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!
Friday, August 31, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The Romney campaign has announced that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is their choice for Vice President. Needless to say, Ryan will be demonized in the press lickety-split - in fact, the demonization has already begun. Prepare for those throwing grandma off the cliff videos to really ratchet up. The press is already talking about what a bad choice he is - pray tell, which candidate would be a good choice in their opinion? Before anyone takes their advice, let's remember that they hailed Joe Biden's nomination as a brilliant choice because of his "foreign policy expertise". What a joke.
I have to be honest. I was really hoping Ryan would be the pick. Those on the left (and some on the right) say that he will tie Romney to the Ryan plan, which they have been demonizing for more than a year now. Honestly, if you think they weren't planning on demonizing Romney for his support of the Ryan plan anyway, you just haven't been paying attention. So if he's going to be demonized anyway, why not have the architect of the plan out on the campaign trail explaining it and selling it? And when given a chance, he really can sell it:
If the Ryan plan is the basis for Romney's economic policy, why not own it? The man is great with Q&A - calm, collected, to the point, and always with a smile on his face and pleasant demeanor, so a series of town hall-style rallies with audience questions about the economy and jobs would play well against the absolute lack of interaction between President Obama and regular citizens as well as his arrogant, patronizing delivery. Ryan could have real interaction with the people on a one-on-one level - a genuine conversation about the things that really matter. Ryan's assumption that the American people are smart enough to understand the crises facing us and mature enough to tackle them is refreshing in comparison to Obama's approach that Americans are just not up to the task of either understanding his brilliance or making decisions on even the most personal or important of matters.
Many on the right have argued that Ryan is needed in the House, chairing the budget committee. I disagree. His plan has already passed the House. It is stuck in the Senate, collecting dust. As the President of the Senate, he would be able to work closely with the leadership of both parties to work some variation of his plan through to passage.
Ryan is the wonkiest economy wonk in Congress today. The man really knows his stuff (love the look on Obama's face as Ryan tears down the fraud that is Obamacare piece by scammy piece):
The tea partiers in my acquaintance are very happy with the pick, with many of them saying they now have a reason to vote for Romney. The energy and excitement today is palpable. The left are, predictably, saying his nomination just handed to the victory to Obama/Biden, namely because they presume this pick will alienate the crucial senior vote because of his alleged "gutting" of Medicare. The problem for them is that seniors have lots of time on their hands to check out the facts behind those 'throw grandma off the cliff' ads and as a result, his popularity among seniors is actually higher than the general population because they understand the changes won't affect them but will ensure the social safety net for generations to come. He is viewed favorably by a majority of seniors - 52%, while only 29% view him unfavorably. The remainder have no opinion of him as of yet. In the general population his favorable/unfavorable stands at 39/25, with 35% having no opinion.
There will be a race on over the next week to try to introduce him to those not yet familiar, and the question will be who has done a better job of it: Team Romney, who will paint him as a down-to-earth grassroots conservative who wants a return to founding principles or Team Obama, who will of course try to paint him as dangerous, evil, stupid and crazy, just like they do with every other conservative. Oh, and we can't forget extreme! Yawn. And, of course, the media will attempt to lampoon him by making him either Frodo Baggins or Eddie Munster in Saturday Night Live and the late night shows (unless his alleged six-pack abs win over the shallow set). My money's on Eddie, which actually isn't a bad thing. After all, wasn't he the smart, semi-normal one amongst the crazies of the house (well, aside from Marilyn)? Actually, there's a pretty good skit in there - Joe Biden is a natural as Herman Munster! As for Frodo, wasn't he the brave leader who rose to the challenge at a time of dire changes to his world?
Ryan may be a mild-mannered, happy warrior, but don't let that fool you. He can do far more damage with his cheerfully delivered, pro-America, pro-growth facts than Gov. Christie can do with his sharp tongue and in-your-face attitude. It's better to leave the sharp elbows to surrogates, freeing the candidates to focus on policy.
Kudos to team Romney for going bold and choosing the best person out there to help lay out the Romney path to prosperity! I'd say I can't wait to see him debate Biden, but it might be a bit painful to see a sitting VP so heavily outmatched. Honestly, I'd rather see him debate Obama himself. Now that would be fun!