After three days, the Republican National Convention has ground down to a close. The Pander Express has pulled back into the station, and in just a few days the focus will be on the Democratic National Convention.
Like the other two days, the convention’s speakers were carefully tailored to try and garner enough support with women, Hispanic voters and, on Thursday, teachers, to erase Obama’s small leads with those demographics in swing states. But there was a bigger mission too: humanizing Romney. All of the evening’s guests took the stage with that goal, with varying degrees of success.
So in honor of Clint Eastwood, chairs living the American dream everywhere, and of course Invisible Obama, our theme for tonight’s wrap up is the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- The Romney family documentary - This was arguably the best part of the night. The documentary, which featured interviews with Mitt and Ann, included home videos, old photos, and moving interviews about their life together. Unfortunately, thanks to a scheduling oversight, anyone watching the convention on network television didn’t get to see it.
- Pam Finlayson - Although the Romney testimonials weren’t the most exciting part of the convention, Pam Finlayson – a Romney family neighbor – had some touching stories about the family to relay. Her daughter had serious health complications, which led to her death at age 26 just a year and a half ago. The Romney family brought the family food, visited their young daughter in the hospital, and took in their son when the parents needed to be at the hospital. Definitely a more convincing sell on Mitt’s character than representatives from Bain.
- Reince Preibus’s absence - There just wasn’t a lot that was very good about the last night of the convention, so we’re counting this one. We were relieved to not see perpetually sneering (and drunk) Reince Priebus last night, because there’s only so much indignant slurring we can take.
- Marco Rubio - Marco Rubio began his speech with a heartfelt story of his parents working sixteen hours a day at low-wage jobs to make ends meet and give him opportunities. It’s a true story that seems almost insulting to bring up when shilling for the party that wants to reduce any and all assistance to the poor. Rubio gave a decent speech, and he attacked Obama markedly less than most of the speakers that took the stage this week. Still, the freshman senator couldn’t resist falling back on the same lies that have been repeated over and over: that Barack Obama raised taxes and paid for health care with cuts to Medicare. Barack Obama has cut taxes for the majority of Americans, and the cuts to Medicare were not to benefits, but to waste. Paul Ryan has embraced those same cuts in his budget.
- Mitt Romney - The moment everyone was waiting for, Mitt Romney’s speech, was a bit of a letdown. Everyone seems to agree that it was an okay speech (for Romney, at least), but it was pandering, unfocused, and riddled with as many outright lies as Paul Ryan’s speech, if not more. All in all, Mitt’s shining moment was pretty dim – in terms of crowd-rousing, he’s definitely no Barack Obama.
- Dirty Harry - Yes, you know what’s coming. What else could this category be for but surprise guest speaker Clint Eastwood? His non-nonsensical, teleprompter-free “conversation” with Invisible Obama apparently had Romney aides cringing in the wings. It all seemed closer to a stand-up routine at a senior center talent show than an inspirational speaker booked by the Republican National Convention. The best thing about the bizarre speech? The tweets it inspired:
- The Crowd - Even though there were no reports of racist assaults on black women tonight, the crowd was nothing to be proud of. The crowd laughed it up when Clint Eastwood said that Oprah cried when Barack Obama was elected. We didn’t really get the joke about an African-American survivor of rape and poverty crying to see an African-American elected to the highest office in the country that once would have considered both of them slaves. We also didn’t get Mitt’s global warming joke that the crowd cackled at, considering there are people in dire straits thanks to another hurricane in New Orleans.
The RNC has come and gone, and its effects on the election remain to be seen. We’re guessing that the convention will end up being a much bigger success for the governors and Congresspersons that spoke and are running for reelection than it will be for the presidential ticket. Ryan and Romney were underwhelming to say the least, and this won’t give the kind of boost that the campaign needs.
Be sure to tune in next week for the Lawsonry liveblog of the Democratic National Convention!