National Post Barbara Kay: Of all the convention speakers, ‘Condi’ is the ultimate winner

National Post - Wednesday September 12th, 2012

I am sure you’re eager for my spontaneous reactions to the U.S. party conventions. Actually, I’m eager to tell you. Close enough. So here goes.

Obama’s speech left me totally flat, as has every speech he’s ever made — I don’t believe a word he says comes from the heart — but Bill Clinton had me at hello.

Indeed, mesmerized by Bill, natural and authentically brilliant where Obama is constructed and teleprompted — maybe a mixed blessing to have Bill’s help? — and watching Bill get so pumped by the mass outpouring of affection (Romney’s the Mormon, but Clinton got the Big Love), I understood why the poor folks at Jonestown drank that poisoned Kool-Aid. That hall was one big ol’ revival tent.

No question, if God spares him and the creek don’t rise, it will be Hillary for pres and Bill for VP in 2016. I pity the poor GOP schmuck who goes up against that awesome duo.

Ryan didn’t disappoint. As for Romney, I quite like the guy, so I had my fingers crossed he wouldn’t be a disaster. Whew! Romney was good enough and that’s all I’m going to say about him. Ann Romney performed yeoman service deplastinating Mitt. But did she really need to throw in their pretend-poor phase, the eating tuna and pasta off the ironing board? Own your privilege, Ann. Americans don’t begrudge your wealth. It’s what they aspire to.

Did you ever see such a bevy of slim, chic, beautiful, confidently well-spoken women? (Toto, we’re not in Walmart anymore!) I thought of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, Bess Truman, Pat Nixon and Barbara Bush. Will future potential First Ladies or even Second Ladies — that Janna Ryan is adorable — ever be allowed to be frumpy again? And the men! All so handsome, slim and toned. Jut a wee bit “Stepford Spouses,” no?

Michelle’s speechwriter deserves a prize, and Michelle was more beautiful than I remember in 2008. Then I remember that hard, thrusting jawline. But first ladyship has softened her contours and fist-bumpy edge. Career-Lady persona fled, she was all helpmeet (“Oh my man, I love him soooo, he’ll never knooooow…”) and glowing Mom-in-Chief: 1950s doting womanliness extruded through 2012 muscle.

(Too bad she couldn’t resist that characteristic little feminist jab when she said that at the White House family dinner table Barack’s nobody special: “Really, he’s an afterthought…” Reminded me of when she told the world he didn’t pick up his smelly socks. Unseemly in the circs.)

Too irrelevantly lovey-dovey on both sides. Presidential success doesn’t hinge on fidelity or fatherhood. Reagan was alienated from his kids; Kennedy was a womanizer, not to mention Bill Clinton; reviled George Bush is an exemplary father and husband.

Booby prize: to the self-satisfied, smirky Sandra Fluke (rhymes with luck, not puke), a political non-entity whose issue is her horror at being responsible for $9 a month worth of contraceptives. If the rhetorically cack-handed Rush Limbaugh had not called her a “slut,” her 15 minutes of fame would have ended 15 minutes after her name surfaced.

Because she’s nobody, Fluke’s enforcer-style presence jarred. Her demonizing portrait of a Romney presidency skirted parody. Even the usually affable Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal flayed Fluke as “a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.” But the women’s vote is critical in this election. I found Fluke’s be-very-afraid shtick insulted women’s intelligence, but it might work.

Best in distaff show? Condoleezza Rice hit all the right notes, I thought. What a splendidly dignified woman she is. How modestly she wears her earned authority. And that elegant, rosy satin suit just hit the spot (sleeveless is just wrong for constant waving to 10 million viewers).

Condi didn’t waste time oiling Mitt’s stiff personal hinges or denigrating Obama. She didn’t pitch to women or to men, to minorities or whites, to haves or have-nots, Republicans or Democrats. She talked about big-picture America, about national declinism and its risks. Condi’s gravitas matched the historical importance of the occasion. She reminded us we need a true leader in the real war against America. Her maturity and sobriety made the Dems’ preening obsession with the mythical “war on women” seem childish, insufficient to the moment.

Something else struck me. I think she may have been the only woman there who wrote her own speech, or could be trusted to.

But this was all mere prologue. Debates are the thing, wherein we’ll catch the people’s choice of king. Bring ’em on.

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