Speeches Rally And Invigorate Both Parties' Constituants
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
On Aug. 27, the already heated race for the November 2012 presidential elections officially began. The Republican National Convention [RNC], held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., solidified the nomination of Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican ticket. Senator Paul Ryan of Wisconsin joined Romney as the vice-presidential candidate on the ballot. The Democratic National Convention [DNC] began Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to accept the nominations for the Democratic ballot tonight, Sept. 6.
The Republican National Convention originally scheduled opening ceremonies for Monday, Aug. 27. However, Hurricane Isaac caused the convention to recess until Tuesday afternoon. Monday’s events were limited to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus calling the convention to order and beginning the “debt clock,” which tracked the rise of national debt in America through the four-day convention. Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney and former first lady of Massachusetts, preceded New Jersey governor Chris Christie at the podium Tuesday night. Ann Romney presented her husband as a good father and caring friend, while targeting the female audience and stressing the importance of family. Her speech has been praised by critics, yet called ineffective, but Ann Romney’s intention to make her husband a more real, human-like figure was accomplished. Christie, the keynote speaker of the RNC, received more mixed reviews—the biggest critique being that his speech was more about himself than Mitt Romney.
Vice presidential candidate Ryan took the stage Wednesday night, to every delegate’s pleasure. Fox News summarized Ryan’s speech in three words: dazzling, deceiving, and distracting. Ryan faced immediate criticism for inaccurate information regarding Obama’s financial policies and “Obamacare.” Critics were quick to point out Ryan’s lack of acknowledgement of his abortion policies and strong conservative views concerning morality. However, his purpose was to add energy and passion to the Republican Party, a feat he accomplished with flying colors. In terms of personality and humanizing a candidate, Ryan shone where Romney has struggled.
Preceding Romney at the podium Thursday evening was famous actor and director Clint Eastwood. The former mayor of Carmel, Calif. ad-libbed his speech, addressing an imaginary Obama in an empty chair beside him onstage. His political comedy routine was “bitingly satirical,” albeit long-winded and rambling. Like other major speeches of the RNC, critics immediately attacked Eastwood for using inaccurate figures (specifically regarding the unemployment rates in the United States).
Romney’s main purpose in the “speech of his life” last Thursday night was to push through the stiff exterior and promote his ability to connect with the middle class—difficult tasks thanks to the Democratic political ads and comedians. Mixed reviews poured in from press and population alike. The consensus: good, but not good enough. He humanized himself, but not in a likeable manner. While he may connect with the working class and female population, critics did not think his nomination would be enough to sway voters who previously voted for Obama.
The overarching theme of the Republican National Convention was “A Better Future.” All four days additionally had their own theme: “We Can Do Better,” “We Built It,” “We Can Change It,” and “We Believe in America.” The closing ceremony concluded with candidates Romney and Ryan officially accepting the Republican nomination, 120,000 balloons falling upon the 2,000 plus delegates, and a new Twitter hash tag—#eastwooding—thanks to Eastwood’s comedy routine. As the Democratic National Convention continues, the big question remains: does Romney have what it takes to beat Obama? Is America better off today than it was four years ago, as Obama claims and Romney vehemently denies?
According to ABC News and The Washington Post, “Barack Obama approaches his nomination for a second term with the lowest pre-convention personal popularity of an incumbent president since the 1980s.” Polls as of Wednesday, Sept. 5, show Democratic favor by less than half a percent among the National Popular Vote [47.3 percent for Obama, 46.9 percent for Romney]. For the first time in his presidency, Obama is considered “unfavorable” by over half the American population. After last week’s convention, Romney saw a five point increase in the polls—but is still considered “unfavorable” by 40 percent of the U.S. population.
First lady Michelle Obama sought to increase that likeability Tuesday night in her heartfelt speech about the real American dream. While never using Romney’s name, she provided a sharp contrast between his wealthy upbringing and the Obamas’ struggle: “Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it.”
Like Ann Romney, the first lady sought to humanize her husband, discussing his role as a father and his unswerving character from the time he entered into office four years ago. Overwhelming praise for Michelle Obama, a press favorite, began immediately after her speech, especially on the social media site Twitter.