In his plain, direct way, Newt soared this morning. He gave a hungry and uncompromising speech aimed straight at the base’s heart – and we loved it. The message in paraphrase: “They must think we are stupid. But we are not. We know where they are trying to drag our country, and we will fight them tooth and nail.”

The line for Romney’s speech was out the door – and then another door after that. I didn’t get to see him in person and caught only the last half of his speech on television. Maybe the audience enjoyed him, but his words seemed aimed past the attendees toward a national audience. Barely more than a stump speech, it marched through a dozen policies, cheering and chiding, too polite and wonkish to be moving.

Newt reminded us of exciting past triumphs, Romney recapitulated the lusterless present. Who knows what the future will hold?