One of the many things that impressed me last night was the tear in Scott Walker’s eye while Ryan was speaking.
That teardrop resonated with the commentary on blogs that are usually so critical and cynical. Simply put, a lot of people on the right got all choked up.
As for me—I don’t much like speeches ordinarily, but this one certainly held my attention, and I was moved by it in a way I’m not usually, although not to tears.
What made it different? I could use a cheap word like “charisma,” but that really is just a shorthand for something inexplicable. I think Ryan’s appeal is greater than charisma. He’s something unique in political life right now, a person who seems sincere. Not just fake-sincere, but honestly sincere (as Conrad Birdie might say). And also passionate, and able to convey that intensity along cool smarts. Both hot and cold, in other words.
And of course good-looking doesn’t hurt. But good-looking wouldn’t matter much if the other factors weren’t there.
Last night Ryan wielded a stiletto, or perhaps a hammer, on Obama and the left. He did it with brains, a smile, and an earnest do-good quality that would melt the heart of any mother, grandparent, father (or girlfriend). As in that recent Onion parody (“Do you get chills just thinking about how strong my appeal actually is?”), the left recognizes all of this, and will set out to destroy him, immediately.