More Context

When I first heard about Gallup’s poll of reactions to the Republican convention, I thought they’d said that reactions to Romney’s speech were only better than Bob Dole’s in 1996. That’s not correct. Gallup has only been tracking the question back to 1996. And Romney’s fared worse than any of the convention speeches back those 16 years.In other words, Dole’s 1996 speech and McCain’s 2008 speech both drew higher ratings than Romney’s last week.

For additional context, Dole’s went so poorly that the Clinton campaign used the speech’s central metaphor as the centerpiece of its own campaign for the remainder of the campaign. Dole said “Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action … To those who say it was never so, that American has not been better, I say, you’re wrong, and I know, because I was there. And I have seen it. And I remember.” Clinton took Dole’s invitation to return to the America of the 1920s and flipped it into his commitment to “build a bridge to the 21st century.”

McCain, you’ll remember, reprised his earlier Green Screen performance and gave his speech in front of a mammoth picture of a middle school in North Hollywood.