Report Card

Here, for what it’s worth (and I’m sure it’s not worth much) are the grades I assigned to last night’s speakers. These are primarily for presentation, not content. They’re mostly quite high, which is unsurprising because of course these people were chosen largely for their skill as presenters. I’m sure that some of them would have gotten different grades if they’d spoken a half hour earlier or later, when I was worse or better fed. I am not prepared to defend these grades terribly vigorously, but maybe they’ll provoke some interesting discussion:

Sher Valenzuela A+
Kelly Ayotte A
Jack Gilchrist A-
John Kasich A
Mary Fallin B-
Bob McDonnell B+
Bev Gray B+
Scott Walker A/A-
Brian Sandoval B
Phil Archuletta E
Rick Santorum A
Ted Cruz B+
Artur Davis A
Nikki Haley A
Ann Romney A/A+
Chris Christie A++

Edited to add: That E for Phil Archuletta is not a mistake; that was a legitimate grade at every school I ever attended from K-12, and it’s a legitimate grade here at the University of Rochester.

Unless I grossly misunderstood him, Archuletta’s primary gripe against the Obama Administration is that he, Phil Archuletta, did not get his share of the stimulus money. His personal story (about building a business based almost entirely on government contracts) seemed oddly out of place at this convention. He confessed to initial enthusiasm for the stimulus because he thought he’d benefit, followed by disillusion when he discovered he wasn’t a winner. I do not think this is a winning message for the Romney campaign.

Share/Save

16 Responses to “Report Card”


  1. 1 1 Bennett Haselton

    Phil Archuletta got an “E”?

    (What is it with Republicans and misplaced “e”s? Hey, Quayle jokes. Timely aren’t I.)

  2. 2 2 wintercow20
  3. 3 3 David R. Henderson

    Steve, You left out Mia Love. How do you rate her? I thought it was pretty good.

  4. 4 4 Ken B

    I love the conventions too. They allow me as a non-voter a chance to ostentatiously ignore the whole thing.

  5. 5 5 Dave

    Steven – not that it’s any of our business but if you care to divulge, who would you like to see win?

    My feel is that you would prefer an all Libertarian party presidency, congress and senate or at least a Ron Paul presidency. But that’s just a guess….you’ve surprised me in so many of your writings and posts that I half expect you to vote for a resurrected Mussolini.

  6. 6 6 Steve Landsburg

    David R. Henderson: I missed Mia Love. Will catch her on YouTube soon.

  7. 7 7 Steve Landsburg

    Dave:

    Steven – not that it’s any of our business but if you care to divulge, who would you like to see win?

    None of them.

  8. 8 8 Ken B

    @Dave: You need to phrase carefully with a man as clever and circumspect as Steve. You need to ask which he would prefer to win, not like to win.

  9. 9 9 nobody.really

    I caught some of the convention on public radio while walking the dog.

    Various governors seemed to struggle with the Catch-22 of saying, “Obama has destroyed the economy – except in my state, where everything’s fine!” (I didn’t catch Christie’s speech, but I expect he was blissfully free of this rhetorical obstacle.)

    When asked about Obama’s role in subsidizing the auto industry, Ohio Governor Kasich (or was it the Michigan governor?) kept answering in passive voice: “Sure, the auto bail-out was something that needed to be done, and was done.” E.J.Dionne compared said this was the positive-spin equivalent of Nixon’s “Mistakes were made” – a grudging acknowledgement of deeds combined with a dogged refusal to acknowledge the doer.

    While I mostly heard stuff that I’d heard before, I had not previously heard the statistics offered by Virginia Governor McDonnell – e.g., states with Republic governors tend to have better economic performance than states with Democratic governors. So I give him points for novelty – something that’s hard to achieve this late into a political campaign.

  10. 10 10 Zachary Shrier

    The only disagreement I have with Steve is his high grade for Rick Santorum. In reality, Rick’s endless extended metaphor about “Hands” was one of the clumsiest rhetorical devices ever heard on the big stage. For example: “I shook the hand of the American Dream. And it has a strong grip.” Shaking the hand of a dream?? C’mon. He rates a C+ at best.

  11. 11 11 Steve Landsburg

    Zachary Shrier: Point well taken re the clumsy metaphor.

  12. 12 12 Neil

    Wow. Talk about grade inflation. Everyone gets As and Bs except poor old Archuletta. Whatever happened to the gentleman’s C? Do you grade this generously in class?

  13. 13 13 Ken B

    @Neil: These are politicians. There are no gentlemen.

  14. 14 14 nobody.really

    Wow. Talk about grade inflation. Everyone gets As and Bs except poor old Archuletta. Whatever happened to the gentleman’s C? Do you grade this generously in class?

    Oh, yeah. He gave all those Oberlin students grades of “Honors +” and higher.

  15. 15 15 pabrams52

    Someone left the room for a sandwich at the wrong time! Is there a reason you left off Susana Martinez’s name? She was fantastic – definitely an A+.

  16. 16 16 Bradley Calder

    Can you elaborate more on your thoughts about Gov. Christie?

Comments are currently closed.