Yesterday in Tampa, Florida was a good day for the GOP. The program was well-organized and well-promoted with an excellent slate of speakers. With only one exception – the slimy anti-abortion- focused Rick Santorum – the speakers kept a relentless focus on the economy. This is essential, because if the election turns primarily on the economy President Obama is toast. His record is backward not forward on all fronts: worse unemployment, worse economic growth, worse indebtedness, worse hope, worse change. ‘No we can’t.’ There is no economic Morning in America for 2013 if an Electoral College majority sticks with Barack Obama.
The theme of Day 1 was ’We made it’. Those three words perfectly projected the essence of the American Dream that drives enterprise in free-market America. It was aimed like a dagger at the heart of President Obama’s exclusively negative and mean-minded divisive election campaign.
Political conventions easily slide into shallow rhetoric and, of course, there was much of that. The Speaker of the House was the worst offender and that was unfortunate as he opened the evening program. Rick Santorum followed up with a speech that made me cringe with almost every self-serving word that he uttered. Mitt Romney served the nation well by disposing of this corrupt politician in the GOP primaries.
Political conventions also lend themselves easily into self-promotion. Governor Chris Christie served up a banquet in that respect as he prepared the audience for a 2016 run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, rather than setting the scene for a Romney/Ryan victory in 2012. Surely, The Governor will have to discipline his appetite to have any chance at all of victory. Indeed, he will have to discipline his appetite to live long enough to run. It is difficult to appear serious about putting one’s nation on a debt diet when one evidently will not offer an example to an increasingly obese nation by remotely attempting to eliminate excess belly-fat.
Political conventions rarely lend themselves to authenticity. And in this respect, the Republican convention dramatically defied the odds. First the balanced, factually accurate account of Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell set the tone. Then the simply magnificent Ann Romney stole our hearts and souls. With a First Lady like Ann Romney, who clearly loves and respects her husband just as much as she loves and respects her country, the nation will be well blessed. It is impossible to imagine that Hillary Rodman could have spoken so authentically about Bill Clinton in the wake of the Gennifer Flowers ‘affair’ during the 1992 Democratic Party convention..
Now we await the remainder of the convention to determine whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan live up to the high standard set by Bob McDonnell and Ann Romney. The bar is set extremely high. If the two candidates vault it effectively, the White House is theirs to lose.