The second full night of the Republican National Convention offered additional hints as to future presidential candidates. This article identifies which of the speakers may have launched themselves on that path and which did not.
In two prior pingroof.com articles, Watch 2012 convention speeches to identify 2016 contenders and Future presidential candidates at the GOP Convention, we explained that an impressive convention speech is often a launching pad for future presidential nomination success.
Wednesday, August 29 was day two of the convention. Both stellar and terrible presentation skills were on display.
One improvement was the abandonment of the business owner speeches that seemed so wooden on Tuesday night. Instead, the convention organizers wisely featured interviews with business owners. The interviews, being less presentation intensive, allowed the interviewees and the audience to focus on information rather than delivery.
Perhaps Senator Mitch McConnell, KY, offered the worst presentation skills example of the night. McConnell has a stone-faced continence that, when combined with round glasses covering his eyes, gives him the personality, and the look, of a fish. His delivery was matter of fact, even cold blooded. In McConnell’s defense, he is not seeking to be a dynamic presenter. He also will not be disappointed with poor presentation scores.
A second disappointment was Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño. The Governor His presentation looked promising. A little-known Republican governor of a highly Democratic territory who has balanced his budget was attractive to the convention goers. His speech, unfortunately, sunk into blandness.
Vice Presidential runners up Ohio Governor Rob Portman and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty fared better. Both men displayed some dynamism, although with none of the style and passion of Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Portman’s presentation was a straightforward one. Pawlenty’s was filled with semi-funny one-liners, almost as if the speech were written by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno staff.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee were more compelling. Their content was interesting, their presence was dynamic, and their delivery was engaging. Given that Huckabee ran for President in 2008, his time is likely past. Martinez may be a future presidential contender.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were even better. Paul delivered his speech in a conversational tone that was both relaxing and intimate. His opening paragraph—where he shared that he thought “Obamacare” was illegal, paused, and then said he still thinks it is illegal—was an attractive hook for his entire presentation. Paul is a likely future presidential contender.
Rice delivered her presentation without a teleprompter. Aided by some notes, she spoke passionately, directly, and specifically about her perceptions of what needs to be corrected to keep America strong. It was a tour de force. Rice has emphatically stated that she has no interest in running for political office but, given the strength of her presentation, she could if she wished to.
Finally, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan took the stage. He quickly demonstrated why he was the nominee. His presentation was the best of the night. It was humble, sincere, and specific. In criticizing the Obama administration, Ryan managed to be both devastating and warm. Ryan also managed to lightly make fun of the music the Romney team listens to as old. He advanced, regardless of the election results, his own future presidential likelihood.