2012 GOP Convention Recap – Monday and Tuesday
I’ll be recapping the first couple days of the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa, FL with this post.
In 2010, RNC Chairman Michael Steele named Tampa, FL as the chosen location for the 2012 RNC Convention. Nevermind that August/September in the Gulf of Mexico is PRIME hurricane season. Naturally, as the convention approached, a hurricane formed in the Atlantic. Hurricane Issac didn’t cause many problems for Tampa, but it did lead to some interesting changes in the program.
Sunday – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he would not be attending the convention due to Issac’s seemingly direct path toward New Orleans. It has been seven years, nearly to the day, that Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Southern US Gulf Coast. Jindal made the right call. He left an empty spot on the schedule, but I imagine the RNC has a few folks lined up.
Monday – The convention opened and then immediately closed for the day, pushing everything back a day solely based on Hurricane Issac. Good call by Reince Priebus and his team.
Tuesday – The opening day of the convention was really good. The message for this convention is clear; “We built it.” Branding throughout the convention center focuses on this message, a play on President Obama’s misstep a few weeks ago (regardless of the context, he should’ve chosen a different way to say it). The convention officially awarded Mitt Romney the nomination, and then the speeches began.
Additionally, every speaker I heard made a reference to a foreign connection (welsh coal miners, indian-americans, hispanic connections, etc). I don’t think Immigration is a top-three issue when we consider Jobs, Economy, Debt, Healthcare, Spending, etc. Still, it was an interesting inclusion.
The GOP is clearly aiming for votes from minorities. On the first day alone, I counted at least seven speakers of non-caucasian descent (Cruz, Love, Davis, Haley, Fortuño, Sandoval, Valenzuela). Call it what you want, but the GOP is reaching out to minorities to bring voters to the right. Democrats will call it pandering, and they aren’t necessarily wrong. They just do it too.
Highlights from the day included Mia Love (Utah House Candidate), Chris Christie (NJ Governor), Artur Davis (former Democratic House member), and others. The best speech of the night came from Ann Romney, wife of Mitt. She came across as sincere, if not a bit flustered by the gravity of the situation. She spoke little about politics. It’s not her forte, but it wasn’t her goal. Mitt Romney has come under scrutiny for being unable to connect with many people. He’s often referred to as “robotic” – I’ll let you make your own call on that.
Ann Romney spoke mainly about her husband, essentially introducing the country to the man she married. People know about Romney’s wealth, his tenure at Bain Capital, their five sons and eighteen grandchildren, his religion (Mormonism), his time as Governor of Massachusetts, his health care plan in MA, and his work with the 2002 Olympics. Ann talked about meeting him at a high school dance a few times. She mentioned that he was charming, and that he still makes her laugh to this very day. She called out Democratic attacks on his record of success, a strong moment. She also mentioned his generosity, and his propensity to avoid trumpeting his generosity for political gain. She said he is a hard worker, making clear that he and his friends started Bain from the ground up.
She really did a great job. She was funny. For the first time since Mitt locked down the nomination, I felt like people were getting a chance to hear about what kind of man he is from the person who knows him best. Sure, she’s going to paint a rosy picture. She wants her husband to be President. After hearing her speak, I would imagine a few more people might want him to be President.
If I were recommending one video to watch, I think it would be Ann Romney, followed by Artur Davis. His story is interesting enough, and it will be interesting to see if he moves the needle at all for minority voters (he was one of the first legislators to support Obama in 2006).
Note: you can view speeches from the convention on YouTube if you can’t watch them all live or can’t stand the MSNBC, CNN, FoxNews coverage (I can’t). C-Span should be your go-to coverage since there is no commentary and you can watch the entire event without cutting to commercial or analysis.
So there’s the recap from Mon-Tues. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was a good night. For people in the center and undecideds, I think it helped to paint a picture of what the GOP is aiming to do, and why it makes sense.