Just a few, because I'm worn out from it still and need to think about other things.
- I think Jeff Kouba calls the signs of the Gingrich win in the straw poll correctly:
The fact Newt Gingrich won the straw poll with about 40% of the vote was not, in my opinion, a strong call for Newt to run, but rather it was the expression of a desire for the kind of conservative Newt once was, especially the 1994 Newt.We want Minority Leader Newt, Platform Newt, Contract with America Newt. We don't want Speaker Newt. Speaker Newt ended up blinking in a staredown with Clinton -- not necessarily terrible, since many others did too, but not the leadership we sought. I agree with Jeff that this is about ideals and vision, not necessarily who Republicans want to lead them in 2008.
- Was my open letter satisfied by Pawlenty's speech? Somewhat. He was speaking to people like me by acknowledging disagreements. But give your critics enough credit to know we'll disagree with you a little more often than your wife does. And when talking about cutting taxes, it didn't help to say cutting would be done strategically and practically. Cut. Control. There are no adverbs permitted here. I feel better about Pawlenty now than I did last week, but not by as much as he might have hoped.
- I just missed all the fun with Franken, because I ended up standing too much and getting a bad cramp in a thigh muscle. (Me no sexy beast.) I was standing all that time because I got to hear a pitch to the faithful in a private reception with Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman was already rallying people to his cause, and wondered with me why the good news of the economy isn't better reported. (Of course, he does this on the day the lower-than-average jobs number comes out.)
- Speaking of sexy beasts, Chad and I got to see a very dapper "Quentin from Zimmerman" at the convention. Quentin is a legendary caller. He was asking for two additional planks in the platform. Later that night when we turned up the sound from the floor on the show, Quentin was at a mic offering one of his planks.
- It was hard for me to hear the debate over the rules Thursday night, but reports were that some were dissatisfied that not only could not nominate candidates for endorsement from the floor but also did not get enough time to debate the rules that said so. Mark Yost tells me that on his show Saturday, Sue Jeffers announced she would run in the primary anyway. Are you sure this was better than giving her thirty minutes at the convention? But it did make for a better managed convention. Which is why I found it strange for the bloggers and other observers to kvetch about the absence of a full house: People come to debate and vote, but organizers want a polished presentation for the media. It's like going to see Jay Leno but knowing all the jokes in advance and knowing the taping takes nine hours. Would you show up?