We’re back at the head-to-head matchups on day two, with a tied game following yesterday’s amazing 5-5 tie. In case you missed it, I’m looking at the final 10 speakers from each night of the convention, comparing their speeches, deciding who did better, and then adding up the scores and seeing who had the better convention.
10. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul vs. CarMax co-founder and former CEO Austin Ligon. Sen. Paul had one of the most well-received speeches at the RNC, given that he drew the approbation of both the mainstream delegates and the minority Paulites. Ligon, on the other hand, was a bit of a bore. I know why the Democrats had two CEOs in their final 10 speeches — they need to demonstrate that some business leaders do, in fact, support the Democrats. But folks like Ligon always seem a little bland when they have to be on the same bill with a bunch of politicians (read: professional speech makers). (Democrats 0, Republicans 1)
9. Arizona Sen. John McCain vs. Karen Eusanio. Eusanio was the last of the American Voices speakers, a group of average Americans
willing to be used as political props by the Democrats invited to speak at the convention. Unlike most of the non-pro speakers, she actually did pretty good describing her journey as an autoworker under the near-disintegration of the auto industry and its subsequent bailout. McCain, on the other hand, sounded tired, and the crowd greeted him with awkward applause. (Democrats 1, Republicans 1)
8. South Dakota Sen. John Thune vs. UAW President Bob King. Boring vs. boring. Give the point to Thune because, after the CarMax CEO and the autoworker, even more talk about the auto bailout began to cause eyes to glaze over. (Democrats 1, Republicans 2)
7. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman vs. Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt and David Foster. Portman, oft-pegged as a boring milquetoast, actually had a pretty good speech. Johnson, Hewitt, and Foster were all people laid off after Bain Capital took over the companies for which they worked. The trio felt even more manipulative than the American Voices speakers. (Democrats 1, Republicans 3)
6. Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno vs. Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen. The governor of Puerto Rico was approximately the 5,812th Hispanic to speak at the Republican convention, and one of the best. Van Hollen came off like Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday — good speech, but mostly forgettable. (Democrats 1, Republicans 4)
5. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty vs. women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke. Fluke went out and killed it. Pawlenty was as sleepy as usual. (Democrats 2, Republicans 4)
4. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee vs. Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal. Again, a boring CEO. Nice job Dems. Huckabee went out there and knocked out some truly authentic arch-conservative gibberish. It was weird and creepy but extremely successful. (Democrats 2, Republicans 5)
3. Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice vs. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Much as I love Elizabeth Warren, I have to give this to Condi. The former Sec. of State turned in the best speech of the night. Warren’s was pretty good, but that sarcastic “hmph” that peppered her speech started to get grating after a while. (Democrats 2, Republicans 6)
2. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vs. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Both of these were simply intros to the main event. But Gov. Martinez, the 27,982nd Hispanic to speak at the Republican National Convention, definitely left a greater impression. Villaraigosa was on and off the stage in moments. (Democrats 2, Republicans 7)
1. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan vs. former President Bill Clinton. Clinton, obviously. We all know what I think of Ryan’s speech, and Clinton’s one of the greatest orators of our time. Props especially go to Clinton for calling Ryan out on some of his bullshit. (Democrats 3, Republicans 7)
And the Republicans take the lead with a 3-7 night, bringing the total score to 8-12. The Democrats better have a hell of a night tomorrow if they intend to mount a comeback. We’ll see. The Dems have backloaded their convention with some heavyhitters, including their version of Artur Davis, Charlie “Big Slick” Crist, Joe Biden, and, of course, Barack Obama himself.