Steffen Schmidt, IAFC Blogger
Steffen W. Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Iowa State University, WNYC blogger, and chief Political correspondent of Insider Iowa.
Mitt Romney gave a good speech, maybe terrific. The visuals of a huge, well-dressed family with darling kids cavorting on stage after his speech was fantastic. It reminded me of 1960. It was the Kennedy’s.
I loved it. The crowd loved it. Traditional middle class voters loved it. He choked up several times. The “dial-o-meter” of viewers spiked every time he talked about family, his mother and his personal experiences. He seemed warmer than the cold, smart businessman of Bain Capital.
Romney's was also a negative speech. A sustained attack of President Obama. BUT, it was not a Ronald Reagan “shining city on the hill” speech pointing a new, prosperous, and happy future for the country. His plan to create jobs and improve the country were exceptionally vague. I still can’t tell my students exactly how taxes and spending will be structured in his administration. His mockery of the Earths environmental problems may have connected with the audience but for a younger generation the environment is important. Republicans need to address these problems.
I thought Clint Eastwood’s, “Make my day!” speech was one of the highlights of the convention before Romney’s appearance, except, as one Fox Tweeter wrote, he seemed more like “someone’s drunk uncle.” His off-the-cuff ramble was more than anything sad.
Chris Christie the keynote speaker was also an odd performance. He was snarky. That’s his brand. He talked a lot about how great he is. He tried to force Spinach and broccoli down the throat of voters saying people need to face the harsh reality of our nation’s problems, no love but “sacrifice” and “tough choices” and “man up” so to speak. He didn’t mention Romney until almost the end of his speech. Many people said he looked like he was running for 2016.
A moving moment was when Florida Senator Marco Rubio described his dad standing behind the bar working hard “so I could stand at this podium tonight.” He looked good.
Mrs. Romney was elegant and had a great speech that connected with the audience and certainly added to the personal narrative that Mitt is a gentle, kind, caring, and loving father and husband.
Next we will see how entertaining and distracting the Democratic convention will be. Can they rival the Republicans for hype? I’m betting they will! After all, the purpose for conventions has evaporated. We know who the candidate and his running mate will be. The platform is a joke – no presidential candidate runs on that. More than ever conventions are largely a political lollopalooza fest.