I didn’t watch much of the GOP Convention as it aired. I just can’t handle these things. But I did read a bunch of the speeches, the ensuing analysis, and then went back and watched any snippets I found interesting (I highly recommend this approach, by the way). And, unsurprisingly, the Republicans fumbled their moment in the national spotlight.
The conventional (pun!) wisdom was that they needed to “introduce” Mitt Romney to America. But that’s shenanigans. Everybody already voting for Romney either doesn’t care to know who he really is (because what does it matter? He’s not Obama) or already knows who he pretty much is (Mitt the Pragmatic Technocrat).
No, what they needed was to roll out their ideas. There may not be that many undecided voters, but – for my own sanity – I’m going to pretend that those that are still undecided are looking for the ideas that were supposed to be coming in this “Election of Competing Ideas” that was proclaimed following the selection of Paul Ryan for VP.
Instead, the one idea seemed to be that Barack Obama has been a poor President. Great! I concur. And?
The whole thing felt awkward. It was like driving up to a car dealership with an old car and the salesman doing nothing but berate you about how bad your car is.
“Boy, looks like you need to get something better!”
“I agree! That’s why I’m here, looking for options.”
“Good thing. I mean, look at those tires. Those are a joke, bro.”
“Yes, totally! (extends hand for high five) So what can you show me?”
“I mean, seriously, what’s the horsepower situation here? One? Come onnnn! This guy knows what I’m talking about!” (points at Tim Pawlenty)
“I KNOW. So do you have any better cars for me to think about?”
“I’d really rather you keep focusing on how bad your current car is, and then in two months just come back here and pick something out of panic.”
(repeat for 4 days)
This was the chance to play the math card (a legitimate card! Unless, you know, you’re Paul Ryan and voted for TARP and the auto bailouts and don’t think military spending factors into said math). This was a chance to roll out some tangible job-sparking ideas that Mitt Romney gleaned from his time in the private sector (another legitimate card! I actually do believe Mitt probably has some ideas from his time at Bain. Why not mention, like, one?). This was a chance to tie our overreaching foreign policy to our unsustainable financial situation (another legitimate card! But actually, they put Condi Rice up there and threw in some Iran [and maybe Syria?] saber-rattling for good measure. So that card was actually torn up and then set on fire).
Never mind, guys, I figured out why there weren’t any ideas.