For what it's worth, my ranking of the top speakers last night would be first Ann Romney who delivered a knock-out of a speech displaying her natural charm and ability to express her love for Mitt in a political context. Then I would place Artur Davis's speech. It fit the argument that the Republicans are making in trying to appeal to former Obama supporter who are disappointed in what the President has done in the last 3 1/2 years. I liked Chris Christie's speech. I know that people are griping that he spoke mostly about himself and what he did in New Jersey rather than Mitt Romney. But he also put forth an important message that it is time that we had politicians who spoke the truth to us instead of making gauzy promises that they can't fulfill. And he topped off an evening highlighting Republican governors who are implementing successful policies that are strengthening their states' economies in contrast Democratic governors who are presiding over fiscal calamities in their states. John Kasich was the most impressive of those governors who came to the stage last night. I've liked him since his days as House Budget Chairman in the 1990s. It was fitting that he could be at the podium speaking to a convention as another Budget Chairman is nominated to be vice president.
I know that their were criticisms by some Republicans that there wasn't enough red meat attacking Obama and his record last night. But there is time enough for that as the campaign goes forward. It was better to put forth our positive message. It would have been especially unattractive to have gone into full attack mode just as the hurricane was pounding the Gulf Coast.
I predict the Democrats will spend a lot less time on their positive message than on their attacks on Republicans. And I wonder which Democratic governors have had equivalent success that the DNC can cast a spotlight on.
Here are some more reactions to last night's convention.
Robert Costa reports that it was a conscious decision for Christie not to be an attack dog in his speech but to set up the party's vision of government. And the contrast to the Democrats is stark.
Chris Cillizza puts forth the winners and losers from the first night.
Jennifer Rubin explains how Ann Romney met expectations and that Chris Christie was a force of nature last night.
Peggy Noonan thinks that Ann Romney missed an opportunity to testify to personal stories about what her husband has done to help individuals. She also says that it was just right not to go for the red meat attacks on Obama last night.
John Podhoretz thinks that last night "couldn't possibly have gone any better for Mitt Romney." Ann Romney provided the loving heart and Chris Christie stiffened our spines.
Michael Barone had the same thought that I had when Chris Christie talked about how it's better to be respected than loved - that this was reminiscent of Machiavelli's advice that a prince should prefer to be feared than loved. Maybe it's because I was just teaching Machiavelli last week in my European history class that this comparison struck me.