Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican Convention was everything his supporters hoped for – and then some.
He was very convincing as a nice guy who was formed by a loving family, a good work ethic and a deep faith in his religion.
That speech was – for the most part – by far the best one I have ever heard him deliver. He seemed to have lost his wavering, awkward, rather wooden demeanor. During his speech he seemed comfortable, confident and in command. It was, in a word, “presidential.” There is no doubt he solidified his base.
One testament to the effectiveness of Romney’s speech is that just before it began, I was still stunned – gape-jawed – by the pathetic spectacle of Clint Eastwood’s witless skit, which was one of the low points in television history. As soon as Romney began talking, I forgot, temporarily, Eastwood’s worse-than-pointless antics.
Romney’s family reminiscences were deeply moving – especially the memory of his father giving his mother a rose every morning until one day there wasn’t a rose and his mother knew something was terribly wrong – the morning her husband died of a heart attack. I was enthralled by the expert verbal rhythms and vivid images in the first half of Romney’s speech, although I wondered every now and then what his domestic memories, moving as they were, had to do with him being the best choice for president. I presume Romney was telling us there is a big beating heart beneath the business suit. Fair enough. He convinced me.
However, knowing Romney’s professed policies (at least the ultra-right ones he’s laid claim to in the past year), I had to ask if that big, beating heart extends much beyond his extended family. Some of his policies are anything but family-friendly; there are no warm fuzzies for working folks. His vision for America seems to be based on the old trickle-down theory, that quaint idea – tried-and-untrue.
When Romney arrived at the last third of his speech, his nice-guy image soured into a kick-butt cartoon avenger, like something out of an early Eastwood western. His foreign-policy approach seems to be to carry a big stick and swat anything he doesn’t like. That’s not foreign-policy finesse; it’s just world bullyism.
The low point of Romney’s otherwise admirable speech, for me, were his lines about President Obama trying to lower the sea level and heal the planet. Romney paused for the reaction he knew was forthcoming. He was obviously painting Obama as some kind of wannabe part-the-Red-Sea Moses or some grandiose environmental demi-God. Romney paused for the reaction he knew was forthcoming. And sure enough – the audience loved it. They laughed. Many jeered at what they surely believe is the absurdity of global-warming warnings. Why is anything to do with protecting our environment so vilified by neo-conservatives? These anti-science nay-sayers, stubborn as anti-Obama “birthers,” could be up to their chins in sea water and still scoff at global warming.
I must admit Romney’s speech, the first half, convinced me he is a really nice guy. Trouble is, I can’t help but think he is a nice guy with bad ideas. Of course, some say that about Obama, too.
That is why the Romney-Obama debates will be so riveting as we watch these two nice guys lock horns in a battle of ideas. And may the best man – he with the best ideas – win.