Man, I feel like I’ve gone from a political blogger to a theater critic.
But the RNC just ended – what else did I expect?
As is true for most modern conventions, this year’s Republican installment lacked no pageantry. Giant multi-colored screens and fluttering American flags behind a stage in a former ice-hockey rink is about as theatrical as you could expect from the GOP.
Like all plays, there were dull parts and exciting parts, buts that make you laugh and bits that make you cry (I’m looking at you, Clint Eastwood). And like all plays, the RNC’s climax came at the last speech on the last night as Mitt Romney stepped to the podium to give the speech of his life.
This speech, witnessed by 22 million people around the country, was the highest of high-stakes addresses for the 65-year-old former governor. Romney has been hammered for months on topics like his tenure at Bain Capital, his governorship of Massachusetts, and his own personal wealth. More and more Americans have come to see him as an unfavorable alternative to an unpopular president. To swing voters, he’s seemed robotic, non-human, a “mystery element.” This speech was Romney’s last big chance to fight all that.
In large part, he succeeded. He talked up his personal life and cracked some fairly funny jokes in his 40-minute interview with America. I think that he largely sold himself as human (he nearly cried at one point), which one of the speech’s broad goals.
He also checked off another goal when he went after Obama in very effective terms. Romney painted a picture of a disappointing president, not an evil monster. Swing voters, who hold the president’s character in high regard, will be much more receptive to the former image than the latter.
But where Romney came up short was on the details. They were there (with the 5-step-plan to 12 million jobs), but then they weren’t (how do we execute the steps?). And no, Mitt, you don’t have to wow us with unrealistic numbers on job creation – we’ve had enough of that from the current administration.
All in all, the speech of Romney’s political life turned out to be a solid success. He certainly didn’t knock this one out of the park, but he hit a double. That’s what absolutely had to happen. The GOP needs some runners on base and a few points if they want a decent shot at winning the game in the last innings. Mitt’s put them in position to do just that.
Now it’s up to the team to pull together and huddle up. We’re about to enter the top of the 9th – not yet the finale, but definitely the beginning of the end.
Watch the single most important speech Mitt Romney has ever given below and let us know your take on it!