Verbatim Byron York:
Overall, though, Christie’s address, which focused largely on his own accomplishments in New Jersey and was light on attacks on President Obama, failed to convey the spirit -- the essential Christie-ness -- that millions have seen in YouTube videos of the New Jersey governor in action. Watching Christie's speech was a reminder that most, if not all, of the great Chris Christie moments we've seen have been spontaneous encounters between Christie and others, usually hostile encounters in which Christie flamboyantly puts down some jerk who was unwise enough to take him on. What Christie is not as famous for is the big set-piece speech, and that was his task Tuesday night in Tampa.Shorter Byron York:
Chris Christie's speech failed last night because he wasn't enough of a dick. It's a shame he squandered this opportunity to show a prime-time national-TV audience the full flower of his dickishness.
UPDATE: Same complaint from Ann Coulter:
"I love Chris Christie," she told Whispers from the convention floor, where she arrived just as the governor took the stage. "But I could have seen a little more of an attack. Which speaker attacks Obama? I thought that was going to happen with him."And National Review's Robert Costa:
He may be a YouTube sensation, best known for arguing with lefty hecklers, but Governor Chris Christie’s keynote speech late Tuesday was a temperate oration, forceful yet muted....But Monica Crowley at FoxNews.com is describing this as a feature not a bug:
Christie's approach was a marked departure from previous Republican keynote addresses, which have often featured a rising politician willing to blast the Democratic nominee.
Nobody last night launched direct attacks on President Obama. Nobody had to: his catastrophic record speaks for itself. Everybody knows how bad he and his policies truly are.This Crowley piece was the lead link at Fox Nation for a while this morning, so this may be a message the right and the GOP are planning to emphasize in the weeks to come: We're the nice guys; Obama and his Chicago thugs are the trash-talking haters. (Good luck with that....)
The Republicans in Tampa instead focused on elevating the discourse: pointing out the current president's failures while talking about how to get us out of the deep ditch he's dug for the nation. Instead of falling for the temptation (and the bait laid by the Democrats) to fight from a negative premise and with negative attacks, the GOP speakers fought from the high ground. They are fighting to lead, yes. But they are fighting to lead with meaning -- the positive meaning of an American restoration.