Ann Romney, Racism and The RNC
By Jack Kelly
So far, the Republican National Convention has been a rather average affair with not much level of excitement, in the sense of momentum for the Romney/Ryan ticket. Although, as political pundits have observed and several national media outlets have stated, Ann Romney did a good job and dutifully fulfilled her political purpose of trying to ‘humanize’ her husband Mitt for the American people. So from a strategic level, I would categorize the convention as a net positive for the Romney campaign overall. Ann gave an emotional speech and was able to demonstrate that her and her husband, despite being outrageously wealthy compared to most of us, are as normal as one could be, given their privileged existence. I do not say privilege necessarily in a negative sense, but in a legitimate world view given the circumstance of so many Americans.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a good speech, but it has been panned by people both on the left and right because Christie only mentioned Romney’s name 7 times. He appeared angry and essentially spent his time attacking the teachers union. Sure, it will work with the delegates in Tamps and staunch conservatives, but many moderates were mostl likely turned off.
The problem I see, from a strategic level, was that although the speech was excellent and relatively effective, it didn’t seem to provide Governor Romney with much of an imagine makeover. From this perspective, Romney will have to either convince people that although he may not understand their pain like president Obama or is as likable as the President, he is much better suited to fix the economy. He has two opportunities to do this: The first one will come very soon from his Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Ryan will most likely give a good speech and will probably be perceived well by many viewers. He is youthful and can articulate a strong message and will easily avoid some of the more infamous mistakes that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin made. But, he must not only sell himself, but he must, in some way sell the man at the top of the ticket, Mitt Romney.
I believe Ryan will give a good speech tonight, but I do not see it being a game changing event. If anything, it will slightly tighten the race towards the Romney/Ryan ticket by a point or two, but the ultimate convincing has to be achieved by Governor Romney tomorrow night.
So one would think the convention has been a mild success?
Well, it has been, but then a very ugly event happened last night that reinforces an image of the Republican party that they must somehow shed. ”A Black CNN camerawoman was allegedly harassed at the Convention. The Hollywood Reporter called theRNC incident “ugly,” saying that the alleged racist acts from a pair of convention-goers led to their ejection by convention authorities.
Sources say a CNN camerawoman was taunted by the pair, who yelled, “This is how we feed animals” while pelting her with peanuts at the Republican National Convention.
Later, the GOP released a statement that read:
“Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”
This incident in no way reflects every Republican, but the recurring image of the Republican party, is a party that mainly consist of older white males. From a vvoting perspective, this is a somewhat successful strategy considering it this group of people who consistently vote. However, as the country becomes more diverse, such incidents and inflammatory rhetoric may not only harm the Romney/Ryan ticket, but may do considerable damage to the Republican brand in the future.
Outside of that incident, the convention has been a mild success so far, but the two main attractions must convince Americans to switch from a President that they general like, at least from a personal standpoint, to a person they generally don’t.
It’s a tough challenge, but given the state of the economy, he has a narrow shot and it most likely comes this week.