First, let's get Gov. Chris Christie's "It's all About Me" speech out of the way first. Excuse me, I thought this was the 2012 convention, not 2016. Big, blustery, blowhard is what came to me as I watched. Gotta love his in-your-face approach I guess, but it was just off in my view—over the top and not a keynote for the key candidate, Mitt Romney.
But the real keynote of the night was set up to be Ann Romney. Was her initial awkwardness somewhat appealing? Yup. Was she effervescent and bubbly? Yup. Was she clearly devoted to her husband? Yup. But for me, a bit too much of the cheerleader type, the woman who had it all in high school and beyond. The basement apartment and eating tuna fish didn't quite work—come on, they were rich from the get-go and got richer. Why do the humble beginning bit when you always knew you were upper crust?
Yes, I admit, all that is appearance and rather superficial. Let's talk about the two main goals: humanizing Mitt Romney and appealing to women voters. Did she succeed? I am not sure she humanized him that much, maybe humanized herself. The speech itself was not that good—not full of stories, not that revealing about Mitt, not that specific about aspects of him that are appealing. It helped marginally, but they have a lot of work to do to make Mitt likeable and someone who can identify with working families. He looks stiff, acts stiff, and has a tin ear. He is afraid, a deer in the headlights, and it shows. Mitt is Mitt.
On the question of appealing to women voters, it all seemed so transparent to me. All style, no substance.
I went back and reviewed party platforms, all the way to 1960. The year's platform is horrendous when you compare it to even 1960. The Republicans called for equal pay for equal work in 1960, and they called for a constitutional equal rights amendment back then. They pushed civil rights and nondiscrimination based on race or sex or national origin. The 2012 party platform is a disgrace to that document of over 50 years ago. The Republican Party has gone backwards, big time.
Ann Romney did nothing to answer the concerns that women have about the issues that affect them—the workplace; access to contraception; healthcare for women; banning abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother; opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; etc.; etc.
In addition, when it comes to educating your kids, childcare issues, and the plights of single mothers, it is hard to back an economic plan that would eviscerate Head Start, slash Pell Grants for college, and take away nutrition programs. None of these issues, of course, crossed her lips, aside from the "I feel your pain" rhetoric. The Romney camp doesn't want to talk about their platform for fear that women (and men!) might figure out just what the plan is to move our nation backwards. Sadly, for the Republicans, they were a lot more interested in progress in 1960 than they are now.
Go read the 1960 Republican Platform. It will blow you away.