Think of the “To Do” list that the RNC and the Romney campaign had for the Convention. It was probably something like this.
• Continue to rebuild the Republican brand.
• Come out of the Convention excited about our ticket.
• Give Republicans a reason to open their wallets.
• Highlight the choice the voters face.
I’m biased, but not so biased that I can’t see the obvious fact that each of these goals was met.
The Republican Brand. Let’s set Ryan and Romney aside for a moment. The Republicans demonstrated that they has built of bench of diverse (hate the word, but it’s accurate here), young, vibrant Republican leaders: from Chris Christie to Mia Love (soon the be my member of Congress) to Nikki Haley to Susanna Martinez (I’d never seen her before and was pleasantly surprised: she’s the real deal) to Marco Rubio to Kelly Ayotte (could have done better, but she’s gonna be fine) and on and on and on. This isn’t your father’s Republican party in terms of the faces you see, but it does seem to be the principled party we’ve always wanted it to be. Anyone notice that I mentioned only two men: how’s that “war on women” thing working for the Dems? I didn’t mention everyone. Can anyone think of young Democrats who bring the polish and principles of the new Republican bench? Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? Never mind.
Excitement About the Ticket. Ann Romney came across as smart, committed, and tough, especially if you’re going to describe her husband as an automaton. She is a huge asset. Paul Ryan: what can I say other than that he gave the best political speech since some of the great ones by President Reagan. [If the VP debate were sold on a “pay-per-view” basis, I’d be the first to get out the old credit card]. Bright, good-looking, amazingly articulate with a gift for absolute clarity, Ryan can calmly state truth in one sentence and then become a smiling “attack dog” in the next (and he does it without looking like a bully). Finally, Mitt. I hoped for a solid “B.” What we got was a great speech (I give it an A-). He doesn’t have Ryan’s gift, and it doesn’t come out as smoothly, but I felt inspired that this is the man who can turn American around—and compared to his opponent, there is no choice.
Opening the Wallet. See above. If there was ever a reason for conservatives/Republicans to put some skin in the game, this is the year. It really does matter.
The Clear Choice. The day Romney presented Ryan as his running mate, it became clear that this would be a campaign based on two stark choices: kick the can and demonization versus adults who make hard choices to solve problems. Their speeches and the other speeches continued to underline that choice.
And it’s nice that Isaac, while it caused its share of damage, wasn’t a re-run of Katrina. And isn’t it nice that the Good Lord wasn’t listening to Ellen Barkin’s tweet asking Him to wash all those evil Republicans out to sea.
I came out of the convention feeling better than I ever thought I would. In Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt (his morning e-mail that you can sign up for at NRO), he links to a tweet by Tabitha Hale: “Suddenly this doesn’t feel like 2008 anymore.” Indeed.
Buy some tinfoil this week to build your anti-demonization hats (watch Signs for the proper design). There’ll be a lot of it in the air next week emanating from North Carolina. It’s all they have.