RNC 2012: Summing it up

TAMPA — So I’m sitting at the gate in the Tampa airport, Sunday column filed, and finally have time to put down some quick thoughts about Thursday night’s finale at the RNC.

First, Clint Eastwood’s performance is a good example of why (I presume) he insists that the actors in his movies follow a script. There were some grand moments in there — “You, we, we own this country. … Politicians are employees of ours” being one of them — and the image of President Obama as an empty chair is going to have staying power in this campaign. But his 12-minute bit could have been done in much less time and been even more effective. As rambling and bizarre as Eastwood was at times, I don’t think he hurt Mitt Romney with his performance. He just didn’t help as much as he might have.

Second, there were a few primetime-worthy appearances earlier in the evening that would have done much more to burnish Romney’s public image. The first was a trio of speeches by members of Romney’s church in Massachusetts, talking about their friendship with the Romneys and the ways Mitt Romney went out of his way to help them in times of personal crisis. I won’t go into these too much because Sunday’s column focuses on one of them. But they were extremely moving and shed light on two aspects of him: his faith, and his service to others. Ann Romney said Tuesday night, going off-script for a few moments to emphasize the point, that he doesn’t like to talk about things he does for others. But the stories of that trio went a long way toward demonstrating there’s a lot to tell.

The Olympians’ appearance was also worthy, particularly Derek Parra’s speech. Even better may have been the video about his salvage job at the 2002 Winter Games. If I can find it online, I’ll add a link.

Third, Jeb Bush’s appearance with a teacher and student from Florida was strong. The time devoted to it, taken with Condoleezza Rice’s remarks about education reform and school choice, suggested strongly that those would be high-priority issues in a Romney presidency. Then Romney himself named them in a list of five things he would do to reinvigorate the economy in the short and long terms. If the campaign continues to talk about school choice, it could make for an unexpected but welcome complement to school choice advocates’ charter school campaign in Georgia this fall.

Fourth, Marco Rubio was outstanding, as expected. He spent a great deal of time talking about himself — which some observers have taken as a way to promote himself for 2016 or 2020 — but I don’t think the Romney folks will worry too much about that. That’s because any promotion of Rubio’s story is a promotion of American exceptionalism and the endurance of the American Dream. Indeed, Rubio was just one of several speakers this week who described themselves as first-, second- or third-generation Americans. At a national level, there is an obvious intent among Republicans to change the way their partisans talk about immigration. Which is not to say going soft on illegal immigration, but to make clear that there are a host of welcome, legal immigrants that the GOP intends to celebrate.

Finally, there was Romney himself. Let’s get this out of the way: He wasn’t the best speaker of the week. He might not even have been in the top 5. But that is not what makes him presidential material, and he certainly gave an address worthy of a presidential nominee. It built carefully but surely to a strong finish, and everyone I spoke with came away thinking he had done a perfectly fine job at capping off the week.

Overall, if the GOP’s goal was to explain the message it’s selling to voters clearly and confidently, the week was a success.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

218 comments Add your comment

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:02 pm

ill sum it up in three words

FOUR MORE YEARS !!!

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:04 pm

Overall, if the GOP’s goal was to explain the message it’s selling to voters clearly and confidently, the week was a success.

The problem is the message.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 31st, 2012
2:05 pm

Feel lucky, punks?

Well………do ya?

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:07 pm

What a disaster Clint was.

After the Dems get a bump out of their convention this thing is all but over.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:08 pm

If the campaign continues to talk about school choice, it could make for an unexpected but welcome complement to school choice advocates’ charter school campaign in Georgia this fall.

Yeah thats what Georgia needs. Charter schools where the first thing they do is through out Science and replace it with Religion. At taxpayer expense mind you.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:12 pm

A biology textbook used by a Christian school in Louisiana that will be accepting students with publicly funded vouchers in the fall says that the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland is real. And it isn’t just any monster but a dinosaur — an effort to debunk evolution and bolster creationist theory.

HDB

August 31st, 2012
2:13 pm

The problem is that much of the Convention was marred by what Republicans did to that CNN camerawoman….the lies that Paul Ryan stated…and getting called out on….Mitt’s acquiescence to the birthers…McCain’s pushing for the nation to get into six wars…..

Got to be better than this…….

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:16 pm

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

Click on over if you want to get a further look at what ” Charter ” schools will mean for Georgia.

With your tax dollars !!!

Tom

August 31st, 2012
2:17 pm

It’s going to be a long two months of Kyle whistling past the graveyard.

[...] at the GOP convention: effective, or strange?Christian Science MonitorWashington Post (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Forbesall 2,698 news articles » Posted in: [...]

Tealiban Party

August 31st, 2012
2:18 pm

Three take aways from the RNC:

1. Invisible Obama uncomfortableness
2. Paul Ryan’s all out lies
3. Mitt Romney in his best speech ever (But too bad it wasn’t full of more details. Just because you read your bullet points 1 through 5 doesn’t mean you are explaining policy specifics. But this has been the campaign stategy all along, so I am not suprised.)

Metro Coach

August 31st, 2012
2:25 pm

Two questions for Tealiban Party: 1) What did Paul Ryan lie about? 2) When has Barack Obama ever given a detail about any plan he has?

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:26 pm

Has anyone seen the speaker line up for the DNC next week? If I were a dem, I’d be worried.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:28 pm

Has anyone seen the speaker line up for the DNC next week? If I were a dem, I’d be worried.

After the show the GOP just put on. We aren’t.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
2:28 pm

Kyle, I agree emphatically with everything you said. Great job, mission accomplished. We can do better than what we have (not much, as was pointed out)

The best part of last night was the testimonials from the church people. Knowing several Mormons, that I really respect, this is normal for what they do. They spend inordinate amounts of time serving others. Their bishops counsel their members for anything they wish to improve in their lives. I don’t agree with some of their beliefs, but if I had to be in a foxhole with someone shooting at me, I would be glad to know their were Mormons in the hole with me.

I’m sure Obama has gone out of his way to help someone somewhere, maybe he will tell us about it at the Dimfest. Surely he has assisted someone back to the clubhouse, whose cart broke down on the backside of the course, or something.

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:30 pm

Topic of the DNC next week: Abortion and evil rich people!!

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:31 pm

Obama still maintains a lead coming out of GOP convention.

Bad bad news for Republicans.

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:31 pm

The message from the RNC, Cheese, was more JOBS. I guess you’ve got a problem with that, huh?

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
2:32 pm

Tealiban

A convention is not a place where you get into minutia. Romney’s detailed plan is on his website.

Obama’s very detailed plan is in his words, spoken daily, Rich need to pay their “fair share”. End of plan.

Mark in mid-town

August 31st, 2012
2:33 pm

I thought Clint Eastwood’s performance was rambling, and bizarre. I also thought it was absolutely brilliant and hilarious. The rambling part helped it come across as real and unscripted common sense straight from the heart. He poked fun at Obama hitting him with one zinger after another, and you’re just not allowed to do that to the incredibly thin-skinned Obama. The liberal msm lackeys are in overdrive attacking Eastwood. The relatively few conservative voices on msm publications should not help them out or be influenced by them. What Eastwood did was devastating for Obama. Watching Eastwood’s presentation is funnier the 2nd time when you realize what he’s up to. That Eastwood drew so much attention and scorn means that millions who didn’t watch the convention are now seeking it out on the Internet.

Tealiban Party

August 31st, 2012
2:33 pm

One answer for Metro Coach:

1. Medicare “cuts”
2. Ryan’s role on the Simpson Bowles commission
3. Janesville GM Plant
4. Responsibility of “America’s downgrade”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/30/fact-check-paul-ryan-convention-address/

You may also google thousands of other sites with the same info….

Aquagirl

August 31st, 2012
2:34 pm

Great job, mission accomplished.

Are you really using that phrase without a hint of irony?

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:35 pm

The message from the RNC, Cheese, was more JOBS. I guess you’ve got a problem with that, huh?

Yeah I do. Because Ive heard that trickle down crap before.

Didn’t work then. Wont work now.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:36 pm

What Eastwood did was devastating for Obama.

LOL

Tealiban Party

August 31st, 2012
2:38 pm

Rafe – Romney correctly said 23 millions people are out of work. He promises to create 12 million jobs. How? (And what about the other 11 million unemployed?)

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:39 pm

“The problem is that much of the Convention was marred by what Republicans did to that CNN camerawoman….the lies that Paul Ryan stated…and getting called out on….Mitt’s acquiescence to the birthers…McCain’s pushing for the nation to get into six wars…..”

Not sure what you were watching, HDB, but you weren’t watching the GOP convention.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:39 pm

Are you really using that phrase without a hint of irony?

They have forgotten anything longer than three and a half years ago aqua.

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:40 pm

“Didn’t work then. Wont work now”

And Obama’s plan is working? Really? The only thing trickling down is the dem kool aid from the side of your mouth.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:41 pm

Not sure what you were watching, HDB, but you weren’t watching the GOP convention.

Most of America wasn’t either.

Yawn.

Same old Republicans with same old empty promises.

Just give tax breaks to the rich and watch all the jobs trickle down.

Well we are still waiting.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:41 pm

“Obama still maintains a lead coming out of GOP convention.”

Really, Cheesy? No polls have been released that were taken following the convention. What exactly are you smoking?

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:42 pm

And Obama’s plan is working? Really? The only thing trickling down is the dem kool aid from the side of your mouth.

Yes it is. Considering the disaster he inherited. Not to mention two wars he didn’t start.

Id say he has done a fine job.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:43 pm

“Same old Republicans with same old empty promises.

Just give tax breaks to the rich and watch all the jobs trickle down.”

Except if you actually took the time to READ their plan, you’d know that is not the case. But why would we expect you to do something to educate yourself, right, Cheesy?

Aquagirl

August 31st, 2012
2:44 pm

Really, Cheesy? No polls have been released that were taken following the convention.

Are empty chairs gonna be polled? Republicans totally lost that demographic.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 31st, 2012
2:44 pm

My party has Clint Eastwood while your party has Dirty Floor Fluke.

Need I say more?

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:44 pm

Really, Cheesy? No polls have been released that were taken following the convention. What exactly are you smoking?

Technically correct. But the one released yesterday Obama was still leading.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html

Either way Romney saw almost no bump out of the convention.

The Dems will do much better. Then its over.

Seriously doubt if Mittens or Clint changed that.

EJ Moosa

August 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

“Considering the disaster he inherited. Not to mention two wars he didn’t start.”

Inherited?

I thought he wanted the job.

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

“A fine job”

Lowering his golf handicap, maybe.

EJ Moosa

August 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

“Technically correct. But the one released yesterday Obama was still leading”

We didn’t vote yesterday.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:46 pm

My party has Clint Eastwood while your party has Dirty Floor Fluke.

Stay Classy

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:46 pm

“Romney correctly said 23 millions people are out of work. He promises to create 12 million jobs. How?”

http://www.mittromney.com/sites/default/files/shared/presidentialaccountabilityscorecard_1_1.pdf

“(And what about the other 11 million unemployed?)”

He’s planning this to take four years. He’ll take care of the rest when he gets the first 12 million employed.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:47 pm

We didn’t vote yesterday.

Nope we will Nov 8th.

Obama will be leading then too.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:47 pm

Inherited?

I thought he wanted the job.

He did. Whats your point ?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:48 pm

“Either way Romney saw almost no bump out of the convention. ”

You have NO factual basis for the above statement, Cheesy.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

August 31st, 2012
2:48 pm

He’s planning this to take four years. He’ll take care of the rest when he gets the first 12 million employed.

LOL

Verbal Kint

August 31st, 2012
2:48 pm

“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 45% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns 44% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.”

Metro Coach

August 31st, 2012
2:49 pm

1. Obamacare cuts $700 billion from Medicare, reduced coverage anyone?
2. Obama commissioned Simpson-Bowles and then spit on their recommendations, so what difference does Simpson-Bowles make?
3. He didn’t lie about Janesville. The plant closed in April 2009, which is after Obama took office. Further, in his comments, all he did was quote the president nearly word for word. I know the “fact checkers” claim he lied, but when you read the transcripts that gets debunked rather quickly.
4. America’s spending problem is what led to the credit downgrade, and the president has spent more money during his administration than every other president combined. I’d say that the Dems were a pretty big reason for the credit downgrade.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 31st, 2012
2:49 pm

The dummycrat keynote party platform, I’m sure which most dimwits can’t wait for it to be unveiled, my boyfriends have to pull out early because of the evil Republicans and their war on women, blah, blah, blah, grunt, grunt, grunt, babble, babble babble.

Yep, the second coming of George Washington this obozo is.

InAtl

August 31st, 2012
2:50 pm

The RNC speakers kept to the high road. It’s doubtful that the DNC convention will be able to say that. Clint was amazing considering he was having a “conversation” with millions of people instead of a scripted speech. He’s still one of my heroes.

EJ Moosa

August 31st, 2012
2:50 pm

“nherited?

I thought he wanted the job.

He did. Whats your point ?”

The point is that you should not use the word “inherited”.

Either he was ready to deal with what was happening or he wasn’t. Trying to dismiss his performance to date because of what he “inherited” isn’t going to work.

You knew the point.

HDB

August 31st, 2012
2:51 pm

Tiberius – pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 31st, 2012
2:39 pm

Wrong, Tibby….made sure I watched ALL three days!! Flipped between C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN….and checked out online news sources…….

Best speech: Condi Rice
Charter Member of the Liars’ Club: Paul Ryan
Space Cadet of the Moment: Clint Eastwood

Any questions……