2012 GOP Convention – Wednesday

I’m spending some time recapping the 2012 GOP National Convention in Tampa this week on the blog. You can read my recap of Monday & Tuesday here.

Wednesday – I spent Wednesday night in “God’s Country” – you might know it as Mt. Juliet, TN. I drove out to the home of my parents and had some dinner and watched the speeches of the convention with them and our yellow lab, Georgia. The dog was unimpressed. She gets her fill of FoxNews when I’m not there, so I’m sure she’d heard all the talking points a few times already.

The night started out with both Kentucky Senators, Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority Leader) and Rand Paul, speaking back-to-back. McConnell spoke on failed leadership and that help is on the way from Romney/Ryan. Tea-Party favorite Paul brought his message of liberty, per usual. Arizona Senator John McCain spoke as well, followed by the unfortunate combination of Florida and Georgia Attorneys General Pam Bondi and Sam Olens.

This deserves its very own section. If you get a chance to watch any of the videos from the convention, save that speech for never. I’m the first to admit that the GOP has serious issues with how it is perceived by younger generations. These two didn’t help. An awkward speaker will not help your cause. Letting two awkward speakers present at the same time is more than twice as bad. I’m not asking for speaking skills on the level of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Just be able to communicate without falling apart.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had been scheduled to speak, but chose to stay home to help his state manage the effects of Hurricane Issac. Viewers got to then witness a who’s who of former VP possibilities speak, and that’s where I’ll say the most.

We got a great look at five or six possible VP options for Mitt Romney’s running mate on Wednesday night, and it became clear he made the right choice if all we care about is presentation and speaking skills (we don’t, but it’s a good place to start). Sen. Thune, Sen. Portman, Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Pawlenty all spoke and gave their reasons why Mitt Romney should be the choice of Americans interested in seeing American back on top (who exactly is in first? I’m not quite sure.). Each of these men had been on a list of possible options for VP, but Republicans can be sure each would’ve been less than a hand-in-glove fit with Romney.

Buried amid the VP options was Luis Fortuño, Governor of Puerto Rico (American territory). He and Gov. Susana Martinez bring a latin face to a largely caucasian GOP. Each discussed his/her upbringing and the trials of such, ending with the familiar, “I can’t believe I am where I am today” statement. More on Gov. Martinez in a moment, whose speech followed the highlight of the night for me: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice spoke with no teleprompter, and it was a huge success. I heard some commentary from pundits after the evening had ended and agree with statements saying her speech was poetry and her words felt set to music. She was excellent. As a moderate who clearly leans to the GOP side of the issues, she is the type of leader I appreciate. I highly recommend you watch her speech here.

Gov. Martinez did very well, and was praised as “stunning” by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. So there’s that.

The final speaker of the evening was Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the VP nominee for Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign. Ryan has been under fire since he was chosen by Romney, but I couldn’t be happier with him. I personally believe Joe Biden is more embarrassing than President Obama, so I’d love to see Ryan take his place. It would be an enormous upgrade.

Ryan spoke about the past four years under President Obama’s administration. He references broken promises, stagnant growth, Romney’s worn-out music tastes, the President’s propensity to waste money (which he’s pretty good at, per Ryan), and much more. His message was clear; “We can do this.” If you want to watch his speech, click here. Ryan is a young, educated, intelligent, and if twitter and facebook hatred is an indication, he really concerns liberals. He did great despite some very iffy messaging on closed factories from 2008. Or was it 2009? Doesn’t matter. He focused on Mitt Romney as a man with solutions for Americans, not just Republicans.

Overall the night was a success. I really enjoyed watching with my parents, and it was good to see them react to the words of Condi and Rep. Ryan. It’s not hard to find fired up conservatives across the south, but what is interesting is seeing others across the country listening to what Rep. Ryan and Gov. Romney want to do. To be fair, they haven’t released any hard plans or budgets. That said, I trust these men to lead the nation for four years more than President Obama and VP Biden.

Tomorrow, you’ll get a Thursday recap. Thursday evening features more heavy-hitters, including former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista, Craig Romney (Mitt’s son), a few CEO’s of major corporations (maybe a bad idea unless they say they will feel free to unleash jobs when Romney is elected because they know that he wants to see them grow), a few of Mitt’s Massachusetts friends, Clint Eastwood, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will close it out.


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