Last Updated:November 27 @ 10:50 am

Barone: Romney Showed Right Stuff

By Michael Barone

The 40th Republican National Convention is now history, and political strategists and pundits are poring over the poll numbers to see whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are getting a post-convention bounce in what have been very closely divided polls.

Romney's convention managers made some correct and some interesting decisions. First, don't relitigate 2008, as some conservatives would love to do.

Romney and Ryan both acknowledged the hopes for change motivating so many erstwhile Barack Obama voters. They looked back on his record in office more in sorrow than in anger.

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis eloquently described his own disenchantment with the president. You can see why they didn't want to air a minute of his talk on MSNBC. It would have undercut the cable channel's relentless narrative that Republicans are racists.

There was a special callout to young voters, who went 66 to 32 percent for Obama last time, when Ryan talked of twenty-somethings in their childhood bedrooms, "staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. "

And there was a reach-out to the unquantifiable but undoubtedly large number of voters who feel that it would be a bad thing for Americans to be seen rejecting the first black president.

That's the one reason I can think of for why the Romney people made the otherwise puzzling decision to put on Clint Eastwood at 10:00 Eastern, when the broadcast networks began their hour of coverage. It's summed up in one sentence: "And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go."

This was not as tightly scripted a convention as the George W. Bush or Bill Clinton conventions. Eastwood spoke without a teleprompter and so, very effectively, did Condoleezza Rice.

In back-to-back speeches, Ann Romney talked about "love" and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that respect was more important than love. That seemed dissonant.

Actually, the two themes are reconcilable. A leader acts out of love for the people but, as Machiavelli taught, prefers to be feared than loved.

But slicker convention management would have rewritten one of the texts. The Romney folks left interpretation to a mostly hostile press and, they hope, a more sympathetic public.

I suspect the point was not to seem slick. Romney has a cool demeanor, and the convention was a device to humanize him.

He and his wife described their personal lives in ways that resemble those of almost everyone. The kids roughhousing, the misfortunes that come sooner or later: They may have more money, but their lives are like those of lots of people.

The testimony of fellow church members about the Romneys' service and caring was genuinely moving, recounted by people who are the opposite of slick. The convention floor was almost silent as they spoke, and we'll see them again in TV ads.

The point is that the Romneys contributed something that is in short supply even among the very rich: time.

The convention also addressed concerns that have undoubtedly surfaced in focus groups. Yes, the candidate is open to women taking a lead role, as they have on his staff.

Yes, the candidate did help create businesses that employ tens of thousands and provide goods and services that people found they needed. Yes, Republicans care about education, and education choice, so that disadvantaged children have a chance to move upward.

Romney made that point in his speech, and it was underlined earlier in the evening by Jeb Bush, an extraordinarily successful governor and a politician whose behind-the-scenes support at crucial moments made possible the national career of the man who introduced Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio.

Coming off the convention floor, I heard raves about Romney's speech from rank-and-file delegates and limited praise from those more experienced. Not spectacular, they said, but good enough.

That's actually high praise. Democrats like their presidential candidates to be philosopher kings. They must be not only competent, but intellectually dazzling and oratorically thrilling.

Republicans have more modest ambitions. They see politicians as tools -- and are satisfied if they are good enough to do the job.

Mitt Romney in selecting Paul Ryan, in staging an inspiring rather than slick convention and in delivering his acceptance speech, convinced Republicans in the hall and around the nation, and probably many undecideds, that he is a more than sufficient tool to do the job.


Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.



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  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    Ann Romney’s speech on Love only seemed to conflict with Christy’s speech on Respect but does give a glimpse to the solution for any American President who gets elected.
    Until we Americans rediscover the spark of truth which lit the flaming spirit of liberty in 1776 we will continue to see our Liberties and prosperity diminish and flame out, for we Americans have forgotten that this spark undoubtedly came from the same Spiritual flame of Christianity whose precepts are its source. We need to stop considering the consequences but CONSIDER THE SOURCE, and the consequences will take care of themselves.

    What is the power and consistency of God’s flame within the burning Bush which consists of two entities which are light and heat, light which represents the light of God’s truth and Heat which represents God’s Love/passion. Try to solve America’s problems with only Just God’s truth sans Gods’s Love (Conservative Approach) and the flame dies out . But so also if you try to solve America’s problems with only the heat of God’s love, sans light of Gods wisdom ( Liberal Progressive Approach) so also do you fail.

    The truth of the matter is that love without truth, or truth without love, light without heat, heat without light and the eternal flame of life in liberty always flames out. BECAUSE THE TWO WERE ALWAYS MEANT TO BE TOGETHER! God grant us a true leader who understands this principle and can re-unite the American people in the productive heat of God’s loving flames in the light of Gods eternal truths, or we will never succeed again as a nation.

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  2. Son Of ThunderComment by mcrank
    September 3, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    Whether or not Ann Romney’s and Chris Christies’s speeches conflicted, they both spoke of two very much needed attributes of any acting President.

    There must be love of God and respect for Christian principles with no apologies to atheists, muslims, nor any competing belief system. It is a cornerstone to the heritage of this Nation.

    There must be love of this country and for everything for which it stands with no apologies to the rest of the world because we champion true freedom and are willing to defend it.

    There must be love for our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights with no apologies for upholding the principles of government conduct inherent in them and the truths they represent.

    Mr Obama has repeatedly expressed disdain for this country and apologized numerous times for what he believes to be shortcomings in our dealings with the rest of the world. He associates with people who openly embrace racism, radical Islam, and socialist agendas—and who make no apology for doing so. As such, he has clearly demonstrated a total lack of respect for America as a Nation, for its people, and for the value systems that have made our country great and are vital for its survival. He has embarked upon a campaign of hate and discontent and it needs to be reversed.

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  3. makesenseComment by makesense
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

    Three important “dots” were presented during the GOP convention, whose main goal was to get voters to elect Romney as the next US President. Polls taken in the last few days after the convention have indicated that not enough voters were swayed by the videos presented nor by the GOP speakers. The message was not coherent enough, hence, was not convincing to independents or undecided voters. I am presenting here the three “dots” I have connected, hopefully, in a simple and convincing way.

    Bain Capital, the Olympics and Massachusetts — Three great reasons why America should make Romney it’s next President.

    Bain Capital took failing companies, changed their management and made them grow and expand. They also took small and start-up companies, guided their management and made them succeed and grow larger. Not all companies were saved but those were only a handful. The rest were successful. Romney and the investors in Bain made a lot of money because the stocks of the companies they invested in had multiplied many times over and they bought in at a very low price. This is how Romney, his fellow investors and the entrepreneurs got very rich. Result: Numerous companies were created by Bain, managed and expanded them and tens of thousands of American jobs were created.

    In 1999 the 2002 Winter Olympics was in deep trouble because of cronyism and bad management. It was turning into a disaster — headed towards becoming a hugh embarrassment for the USA. It was losing lots of money and would not finish all of the Olympic facilities by the opening day. They called on Romney who had by that time, plenty of years of experience turning failing companies around. Romney came, turned the Olympics around to be very successful, even ending in a surplus. Result: It made America proud of having hosted a highly organized and successful Winter Olympics.

    Massachusetts was in deep array, scandals, mismanagement and deep in debt. When Romney took over as Governor, he introduced fiscal discipline, sound management practices and accountability. He worked with the Democratically controlled Legislature. Result: When he left, the State was in sound financial shape and had several billions in surplus.

    In these three situations, Romney has established a decades long history of rescuing failed companies and institutions. Today, our Federal Government is failing, is $16 Trillion in debt, 23 million people unemployed and/or underemployed and needs to be rescued. Obama had four years to fix the problems. But, instead, he has made them worse. This is the first time in the history of America after the Great Depression that our children’s lives are not going to be better than their parents or previous generations. Our country is in very deep trouble. Our future looks bad.

    Romney is the only one who has the experience and character needed to lead our country out of trouble. He is the right man and at the right time for the job. We need him, our country needs him and the world needs him. He is the best and only American leader who can rescue our country.

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