For a convention that stared down a tropical storm and was cut a day short, Republicans can fly away from Tampa feeling pretty good.
They can feel good knowing that on the final night the RNC, the past, present, and future of the GOP is strong and last night was a strong demonstration of that strength.
You had the Ronald Reagan videos, and retrospective by Newt Gingrich that illustrated past success in American government by exercising conservative values. You had the present with Mitt Romney stepping up and accepting the party’s nomination and reminding the American people that they deserve better, and shouldn’t settle. You also saw the bright future of the party with Florida Senator Marco Rubio shining on the national stage. Let’s break down the final night.
Jeb promotes education, pushes back at Obama:
It was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at his best. Bush used his time to promote education, an issue that’s always been close to his heart, even years after he’s been out of office. He cited eye-opening education numbers, that not only showed American losing ground on India and China but, there were positive numbers as well that demonstrated improvements in speciific areas of the country. He also issued a stern warning to the President to lay off of his brother. “You were dealt a bad hand” Jeb said and, went on to add that he hopes the President still isn’t dwelling on that hand, after his first full term in office.
Clint Eastwood gives us the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:
The GOOD: The 82 year old Oscar winner did exactly what he had to. He kept voters from changing the channel to College Football on Thursday night primetime. He hit the right cord with the older audience and there were viewers who found him charming.
The BAD: Bad, bad gimmick. The empty chair conversation hasn’t played well over the last 24 hrs. You can understand he was trying to be clever but the angle missed the mark.
The UGLY: He looked rough. Not spaghetti western rough, but with his hair going in six different directions and looking lost at times, maybe that Reagan hologram wouldn’t have been so bad after all.
Marco Rubio 2016 or 2020?:
Rubio was charged with bringing the energy level back up after Eastwood/Chair thing for Romney. The introduction couldn’t have gone better and now the rest of the country will be asking when will Rubio’s time will come. From his personal family history to testifying at how great a President Romney would be for the country, Rubio did it all. If Ryan should falter at anytime on the campaign trail, the Florida Senator will give some party members buyer’s remorse.
Romney does enough:
Don’t get me wrong. Romney gave a fine speech but, he didn’t blow the roof off the place. He finally presented the human side of the Republican nominee. Up until now, we’ve had bios, articles, features, and even his wife Ann (who spoke beautifully) tell Mitt’s story but it wasn’t until we heard it from Mitt himself that it really provided that personal touch that voters wanted.
He also went after independents and opened the door for Obama defectors. He questioned the enthusiasm of the President’s voter base and rolled out a strong general election message. “We deserve better” went from his lips to the front page of USA Today this morning. He earned some votes with that speech last night and gave the party enough to feel good about it’s chances moving forward.
Best Speech: Ann Romney. She filled that cold, emotionless vibe around the campaign by, telling a great story about her family on Tuesday night. She was strong, warm, sincere, and perfectly at home on primetime national television. We’re still talking about her days later.
Runner Up: Condoleezza Rice. Not one negative talking point, or jab at the other side. A dignified message that presented the best of what Republicans had to offer for the future of the country. Is it too late to start printing Rubio/Rice bumper stickers?
Best Speech No one saw: Jeb. You read about it a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s a shame it wasn’t feature nationally but, those familiar with the former Governor knows he probably liked it that way.
Worst Speech: Pam Bondi and Barney Rubble. Even a couple of days later, I still feel terrible for Florida’s AG. It’s a great thing she’s a regular on cable television, it will help put this speech behind us.
Best Joke: Paul Ryan’s Ipod joke about Mitt. Not only did it give us a glance of the kind of dynamic these two have together but, it was funny and now the country knows about Ryan’s love of classic rock. Ryan also gets best dressed honors. I’m totally going to rip off that look he sported during his speech.
So, that’s it guys. Next week we’ve got the DNC and this blog we’ll be breaking that down as well. So, have a great weekend and…
Well done RNC. Well done Tampa.