Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Republican National Convention, Day 1 (ish)

I got a late start to blogging, due to the attention I was paying to MSNBC's Republican National Convention coverage, and to my 600+ Twitter feed. Word of advice if you're nursing a four-day-old sinus headache: doing this sort of activity is inadvisable. Ouch. . .

So, here is my take on the first full day of the RNC (the original day 1 having been postponed due to Hurricane Isaac). I caught Rick Santorum, who gives a great speech, even if I disagree with 100% of its content. He managed to kick the gays, but in an awkward comment. Somehow, straight people aren't getting married because of gay marriage? Or something. Anyway, Rick's speech was scarcely different from ones he gave during his campaign, with a pasted-on "vote for Mitt" in a few places.

Scott Walker, who is a rock star in the GOP these days (and don't get me started on vexing GOP heroes like Sarah Palin and "Joe the Plumber," or we'll be here all night), but his speech was meh. A bit droney, nothing too surprising. I didn't get to see a couple of other speakers, because the MSNBC team was talking, but I really don't think I missed much, based on my Twitter feed's reactions.
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And then came Ann. During her speech, I found her awkward, if endearingly so. I think her attempts to humanize Willard alternatively fell flat, or just came across as woefully unconvincing. I didn't buy her hard-scrabble story of their basement apartment, or that either of them is--particularly--just like us. Anyone (and hopefully everyone) feels for Mrs. Romney, and her health struggles. I'm sure it was even hard on Mitt (assuming that at least in private, he has ordinary human emotions). But I find it impossible to forget that the Romneys never had to worry about their finances during their difficult time. A significant portion of any health emergency is the financial element, and the Romneys were lucky enough to be spared the stress that comes with that. "Obamacare" may not be perfect, but it's a first good step to ensure that we regular people have some of that fear alleviated.

Despite my being underwhelmed (as was most of my Twitter feed), the media has quickly seized upon Ann as the star of the night. I'll let her have that, she was okay. Though I take issue with her comment that she and Mitt have a "real marriage." As opposed to? And then Willard was practically wheeled out, surprising no one, and looking more wooden than usual.

The over-arching theme of Mrs. Romney's speech was "love," and when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lumbered out, he quickly stomped on that, declaring it was not love but respect that was called for. Now, let me say straight up that I don't "get" Christie. I'm concerned when I see him that he's going to have a heart attack as I watch. I'm not beyond a fat joke but that's not an attempt to be funny, he looks startlingly unhealthy. And when he gets wound up, it just doesn't look safe to me. [Story continues below]

You can include Christie in the right-wing hero camp with those I mentioned above. He's abrasive, rude, arrogant and just basically dick-ish. His speech--like some of the others--seemed to be removed from the Mitt Romney campaign, with a Mitt endorsement lazily grafted on. Christie's speech came off like a 2016 audition, with no particular enthusiasm for the party's actual candidate.

All-in-all, even with my headache, it wasn't as painful as it could have been. Yes, most of the speakers used talking points based on falsehoods (welfare, "you didn't build that"), but an average day of FOX "News" contains more Obama-bashing, and a sense of coordinated partisanship than this night of television did. It certainly wasn't a pep rally atmosphere, like Obama's 2008 convention. . .or even McCain's.


Ann Romney Speech At 2012 Republican Convention: Mitt 'Is The Man America Needs'

Ann Romney, 63, was making her national debut at the Republican National Convention late Tuesday in a speech designed to introduce the country to the man she knows better than anyone. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post 

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