The Slatest

Conservatives Did Not Like Hillary’s Speech, Did Like Her Convention

Hillary Clinton acknowledges the crowd at the end on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Conservatives—those who have not yet embraced Donald Trump—have been giving the Democratic National Convention largely positive reviews this week. On Monday, Michelle Obama earned plaudits from conservatives for a speech full of “heart, poetry and grace.” On Wednesday, President Barack Obama was compared by conservatives to Ronald Reagan. The final day was more of a mixed bag—Hillary Clinton’s big speech faced heavy criticism, but other key parts of the program brought longtime Republicans to tears. Overall, the response was fairly consistent: This had been a good week for the Democratic Party.

Let’s start with the criticism of Hillary’s speech. Most disliked Clinton stylistically and felt that she drove away center-right voters by articulating a liberal policy agenda.

Former Reagan and H.W. Bush speechwriter John Podhoretz:

Fox News contributor Guy Benson:

Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes:

Commentary’s Noah Rothman:

Red State’s Erick Erickson:

Former Ted Cruz aide Amanda Carpenter:

Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein:

Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson:

Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway:

Still, many conservatives were able to acknowledge that—even if they weren’t fond of Clinton’s speaking style or substance—the messaging of her speech was effective and the optics were good.

Republican strategist Mike Murphy:

National Review’s Jim Geraghty:

Former Mitt Romney adviser Stuart Stevens:

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin:

National Review’s Rich Lowry:

Conservative commentator Mickey White:

American Enterprise Institute Andrew Quinn:

And many conservatives thought the portions attacking Donald Trump were particularly effective.



National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru:

The biggest success of the night, though, according to conservatives was the stirring testimonial of Khizr Khan, a Muslim American father whose son died a war hero in Iraq.

Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush national security adviser John Noonan:

Gingrich and Cheney press secretary Rich Galen:

John Kasich and John McCain strategist John Weaver:


Finally, multiple conservatives determined that whatever they thought of Hillary’s speech, it had been a good convention in the end for the Democrats.


Hot Air’s John Sexton:

Republican operative Rory Cooper:

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.