By Robert Schlesinger |
Conventions are carefully coordinated political infomercials intended to make the top of the ticket look presidential and ready for primetime. The 2012 Republican National Convention not only made Mitt Romney look like an afterthought, it exposed a big liability in his entire campaign for president: Romney has no distinct vision for the future of the country.
Attacking the current administration is not enough. Romney had the task of introducing himself to the country, attempting to appear empathetic with the struggles of ordinary Americans, and most importantly, showcasing his plans for where he would take the country if elected.
On night one, Ann Romney introduced Romney's softer side in a speech that did help him appear more human than any past appearances or interviews. Arguably though her speech did not succeed in making Romney appear empathetic, as portions of the speech felt forced in a "we understand your pain" kind of way, when it was ultimately clear that the Romney's do not. When your definition of "struggle" is cashing in stock options to pay for your children's education, you don't understand what most Americans are going through.
The most important goal for Romney should have been showcasing his plans for the future of the country. Romney failed first because he selected speakers who were all about their own political futures. Speaker after speaker only mentioned Romney's name sparingly, apparently more concerned with their personal audition for 2016, than helping make the case for Romney in 2012.
Last night, Romney himself was upstaged by actor Clint Eastwood who introduced him and went overtime in a bizarre performance that left many scratching their heads. While the conventions always give the candidates a small bounce in the polls, it's clear that Romney let this critical moment slip away.
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