The speeches were by Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, at the Jack Kemp Awards dinner last week. Much attention was paid because both are assumed to be running for president, which each joked about, somewhat creepily. We’ve got dire problems and you’re thinking New Hampshire. Good to know…

I find both Mr. Ryan’s and Mr. Rubio’s media expertise mildly harrowing—look at the prompter here, shake your head here, lower your voice there, raise it here, pick up your pace in this section. An entire generation of politicians in both parties has been too trained in media, and to their detriment. They are very smooth but it doesn’t make them seem more convincing, it makes them seem phonier. My old boss had actually been an actor, but he didn’t seem like a phony. He talked like a normal person at a podium, with a nice voice, and occasionally stumbling. It’s not bad to be human when you’re trying to appeal to humans…

Republicans are now in the habit of editing their views, and they’ve been in it for 10 years. The Bush White House suppressed dissent; talk radio stars functioned as enforcers; the angrier parts of the base, on the Internet, attempted to silence critical thinkers. Orthodoxy was everything, or orthodoxy as some defined it.

This isn’t loyalty, it’s lockstep. It has harmed the party’s creativity, its ability to think, when now more than ever it has to. Enough.