One convention down, one to go. A few notes about the Republican National Convention:
Jeb Bush and Students Come First. As state schools Superintendent Tom Luna looks to sell his K-12 overhaul to the Idaho electorate in November, he leaves the GOP convention with a little money, and a little plug.
On Wednesday, the former Florida governor hosted a fund-raiser that netted at least $100,000 for Yes for Idaho Education, the group campaigning on behalf of the Students Come First overhaul.
Then, on Thursday, Bush brought up Students Come First in a convention speech.
Idahos governor, (Butch) Otter and Superintendent Luna are raising up the best teachers and separating out the ineffective ones. That earned some enemies. Some of them slashed the superintendents tires. But he didnt back down.
I sense a recurring storyline coming on, heading into the Nov. 6 referenda on the three Students Come First laws: Luna, the reformer, standing up to political goonery. I do feel compelled to note the record, for the second time this week. This vandalism complaint was reported while the 2011 Legislature was locked in a heated debate over the Luna proposals, but the case has never been resolved. In the absence of a criminal charge, speculation about this incident is just that: speculation. And in Bushs case, its speculation from afar.
Sorry to begrudge a guy for trying to squeeze every last mile from a slashed set of tires.
The Bush-Luna connections go back at least to late 2010 when Luna was working on the overhauls he would unveil at the start of the 2011 session. Luna met with Bush during a national education summit sponsored by Bush. In June 2011, Bush spoke to a committee assembled to implement the Students Come First technology-in-the-classroom component.
If you needed further proof that the Students Come First election will have national reverberations, the convention provided it.
The Romney speech. For what he had to do on a national stage launching the sprint to November Romney did what was needed.
He laid out his priorities, albeit in broad strokes. He made clear that he will campaign on the jobs issue and adhered closely to this theme, deviating only occasionally to talk about foreign policy and social issues. He told his personal story to a national audience.
Perhaps it sounded a bit old hat to Idaho Republicans, especially those who have supported Romney since his 2008 run. But this speech was tailored to the undecided voters, what few of them there are, and was designed to avoid risk. Done and done.
If Romney dwelled a bit too much on family anecdotes, theres this: Theyre tougher to fact-check. (And lets be fair: the fact-checkers have had their hands full with Wednesday nights speech from the vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan.)
And if the speech sounded a bit too polished, consider the alternative: a painful-to-watch Clint Eastwood. The legend behind The Unforgiven gave us the unintelligible. Ouch.
The lie by omission. It took only hours for Ryans speech to get sliced and diced, and dissected and dismissed, by the factcheckers and the pundits.
From where I sat watching, like many Americans, to get a first long look at this nominee Ryans biggest lie was one of omission.
Criticizing President Obamas lack of leadership on the budget, Ryan accurately pointed out that the president did nothing with the recommendations that came from his own bipartisan debt commission. The Simpson-Bowles panel so named for former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton recommended a $4 trillion deficit-cutting plan that included spending cuts and tax increases.
What Ryan failed to note was that he sat on that commission, and, in December 2010, voted against the Simpson-Bowles plan.
Eleven of the 18 committee members voted yes including Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, who had to swallow hard to accept some unpopular pieces of the plan. And thats what it will take to solve the deficit problem: tough, unpopular decisions. Crapos courageous vote resonates a little more with me today.
In terms of rising to the moment, Ryan scored. He came across as passionate, tough, personable and smart.
And maybe a bit too clever.
Ryan is absolutely right to excoriate Obamas leadership (or lack of same) on the deficit. If youre looking for the biggest failing of this presidency, start right there.
But for a nominee who said he wanted to level with Americans about the budget crisis, Ryan did a lousy job of being honest about himself.
Kevin Richert: 377-6437, Twitter: @KevinRichert