Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Sunday, December 11, 2016

BREAKING: Republicans Settle For Mitt

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

As Mitt Romney prepares to give the speech of his life to accept the Republican Party’s nomination as president, a report has surfaced that a Reagan hologram was supposed to debut at the Republican National Convention. But it was cut because Romney’s team was worried about matching its “energy.”

Thus is Mitt’s predicament. He is the candidate that many Republicans never wanted. He won by savaging his opponents, who weren’t very strong to begin with. His duel weaknesses – his cold, not relatable demeanor and his record of flip-flopping on every important political issue of our day including his signature health care plan – haven’t been mitigated by his general election campaign.

His choice of Paul Ryan has secured his base but it seems Ryan is picking up more of Romney’s unfavorable traits –flip-flopping, flexibility with the truth – than Romney is picking up from him.

The fact is that Rick Santorum was correct when he said that Mitt Romney was the “worst” candidate to run against President Obama. He’s like Madonna running against Lady Gagacare. And it’s hard to believe that the president didn’t plan it this way. Despite Mitt’s problems he’s still in striking distance and has a chance of winning the popular vote, though the Electoral College doesn’t look so promising.

Romney will do fine tonight. He’s so proud of his business career he may even may mention the name of company he ran for decades. He’ll look presidential, as he has since he was about 25. But will he find a way to connect to the women, the minorities and young people he needs to make the billions spent on his behalf pay off? It’s pretty safe to assume a Reagan hologram would do better.

Here are the speakers for tonight.

I don’t expect anything interesting. But what’s the best gaffe you can imagine happening at the convention tonight?

***

7:29 PM EST

On MSNBC Chuck Todd says the Romney campaign feels as if it can win the pushback by fact checkers about Paul Ryan’s speech. They feels the right wing media and the organized cyberbullying of the right through figures like Michelle Bachmann can keep the narrative on their facts. I’ve argued that Paul Ryan’s deceptions were intentional, designed to get us to talk about Republican framing. However, they overplayed their card and the story is just now: Paul Ryan lied. Republicans who lie to get what they want — see Iraq — scare Americans.

***

7:37 PM EST

The last night of the convention has begun. A strange note: Neither “Osama bin Laden” or “Tea Party” have been mentioned from the stage at this year Republican’s convention. “Occupy” has. This tells the story of what this question has been about, attacking opponents and ignoring the president’s success.

**

7:50 PM EST

It’s remarkable that Newt Gingrich has been given the chance to speak on this stage after the savaging his Super PAC did to Romney’s business record in the primary. Of course, Newt and Callista join Santorum in spreading this debunked, racially motivated attack. If this all fails, maybe Newt will finally be exiled from mainstream politics.

***
8:06 PM EST

Jeb Bush says, “I love my brother. He is a man of integrity, courage and honor.” Says that President Bush in a difficult time kept us safe… except that one time.

He calls out President Obama for blaming his brother. Calls on the president to take responsibility for his policies. What Bush doesn’t mention is the GOP’s persistent sabotage of the economy and how similar Romney’s polices are to Bush’s.

Jeb Bush focuses on education, which is why he will be the GOP’s nominee in 2016. Bushes know how to win. REMINDER: The GOP has not won without a Bush on the ticket since 1972.

***

8:31 PM EST

Mitt Romney’s friends are speaking tonight. A bit of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints informercial. Interesting.

These personal stories that show the humanity of Mitt Romney are very difficult to rationalize knowing that Mitt Romney is running on the premise that 30 million Americans should not get health care.

***

8:55 PM EST

Bob White of Bain Capital speaks. And he says the words I didn’t expect to hear “Bain Capital.”

Just now I saw that Romney has received a six-point convention bounce in the most recent Reuters Poll. And this is definitely the best day of the convention.

Again the GOP convention shows the brutally edited version of the president “You didn’t built it” speech. If it it’s such a clear of indictment of the president, why the blatantly misleading edit.

Now the founder of Staples comes to the stages. Heard some Ron Paulers yelling “USA!” They were quickly hushed.

 

We’re supposed to think that this business that put out thousands of stationary stores out business is a great thing.

Now we’re veering back into the ranting at the president; have to believe the personal narratives about Mitt are more helpful.

***

9:08 PM EST

It’s clear that this convention and the “You didn’t build that!” theme is all about this defense of Bain Capital. It’s almost a surprise that there is a strategy behind this mess. But Mitt waited to defend Bain and he’s very serious about doing so now.

***

9:24 PM EST

Now we get a defense of Mitt’s Massachusetts record from his Lt. Governor and Jane Edmonds, a liberal Democrat, who worked with him in workforce training. This is the more serious attempt to humanize Romney that has not appeared in this convention thus far. Unfortunately for Mitt it’s quite dull.

And now your American Idol from some point in history — Taylor Hicks. #relevant *** 9:38 PM EST On the Olympics. A group of Republican Olympians tells why Mitt Romney is the right man for the job, paying tribute to Mitt as a one-man TARP for the Olympics.

 

 

That’s about as politicized as the Olympics can possibly be politicized.

***
9:58 PM EST

An impressive video of Mitt Romney’s life story starting with his relationship with his wife. His father’s story is prominent. George Romney points out how he grew up in poverty. On to Mitt’s career — Staples, of course — and how it influenced his style as a governor.

A brief shot of Romney praying. Now testimonials of how much he cares. This is the most effective telling of Romney’s story that we’ve seen.

Romney promises to devote every waking hour to getting America strong again. Not sure if that’s supposed to be an impressive promise or a dig at the president. Would would expect less?

Here comes Clint Eastwood to disappoint millions of Americans by endorsing Romney.

Eastwood speaks to an empty chair saying it’s President Obama. “How do you handle the promises you’ve made?” The chair tells him to “Shut up.” Quite a fractured commentary about Afghanistan, Gitmo and Attorney. Mades a sexual joke — twice.

Pulls it together to say, “We own this country.”

“You’re the best,” he says that. “When somebody doesn’t do the job we’ve got to let him go.” The crowd goes nuts. Probably about as effective slogan as Romney is going to get.

“We don’t have to be mental masochists and vote for someone we don’t really like.” Is this a pro-Romney speech?

***

10:15 PM EST

Marco Rubio (R-FL) is next. Starts off discussing Cuba.

“Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person. It’s that he’s a bad president.” It’s almost reassuring to hear a Republican say that premise.

Rubio takes on the president’s slogan “Forward.” He goes into the claim the president seeks to divide us. “This election is not about his future. It’s about yours.”

“It’s a choice about what kind of country you want us to be.”

Rubio is explaining how America created a middle class — leaving out the high taxes on the rich and unions that made it possible.

Rubio — unlike Christie — is a compelling spokesman for Romney. He speaks native Spanish and to an American Dream that’s relatable to all Americans.

As a Democrat, I’d be grateful that thanks to the Consitution Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio ever can’t be on the same ticket.

***

10:32 PM EST

Mitt Romney comes up the center aisle of the convention hall because apparently this isn’t running late enough. After three minutes, he hits the stage. Probably smart after a pretty rousing speech from Marco Rubio.

Romney starts off saying Americans always come together — except when they plot on inauguration night to make the president fail.

He quickly gets to the freedom to build a business, which the crowd loves as they’ve been trained to do. Romney makes no mention of the tremendous catastrophe the president inherited. We expected more, he suggests, because it’s what America “deserves.”

“What can you do but work harder?”

Romney says, “I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.”

This is a speech that is not grounded in reality or context. He’s speaking as if Republican policies aren’t entirely responsible for the mess we’re pulling out of.

Romney tells his story. In the middle of America, in the middle of the century. He tells the story of his father, his parents’ romance.

He tells about his early career. “Those weren’t easy times.” But he’d give anything to have them back. “These were tough days, especially for Ann.”

He talks about his church and the joy of connecting with a diverse group there. “That’s how it is in America.”

Mitt is going heavy on the personal. And now connects back to the good days, which he says are too few.

He blasts President Obama for not having the business experience of Hoover or Bush.

Romney touts his own business record: Staples, Sports Authority, Bright Horizons.

He explains the genius of America’s free enterprise system, which is very useful lesson to whom? Does he believe we really need to be lectured about this?

Now we get a rant about the president. He says if the President is elected the future won’t be better. He claims he has a plan to create 12 million new jobs. The plan? Do exactly what George W. Bush did.

He says, “The President promised to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” The crowd likes it. He goes to the President’s “apology tour” canard. He gives credit for the death of Osama bin Laden. And says that we’re in danger because the president wanted to talk to Iran. He promises less flexibility with Russia. Surprisingly he doesn’t raise the unproven accusation of national security leaks.

He asks if the President has given us the America we want and gets “no” from the crowd. He describes a United States so strong no nation will ever test our military.

He promises to restore a “united” America. “Let us begin that future for America tonight,” he concludes. James Brown’s “Living in America” comes on.

Romney speech culminated in as soaring and compelling as his rhetoric has ever been. But it’s hard to not feel as if this speech was unmoored in reality. There was no sense that he understands the crisis we faced or what actual Americans are dealing with now. His solutions were pat Republican with no sense of how they’d be any different than Bush’s. The ache for conflict is strong and not in touch with the war weariness this country feels.

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 The National Memo