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Republican Convention

August 30, 1988

I offer a short thought on the Republican National Convention.

The art of presidential politics is persuasion. Ultimately, each candidate tries to persuade the electorate that he is worthy of their trust as the next guardian of American constitutional democracy. What a powerful argument Thursday night (Aug. 18) became for George Bush.

A supposedly smoothly scripted convention was enveloped in the type of media crisis that often plagues the White House. The convention itself was transformed into a vivid image of probable events that await the next occupant of the Oval Office--a chief executive's decision was drawn into question, the leader's prestige and thereby authority weighed in the balance. What the American viewer felt was fear of disaster for Bush; necessity dictated that his supporters, the media and the nation be reassured in order for them and him to move forward.

During the course of Bush's acceptance speech, the political pulse of fear and confusion was treated with comfort and confidence, crisis moved to renewed conviction, and in front of it all: the cool capable decency of a steady man with steady habits.

In miniature, the "Dan Quayle crisis" drew in sharp and persuasive focus the image of what Americans look for in a President--the capability to lead--a man Americans can trust to lead them with clarity and vision during a crisis. The vision involved in the selection of Quayle remains a noble one--Bush has taken it upon himself to begin the unavoidable task of vetting a divisive generation--to find leaders who, in due time, must take the watch and protect the freedoms we hold most dear. What a presidential decision and night it was for Bush.

FREDERIC A. NICHOLS

Upland

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