WASHINGTON, D.C., August 30, 2012 — Rep. Paul Ryan was effective, Gov. Susana Martinez was compelling, but on the second night at the Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice stole the show. Who knew that she could deliver a rousing political speech?
The former Secretary of State gave the best speech of the Republican National Convention so far. It was both substantive and inspiring. It wasn’t filled with just red meat for the Republican base. She spoke to the entire country, and she did it passionately and persuasively.
She spoke about foreign policy and domestic policy, and about opportunity, self-reliance, upward mobility, the American Dream, and America’s role in the world. “America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But … It took leadership, and it took courage, and it took belief in our values,” she said.
Rice also talked about the need for education reform. “Our greatest ally in controlling your response to your circumstances has been a quality education. But today, when I can look at your Zip Code and I can tell whether you’re going to get a good education, can I honestly say it doesn’t matter where you came from?..The crisis in K-12 education is a threat to the very fabric of who we are,” she said.
She described her personal journey: “A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be President of the United States and she becomes the secretary of state,” she said.
The message? The American Dream is real, and only in America is my story possible.
Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan also had a great performance. A large part of his speech was designed to gin up the base. He criticized President Obama for his lack of leadership. “Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House… What’s missing is leadership in the White House,” Ryan said.
But the moment that really humanized him was when he spoke about his mother and her courage after the death of his father. “She is my hero,” he said.
Now the stage is all set for Gov. Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan brought the fire power, and Condoleezza Rice added gravitas. Mitt Romney will need to offer a vision for the country.
Ayobami is a graduate student in George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. For questions, comments or story suggestions, contact him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aolugbemiga. Follow him on twitter @ayobamiao.
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