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Paul Ryan no Sarah Palin. Dan Quayle, maybe

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan addresses Republican National ConventiTampFla. Wednesday Aug. 29 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Updated: October 1, 2012 5:43PM



Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan introduced himself to the rest of America on Wednesday night, telling them he’s ready to help Mitt Romney lead them back to prosperity.

My first impression: He looks like he’d make a very good congressman. Lucky for the Republicans they’ve got a responsible adult on the ticket in Romney.

Running the country is about more than giving a good speech, as Republicans have been reminding us for four years — beginning about the same time they nominated Sarah Palin.

Paul Ryan is no Sarah Palin either, and I mean that in a good way. More like a smart Dan Quayle, with a cowlick.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice turned in a more impressive performance in deftly skewering President Barack Obama without mentioning him by name.

Rice looked like a candidate for something beyond another term as secretary of state — while matching the president in both stature and, not coincidentally, skin color. Chris Christie wouldn’t have a chance against her in 2016, not that there will necessarily be an opening on the Republican side.

For most of the night, the convention played out like a sequel to the documentary-length negative campaign commercial from the opening session. Call it: Obama, That Bum. Part II.

“No more years. No more years,” GOP delegates chanted at the urging of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty showed he’s been working on a stand-up act since dropping out of the presidential race.

In Pawlenty’s string of one-liners: “You know, President Obama isn’t as bad as people say, he’s actually worse (rimshot).”

A succession of speakers continued to paint Obama as a president who will “take our freedom,” “bankrupt our nation,” and foist failed European-style socialism on us.

Most Americans, of course, have never been to Europe, but they have heard about it — and some, I gather, are worried about the prospect of women not shaving their body hair.

Wednesday’s added theme was that Obama has screwed us up on the international scene as well, with his vanquished 2008 opponent John McCain all but calling him a traitor and a wimp.

The alleged wimp-out: not duking it out with Russia and China over the Middle East so that we could add wars in Iran and Syria to our other two. The traitorous part: endangering our soldiers by leaking “secrets of their heroic operations to the media.” Oh, please.

I realize speeches at a political convention are reaching out to two audiences, the party faithful and the undecided, and I am neither. But the demonizing of Obama just seems way over the top.

You say Democrats did the same with George Bush. Yeah, probably, but he deserved it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky got the insult spitball rolling early.

“He hasn’t been working to earn re-election. He’s been working to earn a spot on the PGA tour,” McConnell said of the president, possibly confusing him with Michael Jordan.

They may all look alike to McConnell. Tall golfers, that is.

Still, a president’s golf game is always fair game. Like Jordan, he should have stuck with hoops.

Then it was Sen. Rand Paul, McConnell’s Kentucky cohort, back to harping on Obama’s “you didn’t build that” insult. As I said yesterday, I understand why that ticks off some people, just as I think I understand what the president was trying to say, not that he did it very well.

When the Democrats get their turn next week, they’re going to need to spend some time dealing with the subject, and like it or not, Obama himself ought to address it directly.

It’s also well and good for Republicans to make an issue of the president’s health care plan, Obamacare if you will, and for Romney to pledge to repeal it.

But I’ve long since grown weary of the type of rhetoric we heard from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that Obamacare, despite being upheld by the Supreme Court, is somehow an example of Obama’s “total disregard for our individual liberty.”

“It is time to stop those who ignore the Constitution when it’s expedient!” shouted Bondi. “It is time to remember that our rights are not a gift from government, but from God, and that by His grace we will defend them!”

Hallelujah! The Republicans are back.



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