Will Wilkinson’s takeaway:
Paul Ryan demonstrated that he is an appealing, energetic campaigner comfortable with the sort of looseness with facts voters perpetually reward. This somewhat sullies his reputation as a plainspoken, fact-oriented numbers guy, but Mitt Romney hired a running mate, not an actuary, and an able running mate is what Mr Ryan is proving to be. That said, despite his capacity for relatively substantive discourse, Mr Ryan’s youthful looks and tenor vocals made him feel slightly light, especially when compared to Condoleezza Rice, who in her speech earlier in the evening had the gravitas of a neutron star.
John Hinderaker raves:
Ryan laid out the differences between conservatism–the American tradition–on the one hand, and liberalism on the other, as well as anyone ever has.
Jim Geraghty goes so far as to compare Ryan to Reagan:
This speech, and his warmth and sense of connection when delivering it, almost unnerved me. I started worrying that I was seeing what I wanted to see, that I was hyping a pretty good speech delivered pretty well in my own mind. Except my Twitter feed was exploding. The delegates were going nuts. And it just seemed to be getting better and better as it went on. Conversational, direct, funny, detailed… this was Reaganesque, guys.
Most of the millions of people who watched the speech on television tonight do not read fact-checks or obsessively consume news 15 hours a day, and will never know how much Ryan’s case against Obama relied on lies and deception. Ryan’s pants are on fire, but all America saw was a barn-burner.
Joe Klein calls Ryan’s speech “effective” but laments that there “was absolutely no plausible vision of the future”:
Ryan talked about the “supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.” He said we were in danger of living in “a country where everything is free but us.” And that’s pretty much where he lost me. We actually live in a country with a modest but useful social safety net that is in need of reform. We live in a country where it is easier to start and build a business than any other advanced industrial democracy. We live in a country with a tattered, outdated regulatory apparatus that needs serious attention. We live in a country where the moneyed elite pays fewer taxes and suffers fewer restrictions than it has in nearly a century. Those who object to the influence that this elite wields are not criticizing success; they are criticizing plutocracy, which crushes true democracy.
Elspeth Reeve’s found Ryan’s speech a little thin:
Ryan is supposed to be really good at explaining policy to the masses. But he didn’t explain much policy tonight. There were way more applause lines. … His job tonight was to help tell the story of who Mitt Romney is, so maybe there wasn’t room for specifics. But it shows you that so many people are bad at math that all you have to do is say you’re good at math and everyone believes you.
Suderman fears Ryan’s policy ideas have been discarded:
[Ryan] made his name as an energetic Medicare reformer, someone who believed the program wasn’t working, was too expensive, and needed to be changed. But tonight, in the most prominent speech of his career, he chose to defend the idea that the program was not only worth preserving but worth defending from any and all of the other party’s cuts. That may or may not be good for his political career, but it’s hard to see how it will be good for his policy reforms. He’s helped join his party to the cause of mindlessly protecting the program he says he wants to reform.
Ed Kilgore fears they haven’t:
[T]here was nothing of his radical social agenda. It was all sizzle and no steak. But the delegates knew what he actually stands for, so they loved it. His views are so well known that he didn’t even have to issue that many dog whistles.
Ezra Klein questions how the big speakers are selling Romney:
Chris Christie and Paul Ryan hit the same themes. We have hard choices facing us. We need leaders who won’t flinch before those choices. Leaders who won’t be deterred by the polls. Leaders who won’t compromise their principles. Leaders who won’t duck the tough issues. Leaders who won’t hide the hard truths. That description arguably works for Christie and Ryan. That’s their brand, even if it’s selectively applied. But whether you love Romney or you hate him, do these lines really sound like a description of him? Is his political history really that of a bold, poll-defying, truth-talker?
And Josh Barro argues that “many of the criticisms he leveled against Barack Obama apply equally to his and Mitt Romney’s own records”:
The central attack in the speech is one that I agree with: The Obama administration is out of ideas and adrift on economic policies. “They have run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they’ve got left.” But the speech did not make the case that Romney and Ryan would succeed where Obama has failed.