Ann Romney gave, in my opinion, one of the finest, and most wide-reaching speeches of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night. In it, she dodged any partisanship, and gracefully told the nation why Mitt was the perfect person to begin turning back the current administration’s destructive and disruptive policies. Ann reached out to any number of groups and people, and connected with each one, by sharing a few short stories or personal beliefs of her own.
For the poor: Any number of hardships Ann faced are relatable. She shared her own modest upbringing in Michigan. She told of how she and Mitt used an old door as their “desk” to read and study on, and how their dining room table was an ironing board, as they lived in a cramped basement apartment. She mentioned the working fathers, putting in extra time for their kids. She mentioned the working mothers who struggle to pay for the clothes for children going back to school. She showed us that there is proof that despite hardships, it is possible to rise above any financial hardships.
For the mothers: Ann talked about the late nights, helping with kids’ book reports. She talked about the sick kids and the late-night calls to doctors. She spoke about how much harder the already tough job of motherhood is becoming. She mentions the duties and responsibilities that a mother will come to expect, from their own aging parents’ needs, to the needs of the mother’s own children. Especially important, was her mention of the expectations and tough jobs of motherhood that needn’t be made any harder still, as this current administration has done.
For immigrants: Ann talked about how her father came from Wales to the United States, at only 15 years old. How he then built a business, and even became the mayor of his town. She shared how she was only two generations removed from Welsh coal mines, and the types of jobs which had some of the lowest life expectancies in the world, where the miners would expect to die of things like black-lung and silicosis. Her father left his country as a young adult, and achieved the American dream, and now his daughter could be the country’s First Lady.
For survivors: It’s a well-known story that Ann is a survivor of both breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis. While she only touched on her battles with the two diseases, to see anyone who has battled with either of them, so alive and boisterous, should give other survivors a model to admire. She had a glint in her eye as she spoke, especially whenever she spoke about her husband or her kids.
For children and young adults: She seemed – motherly. She reminded me of my own mom, telling stories about when she was younger and met my dad, and sharing the things that we, as kids, did, that drive parents a little crazy. She brought up the “…rainy winter afternoons, in a house with five boys screaming at once.” She was honest, and she was forthright, and she struck me as the type of women, we would all love to have live next-door to us. She came across as the lady who would always “accidentally” make an extra dozen or so cookies and bring them over.
To me, her speech was the quintessential strength of a woman – no simple thing as a disease would do anything more than merely slow them down. When she spoke and told that crowd, and us, that no one else would work as hard as Mitt Romney, so that we can work a little less hard, and made a promise that he “would not fail” – more than any other commentator or politician - I believed her. Why? Because even if Mitt were to, for some reason, falter, I would know she would have his back.
In a total surprise of yet more media slant, early this week, a Politico blogger by the name Maggie Haberman (@maggiepolitico on Twitter), decided to run background checks on a gentleman featured in a Mitt Romney campaign ad! That is correct – the man was not a money donor or bundler, he merely appeared in an ad. That is the only tie he seems to have to Romney. While some people may think, so what, the guy agreed to appear in the ad, so he gets the fame with the fallout, right? The issue I have is that now instead of trying to show the candidates’ ethics and morality guided by their long-term associations with unrepentant domestic terrorists, that they actually cultivated into close friendships (think Bill Ayers and Barack Obama), the left now the left sees a new tactic to use against candidates.
The left has never seemed to have any ethical hangups about jumping into the business of personal destruction, and the past few years have shown us a couple of good examples. With the aforementioned case with Politico, the “journalist” seemed to relish in the fact the man had a criminal history. The man paid his debt to society and had been a good, law-abiding citizen since the events, but the left saw him tied to Mitt Romney, and so, the man was a fair target for the snarling left’s destruction machine.
This all comes after revelation that the White House’s “Truth Team” shared information on eight donators to the Romney campaign. The men all seemed to have little else in common than donating to the campaign. But, as mentioned before, they showed themselves allied with Romney, and rather than tackle Romney’s message or even dispute their own shortcomings, the left tries to intimidate those who would participate in the democratic process. Is this just another sign that the Obama campaign is in an un-savable nose-dive? The left cannot see the revulsion people feel, seeing under-handed acts like this?
This type of targeting is not the first time the left combed through a private citizen’s past, either. In 2008, Joe Wurzelbacher asked then candidate, Barack Obama, if he believed people were entitled to the fruits of their labor. One embarrassing reply from the candidate later, and the Head of Ohio’s Department of Jobs and Family Services authorized an improper search of Wurzelbacher’s history of unemployment records and child support records. Helen E. Jones-Kelley earned a suspension as a result of the inappropriate inquiries. She was also later reprimanded for using her state email address to solicit donations for the Obama presidential campaign. A Toledo Police Department computer account had also been used to complete a search of Wurzelbacher’s driving history – an action which triggered another investigation.
The governor of the state of Ohio at the time was a Democrat – Ted Strickland, and Toledo is a liberal bastion, presently in Democrat Marcy Kaptur’s Congressional district. I am not saying that the left is the sole monopolizer of this type of destructive dredging up of past misdeeds, presently paid for, but – if the right had done this – the likes of MSNBC and Politico would be going apoplectic trying to “report’ on it. Perhaps instead of running background checks on political opponents and their supporters, Democrats could put those skills to better use vetting their own candidates – then perhaps the nation would not be able to laugh at their choices, like Kwame Kilpatrick, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer.
So, unless you have completely been away from media since Monday, you have heard about Mitt Romney’s colossal failures in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado. His entire campaign has collapsed, and he may as well just pack it in, and return to one of his palatial estates in the northeast. Right? That is the narrative his competition would have us believe is going to occur. He is down, and he is out. I, on the other hand, am not so sure.
So, what does the miraculous-sweep of the three states mean for Romney’s seeming inevitability? For me, not much. Other candidates may see it as a sign that there will surely be a brokered convention, or that there is serious rejection of Romney among Republicans. I, however, see a few silver linings to the “rejection” of Romney.
First, these losses are seen as huge and unexpected – he should play to this fact. As the campaign wears on, he can show himself as a candidate who is not the stuff-shirt, boring, businessman that he has been painted as, but he is a candidate who is flexible. He now has a situation, if he sells it right, that allows him to break out of his silver-spoon, always-been-a-winner, never-had-any-struggles story. He needs to make more people aware of any struggles or tragedies he may have faced. A candidate who can bounce back from unexpected setbacks, who can roll with unexpected punches and is dynamic, that kind of guy is seen as a better president – the type who can lead an ever-changing country. He has now been bested in five states, and if he acts humbled (as he should be), people may see a more relate-able guy (especially in a country facing so many problems, that have touched everyone). He should create a contrast to the effete, aloof Obama.
Secondly, the sheer appeal of candidates like Santorum and Gingrich, who are “conservative alternatives,” shows him what many people are seeking. Romney sure does not do himself any favors by having candidates who have already been losers to Obama (read: John McCain) appear with him. If that is somehow supposed to help him, why not invite Alan Keyes and Jack Ryan to events too? He should maximize any appearances he can make with prospective GOP Congressmen, especially those who are seen as farther right than any others. Meet with current GOP leaders (like Jim DeMint) that holds sway with conservatives, and adopt and advocate for views he shares. He does not need to be seen as any farther left or moderate when his record and talking heads already make him appear that way. He should play up the angle as much as possible, that capitalism did not put us in the economic quagmire we find ourselves in, but capitalism will lead us out.
The economic angle being stressed, will help at events too – feature the people who kept their jobs because of Bain’s investments and actions, and contrast them against the president’s claims of saved jobs. “This is what a real, legitimately saved job looks like America!” Use full advantage of any opportunities like this to differentiate and take shots at failed Obama policies. The more these regulations and economy-killing policies are brought up to voters, the more firmly Obama can be painted as a complete economic blunderer and failure, and the more people will see you as a person who understands the dire situation, and is competent and able to turn a stumbling country around.
He should look to build consensus wherever he can – against the do-nothing Senate, and the any Democratic Senators for continually neglecting their duties. This could help ensure that he would have a more “friendly”, GOP-led Senate. Because of the recent political fallout and anger at the “contraceptive mandate” of Obamacare, Romney could point out the struggles and religious persecution he has faced as a Mormon, and stress how he would never support anything resembling that mandate. Take a stand with Catholics and others, promising to strip out or veto any legislation sent to you with any religious questionability.
Finally, he should take concrete, permanent stands on issues and stick with them. He should draw guidelines and NOT deviate – there is so much concern that Romney is “wishy-washy” and flip-flops. When elected, he should make sure he does everything he can to see those issues’ passing and enforcement occur. America is tired of suave leaders, who are so self-assured that they have convinced themselves that they can do no wrong. He should be humble and willing to listen, and admit as much. He needs to take full advantage of events like CPAC to talk to people, and speak without the safety of prepared material. He needs to show people the person, they seem to have seen nearly enough of the candidate.