Mitt Romney gave what must be deemed his best public performance since he began his run for the Presidency at the Republican Convention on Thursday night. Enthused but not over-eager, bright-eyed instead of vacant-eyed as he can often seem on-camera, delivering both the emotional autobiographical material as well as the laugh lines without stepping on his own timing, Romney made his case with forceful vigor.
Romney made an entrance into the convention hall, pressing the flesh in a manner that an NBC commentator compared to the sort of entrance a wrestler makes, which seemed a tad churlish to me. He spoke touchingly about his wife, his family, and his parents. The presentation was dramatically presented, with the cameras picking up the faces of women, in particular, who were visibly moved by Romney’s reminiscence of his father’s gift of roses to his mother. And of course, the final drop of 120,000 balloons was pretty.
Romney’s most effective line may have been his simplest: “My promise is to help you and your family.”
Of course, whether or not you believed the content of what Romney so handily performed is another matter. He promised to create 12 million jobs. He said he’d “care for the sick [and] the elderly.” He promised “a little less flexibility and more backbone” in America’s dealing with Russia. He said, “I’ll protect the sanctity of life… and guarantee the freedom of religion.”
His attacks on Obama weren’t new – “He’s led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression” – and Romney, after downplaying his role as a businessman in recent weeks as the opposition has raised questions about his time at Bain Capital, has now decided to re-embrace this part of the past by casting himself as a great American success story, adding, “”In America we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for success!”
And Romney said, with an intriguing vagueness, “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour.”
As long as that tour doesn’t include Taylor Hicks, who performed an absolutely atrocious version of the Doobie Brothers oldie “Takin’ It to the Streets” earlier in the Republican evening.