Last night brought a close to the RNC Nominating Convention. And what a close it was. The entire convention was well done, from the debt clock to the well-made video vignettes that played between speakers. The energy was high and the speakers were inspired.
If the only speeches you've seen are Ryan and Romney's you miss a lot. Mia Love gave a real barn burner and it was easy to see why she has garnered so much attention recently. It's unfortunate that after her speech, she was called an "Autie Tom" and her Wikipedia page was vandalized by racist bigots who seem to be a bit afraid of a black conservative woman. Susana Martinez was hilarious and is without doubt a rising star. In fact. there were so many fresh, young faces in the Grand Old Party that is was reassuring to see such a deep, diverse bench. It's also probably pretty unsettling to the other side. No wonder they are a little panicky.
The big buzz today isn't really Sen. Marco Rubio's wonderful speech, which should be getting plenty of positive airtime (and probably would be, if only there were a 'D' after his name, instead of an 'R'). The talk wasn't even about Mitt Romney's speech, which was very good. The part about his father giving his mother a rose every day of their married life was particularly touching, and he was quite clear on his vision for what he thinks America can be and firm in his belief that he can provide the answers that Barack Obama has failed to provide for the past four years. His was a vision of that shining city on a hill reborn. My favorite line was, "When the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American." Amen, brother!
No, the big buzz today is all about Clint Eastwood's speech last night. Apparently the political press was expecting an entertainer to do something other than, you know, entertain. Did they expect a policy speech from the guy? He's an actor! One of my favorite quotes of the night came from Eastwood - "We all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party. He's just kind of a grin with a body behind it." Priceless! I also liked, "Politicians are employees of ours. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go." Exactly. He certainly shook things up and his empty chair monologue most certainly wasn't a boring political speech. The fact that liberals found it to be an unhinged rant isn't surprising. After all, when isn't something coming out of a conservative's mouth an unhinged rant according to them? An actor, playing a scene to an imaginary character? Unheard of!!!1!1! He must be losing his mind!! But, then, that was a foregone conclusion anyway, when he signed up for the RNC instead of the DNC. After all, if you're a conservative, you're either old, crazy, stupid or evil, right?
The entire convention had such a hopeful, forward-thinking vibe to it. Sure, there were some shots at President Obama - this is, after all, a Republican convention. Not only is it acceptable to bash the other side, it's sort of expected. Which is why so many on the right were disappointed with Gov. Chris Christie's speech. They had hoped for an Obama-bashing, in-your-face, "Jersey-style" rhetorical beat-down, and instead were treated to a kinder, gentler Christie who wanted to set the tone for the convention - this is who we are, this is what we believe, and this is what we can be once more. His speech was excellent, just not what people were expecting. And we know how the media just hate it when things don't go as they plan. There is no doubt they were loaded for bear with him and ready to knock the "tone" of the convention. Sike!
What struck me the most, however, was the overarching story for many of the professional speakers. Many republican governors spoke over the course of the three days, and without fail, their stories chronicled their attempts to fix the mess their predecessors had left for them - some even having to work with opposition legislatures, much as President Obama has faced. But where the federal government has ground to a standstill because the democrats' idea of "compromise" is for republicans to simply rubber stamp whatever expensive scheme they concoct next, the republican governors have actually worked with their legislatures and turned their states around instead of demagoguing them for political advancement. It can be done. Mitt Romney did it in Massachusetts, and he can do it again on a federal level.
Romney's entire career seems to be a dress rehearsal for just this moment in history. Bain Capital was all about trying to turn businesses around. Sometimes they weren't successful, sometimes businesses had to close. But their success record far outweighs their failures, and their ethics have never been questioned. Well, until now, when it is politically expedient to try to demonize a decent, ethical businessman in an attempt to make the base politician he is running against look better by comparison.
There was a lot of controversy over Romney's departure from Bain, but little talk about the venture he left Bain to pursue. Once again, he averted sure disaster and saved a failing enterprise and turned it into a triumph. This time, the scandal-riddled disaster was the 2002 Utah Olympics. He waded in and turned it around.
That is what the man does. He turns things around. And if ever we needed someone to turn things around for us, it's now. Perhaps it's the post-convention buzz, perhaps not, but my reservations about Romney - whom I had planned to vote for, but with my nose firmly held - have been assuaged. I feel confident now, and my vote against Obama has become a vote, most enthusiastically, for Romney.
The spin from the convention has been brutally negative in the press. From MSNBC's "Whites Only"
policy to the constant attempts to find racism and sexism where none exists, the neo-pravda media have shamed themselves over and over and over (and that's just covering the convention!). No wonder no one takes them seriously anymore. Even so, we still have an uphill climb.
All in all, the convention was a success. There is already a modest bounce, which has brought Romney even with Obama. The next day or two might show more of a bump. The general election is in full swing now.
Let the games begin!