The Republican convention in Tampa will go down in history – not because all of it was spectacular – it wasn’t – but because the parts of it that were, surpassed expectations.

Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the women – yes, conservative women holding elected office not because of their sex or heritage but because voters considered them the best to serve.

And they gave terrific speeches, too, holding their own against the men and, in many cases, doing a better job.

But it wasn’t a competition; it was a showcase of the new generation of Republicans – the young Turks who are ready to move the party into the future.

It was their opportunity to step into the spotlight, presenting their experience with the magic that has been the history of the United States – the freedom and opportunity this country offers to those who really do seek a better life for themselves, their children and grandchildren.

It isn’t the old GOP. The time has passed when candidates are chosen because it’s “their turn.” Republicans tried that, and it didn’t work in spectacular fashion – think Dole and McCain.

There are new names on the marquee. While there are some who feel Mitt Romney doesn’t carry the “excitement” some want, he is qualified for the job and surrounded by an amazing group of individuals – and I use that word intentionally.

Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate surprised many. He’s so young. He’s so unknown. He’s too inexperienced.


Romney showed his business-like skill in choosing someone who complements his own achievements and who will serve with a focus on the prime issue facing Americans today: the economy.

In addition to that, Ryan is smart, clever and has a sense of humor.

We need a reason to smile these days, and we aren’t getting it from the opposition in the White House.

It’s all we can do to keep from crying.

I’ve seen my share of political conventions and heard my share of political speeches.

Unfortunately, most weren’t memorable and most catered to the powers that be, assuming the numb-brained electorate would do what the consultants predicted: vote for the ticket that would give away as much of the public treasury as traffic would bear.

They assume when the pols are handing out free money, people – read that sheep-like voters – will do whatever they’re told.

There’s no better example of that than the campaign that elected the man now in the Oval Office.

You know the guy, Barack Obama. The man the GOP opposition – read that John McCain – so feared that even his legitimate middle name was verboten.

If you’ve forgotten, it’s Hussein.

Ooooooh. Be careful. Mentioning that word might stir up the people who get stirred up by reminders that certain folks in certain parts of the world have a tendency to get stirred up into what some call violence at anything they interpret as an insult or a slight.

It’s gotten so bad that the man who is president bends over backward to kowtow to those certain folks, so as not to stir them up.

It’s presented problems because while the U.S. is in the midst of the worst economic crisis ever, we’re also at war against an enemy that the man in the Oval Office can’t – or won’t – identify.

He’s always careful not to stir things up even as our troops are being killed every day, many in acts of betrayal by the people we’re told are friends.

It’s war and it’s politics and it’s something the administration avoids mentioning. One wonders how the Democrats will treat it during their convention.

Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench at the GOP with Hurricane Isaac threatening Tampa and then moving on to Mississippi and Louisiana, causing devastation.

The GOP cut a day from the schedule, but the show went on and what a show!

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a revelation. He was strong, purposeful, humorous and to the point. The man who many expected to erupt into a Vesuvius of invective, instead stirred family values, loyalty and patriotism. He spoke of honesty and courage to do what’s right.

It gave me chills. It was so wonderful to hear a politician praise the values that made this country great and who spoke of the courage it takes to do what’s right and not just what’s expedient.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did the same. He had the strength to speak for the generations who came to this country with nothing and worked hard for a better life for their children.

Both he and Christie spoke for millions of Americans, and it’s about time we hear politicians speak that way.

But who would have dreamed a Hollywood icon would steal the headlines with an appearance that humorless Democrats still can’t figure out but realistic and patriotic conservatives cheered?

That’s exactly what Clint Eastwood did.

What appeared to be a haphazard presentation was, in reality, a masterful thumb-in-the-eye of the thin-skinned man who is president.

Acting casual, informal and mentally scattered, Eastwood nailed Obama on terror trials, Guantanamo, the war in Afghanistan, the economy, unemployment, the meddling of lawyers, and politicians only seeking re-election.

Then, he summed it up beautifully:  “We own this country. … Politicians are employees of ours,” and if they do “not do the job, we got to let them go.”

You got that right, Clint

With those words, you made my day!

Thank you.

Follow Barbara Simpson on Facebook.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.