: "Not gon' do it. Wouldn't be prudent."
7:00: John McCain. Why is he here and not George Bush? McCain lost. Bush won twice. Meade says: "Because Bush is through with politics." McCain gives a paean to foreign wars in the cause of freedom, and the crowd's response is tepid.
7:50: Danny Gokey — another "American Idol" person. Another Wisconsin person.
8:00: Rob Portman, the short-list guy who came up short. "We need Romney/Ryan and we need them now." He seems perfectly fine, but I am glad he was not Romney's choice. There's some insurmountable dullness about him, no matter what he says, no matter how enthusiastically.
8:31: Another VP also-ran, Tim Pawlenty. He's reading jokes. For example: Obama is "the tattoo President" — it seemed cool at the time, but you look at it and say "What was I thinking?"
9:15: Huckabee and Rice both gave very long speeches that were neither bad nor good. Here's some text from Rice's speech.
9:19: Biggest cheer of the night comes when Gov. Susana Martinez says: "I carried at 357 Smith & Wesson Magnum" (referring to her experience, as an 18-year-old, working for her parents security guard business, protecting the Catholic church at bingo times). She's a good speaker. A nice edge of passion in her voice. With toughness.
9:29: Both Meade and I thought: We may be looking at the first woman President of the United States.
9:30: Paul Ryan. Meade says: "He looks like a young JFK only healthy." I'm struck by this quote, directly attacking Obama: "I have never seen opponents so silent about their record and so desperate to keep their power. They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they've got left."
9:40: As Paul Ryan expresses his love for the state of Wisconsin, the C-SPAN camera closes in on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and we see there's a tear rolling down his cheek.
That was pointed out by Meade, who confesses to a tear of his own.
9:55: Paul Ryan gives a moving tribute to his mother, who, as a new widow, commuted 40 miles a day to Madison — to my school, the University of Wisconsin — to learn the skills she used to build a new business and a new life in which her happiness was not just in the past and to become his role model. After a long ovation from the crowd, Ryan moves into what will be the greatest iteration of what has been the convention's them: You did build that. He says:
Behind every small business, there's a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salon, hardware stores — these didn't come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small business people say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked 7 days a week in their place, nobody showed up in their place to open the door at 5 in the morning, nobody did their thinking and worrying and sweating for them. After all that work and in a bad economy, it sure doesn't help to hear from their President that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that!11:10: Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.