Committee Of Correspondence

The Republican Convention

Herb Stein
1:57 p.m.  Friday  8/16/96

And so we say goodbye to sunny San Diego. The panelists seem to agree, with different degrees of intensity, that the convention did not deserve high marks for art, drama, education or truth-telling. By what standards they were graded is unclear. But they also seem to agree that the convention succeeded in achieving what its managers could have hoped to achieve. They achieved the negative virtue of avoiding a bitter fight, although I gather that Hitchens would have preferred to see a conflict followed by resolution. They succeeded to some extent in moderating the picture of the GOP as the exclusive province of white, mainly upper-middle-class, males. And they succeeded to some extent in distancing themselves from the Gingrich revolutionaries–as Gingrich himself seems to be trying to do. The question left by the convention is the one implied by Polsby and others. Since the convention is not going to be the scene of rational discussion, where are we going to find it? Being unable to answer that question I will proceed to hand out some awards: For the best overall performance–Elizabeth Dole For the funniest line–Newt Gingrich on freedom and beach volleyball For the most real and appealing person in the hall–Mrs. Molinari’s baby I thank the panel for an instructive and entertaining discussion, and for their patience in sitting through the proceedings and commenting so promptly. Until we meet again. Next week the panel will discuss, “Are We Importing Poverty with Immigrants?” The panelists will be:

  • George Borjas, professor of public policy at Harvard University.
  • Barry Chiswick, head of the department of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
  • Peter Skerry, visiting fellow in the governmental studies program at the Brookings Institution.
  • Sanford Ungar, dean of the school of communication at American University.