Rich Galen

Those two guys - sitting literally behind the curtain of the stage - were long-time Mullpals Bill Greener and Ed Goeas both of whom I have known for better than a quarter of a century.

Bill is a partner in one of the most successful corporate and political communications firms in Washington, DC, Greener & Hook; Ed is the President of The Tarrance Group one of the premier polling and strategy firms in the business.

They sat in a cinderblock bunker charged with the responsibility of taking a four-day convention, turning it into a three-day convention while still getting all the major players on stage at the right time on the right day.

The case of former Mullboss Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was an excellent example. The first whisper out of St. Paul had her speaking on Thursday. Later that was moved to Wednesday. According to Greener and Goeas, after the Gustav cancellation her four-and-a-half minute speech was expanded to five then seven minutes. Then zero.

In the end she was dropped from the line-up which decision she took with the grace and understanding the people of Texas have come to expect from her.

GOPAC chairman Michael Steele was first scheduled to speak on Tuesday, but got moved to Wednesday then Thursday until he actually spoke … on Tuesday.

Twenty hours a day Greener and Goeas struggled to move people and messages around so that the two main events - Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain would still be the crescendo events the GOP desperately needed them to be.

There is an old saying in the theater that goes "It doesn't matter what happens in the wings. It only matters what happens under the presidium arch - what the audience actually sees."

I don't think that's actually an old theater saying, but I say it a lot.

The size of the bounce that McCain/Palin got out of their convention had a great deal to do with the work that went on by the men behind the curtain.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at