Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RNC Convention Recap - DNC Look Forward

   Here we are four days removed from the RNC convention. Now it's time to take a look back at the event, and appraise it. There was a ton of material to cover, but only a portion that will possibly effect the election. That is what we are sticking to today.

   The best line from the convention has not been mentioned by the media. That's not a surprise, what is a surprise is that the Romney campaign does not have an online video leading off with it, and building upon it. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said:

      "Then you have Barack Obama, who has never started a business - never even worked in a business. And he claims those who have should give credit to the government or someone else for their success. So, you have one candidate who understands that success comes from working hard, competing, and taking risks. And you have another candidate  who believes success comes from the government. Which one do you think knows how to turn this economy around? Which one would you choose to invest your life's savings? Should it be any different for safeguarding our nation's economy?"

   The message here is so succinct and complete. The RNC or Romney/Ryan should plaster this everywhere. To be more specific, they should show a spending graph for the last 4 years, and a constant ticking debt clock the whole time. 

   The funniest speech was Tim Pawlenty (yes, even funnier than Clint). Really, it was more of a roast than a speech. He called President Obama the tattoo president. "Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young, but later you wonder what was I thinking? The worst part is, you're going to have to explain it to your kids." He also quipped that "Lot's of people fail at their first job." Whether you support President Obama or not, that is just good comedy.

   Now we are down to the big seven speeches. In order of delivery we have: Ann Romney, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood, Marco Rubio, and Governor Romney. 

   Ann Romney's speech was masterful. She immediately made it not about politics, but about an American family. She specifically focused on women. She mentioned that the sighs from from wives and mothers are always a little bit bigger because of how much they have to handle. She also made a statement that was a home run when speaking to women, "We're too smart to know there aren't any easy answers." If you go back to my post on Female Voters, this is the kind of campaigning I was referencing. Beyond that, she really nailed it down when she said, "Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others, because he sees it as a privilege." This might be the second best line to Senator Portman's. Consciously and/or subconsciously, many if not most voters make a judgement on why someone would want to be President.  Why would a very wealthy family man with 5 sons, and scores of grandchildren (just kidding, I think it's 16), want to take the job of President? He's 65, his wife is 63, she beat cancer and now she is battling MS. They are of family of means. They can live anywhere, and do practically anything they want. Why would he want to spend the next 4 to 8 years in a position of such high stress and worry, instead of spending it with his wife and family? Well, she answered that. He sees it as an honor. Again, this is a very, VERY compelling message in my view, and one that the Romney campaign should put out there more.

   Chris Christie was okay, but he was not great. There is a lot of speculation as to why he wasn't "himself." Possibly it was a crafty move by the Romney campaign. They asked him to tone down the shtick on purpose so that it wouldn't over shadow anything or anybody else for better or for worse. As for the content, it can be summed up as such: "Chris Christie loves you and Chris Christie, and Chris Christie wants you to stand up and love America, and Chris Christie, along with Chris Christie." It was gratuitously self indulgent. Did it work to promote him? Time will tell.

   Worth a short mention is a speech I'm sure many missed, but it may have had an effect on the big speech of that day. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, son of Congressman Ron Paul, spoke Wednesday before Paul Ryan. Rand's speech really worked up the crowd and got a big applause. It was a mix of cheer leading and policy. It looks like this may have stolen some of Paul Ryan's thunder.

   Paul Ryan's speech was a lot of what was expected. He did very well. Pundits have been commenting that he was dry, or that he was outright lying. What he actually appeared to be was focused and serious. Right now that is what many of the swing voters are looking for, someone who is not overwhelmed and up to the challenge. His speech did exactly what it needed to do. Feel good speeches don't cut it anymore. Voters want to sense that speakers have a good enough grasp on the problems to create an answer. Want a good and simple barometer of it's impact? Just look at how democrats and main stream media responded to it. (This method works both ways). The more worked up they are, the more impact it had.  In this case, they have been very worked up and yelling about lies to the high heavens, or talking about George W. Bush... Who is NOT on the ticket.

   Someone else being called a liar, although not to his face, is Clint Eastwood. This speech, excuse me stand up routine, I watched at least four times to make sure I got it. It really was an unpolished gem. Before 08/30/2012, what odds would you have expected on Clint Eastwood talking about crying? There were moments of real genius in there. The implication of "Governor Romney can't do that to himself" was brilliant. He made some very important points: we own this country, we are the best, and if someone can't do the job, fire them - we don't have to be mental masochists and vote for them, and he wrapped these comments in comedy. How did the left respond to this? Very shortly afterwards the official Obama twitter account posted a pic of the President in a Presidential Chair saying "This seat's taken." That is pretty heavy when you think about it. Whether you liked or hated Bush and Clinton, they both likely would have laughed a lot, and yes I know, I know. Bill tried to tell Hillary it was an empty chair, and George probably had a conversation with an empty chair before. Another big surprise, and possibly a big take away with voters, is how much Eastwood talked. Mr. Eastwood has been in the public eye for over 55 years, have you ever heard him referred to as loquacious?

   Following Clint was Marco Rubio. This speech I watched more than twice as well. For awhile now, I have been paying attention to Senator Rubio with a certain amount of apathy. Many of my conservative friends have been over the moon for this guy. This speech showcased why so many people like him. He is the American dream. His parents immigrated to America and worked all the time so that he and his siblings could pursue their dreams. As a first generation American, to be a senator in the U.S. Senate is pretty much dream accomplished. He brought all of this to the forefront. Additionally, his speech was an eloquent transition of tone from Clint to Governor Romney.

   Mitt Romney's speech was well done. Many have panned it saying he didn't offer enough details. President Obama said it belonged on black and white TV. Voters may think differently. His first good decision was coming out and shaking hands BEFORE the speech. Had he done it after, the networks would likely have cut away. What many political talking heads are missing, is what the entire tone of the speech said. He offered specific examples of what he considers Obama failure, and he offered his plans. Commentators get hung up on single lines and phrases because they deal with so much information. Most swing voters that see this will look at the whole story. If you take it for that, it was reality based and it told us that it's time to roll up the sleeves and go to work.  Romney took a square look at the here and now, and he did so with an eye to the future. The campaign message of the night was "we can", and the message matched the slogan. Well done. That is not being offered by Obama/Biden. In direct contrast, the Obama/Biden ticket keeps giving mixed signals by talking about Bush and Clinton, yet they are using the campaign message forward. Which leads me to the next topic, the DNC convention.

   Tonight at the DNC convention the heavy hitters we have lined up are: Harry Reid, a Jimmy Carter video, Kal Penn, Governor Martin O'Malley, and Michelle Obama. You can see the full schedule here. Also, if you use an iPhone or iPad, there are some really cool apps out there for this event, they should make it more fun to follow along.

   The democrats have a very uphill battle. Can President Obama and the DNC turn this around and win? Yes, definitely. Are they making the moves to do it? Not even close.

   The biggest issue the Obama campaign faces is the unemployment rate. You can spin the numbers all you want, but unemployed people know they are unemployed. Their family knows it. Their friends know. Businesses where they used to shop know it. This is a looming problem. You really cannot say "I have a plan to..." when you are already the President. The immediate, and in this case lasting, response in the voters mind is "Well why the hell haven't you used it already, why are you waiting?" or "Oh, because the other plan worked so well." You cannot win that way. You must take a completely different approach, and no I will not discuss it. As a political strategist, figuring out how to win when everyone else is losing is my stock-in-trade.

   So tonight, if Obama and the DNC want to win, they must begin anew. Scrap what they have been doing and take a completely different approach. Saying "it could be worse" is the same thing as saying "I haven't lost yet." The clock is ticking.

Additional notes:

Even after Clint, the DNC convention is sticking with it's celebrity line up. Strategically, this nullifies the whole "Mitt Romney is out of touch" argument. Who is more out of touch than someone that gets paid millions to play pretend?

A British newspaper is reporting that the Obama speech may be downsized from a 74,000 outdoor arena to a 20,000 seat indoor arena. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

According to a new poll from The Hill and Pulse Opinion Research, only 40% of likely voters believe President Obama deserves a second term. This Friday, literally 9 hours after Obama's speech, the jobs report comes out and it will affect this number for bad or for good.

The Daily has a report of how much the government managed to spend on chairs. Only read THIS if you feel like shaking your fists.

Questions or comments? edwardsanalysis@gmail.com


No comments:

Post a Comment