Convention diary, Part 5: Ryan’s song |

Convention diary, Part 5: Ryan’s song

Frieda Wallison
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

TAMPA, Fla. – If there was any question that Colorado will be a swing state in November’s election, it was dispelled by the lineup of speakers at the Colorado delegation breakfast Thursday morning. We were visited by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Gov. Bob McDonnell, of Virginia, who also chairs the Republican Governors Association.

At the convention Wednesday night, the roster of speakers leading up to Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech was again outstanding and demonstrated the depth and diversity of the Republican bench. Among them were Luis Fortuno, the governor of Puerto Rico; Rice, the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state; and Gov. Susana Martinez, of New Mexico, the first Latina to serve as a governor.

Rice spoke movingly of her early childhood in segregated Birmingham, Ala., where her parents taught her that she could aspire to become president of the United States even though she was not allowed, because of segregation, to buy a hamburger at the local Woolworth’s lunch counter. As we all know, the rest is history.

Martinez recounted her and her family’s odyssey from poor circumstances to business success and her personal story of becoming an attorney, district attorney and then governor. Along the way, she and her husband realized that their political principles were more in tune with those of the Republican Party, and they switched from being Democrats to Republicans.

The evening’s highlight was Ryan’s acceptance speech. He did not disappoint, with a speech that painted sharp contrasts between the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Obama-Biden ticket, stressed the urgency of changing the course we are on with ever-increasing and unsustainable debt and called for reform of entitlement programs, particularly Medicare, in order to save them and provide an effective safety net for those who need it.

Ryan noted the generational differences between himself and Romney with a humorous description of their contrasting musical tastes – the one listening to elevator music, the other with a playlist ranging from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin. He noted that this disparity might have been a deal-breaker in his selection to be Romney’s running mate.

Ryan’s speech was interrupted so many times by applause from the delegates and others in the convention hall that I stopped counting. The news Thursday morning reported that he received at least 60 standing ovations as he was speaking. He clearly touched on a number of themes that were important to the audience, and he received thunderous applause that almost drowned out the final words of his speech.

My husband and I closed out the evening with a Kid Rock concert at Liberty Plaza, one of the convention venues. As if my hearing had not been sufficiently threatened by the applause inside the convention hall, the band at the concert afterward finished the job.

It was lots of fun to see and hear Kid Rock perform to an enthusiastic audience of mostly 20- and 30-somethings. I was reminded of Ryan’s description of the generational disparity in music preferences.

Once again, we arrived at our hotel at a late hour and with hope that we could get some sleep to fortify ourselves for the final day’s events.

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