The Republican Party had two tasks to complete in Tampa. The first was to counter the argument — much advanced by the media’s Obama Amen Choir — that it had become a party of loons. The second was to showcase the strengths and virtues of its nominee.
It succeeded on both counts.
For those expecting to see a gathering of the American Taliban or a parade of people speaking in tongues, there was instead an interesting and eclectic array of talented, smart and serious-minded GOP politicians and policy makers. There wasn’t a loon to be found. The convention hall offered nothing in the way of menace. The Grand Old Party was glad to see you, happy to have you, and happy to be there. It was tailgate America, warming up for the big game.
Part two was to reassure people that Mitt Romney has “what it takes” to handle the presidency at a particularly difficult time. We’re long past the luxury of “likeability,” so the convention didn’t really ask you to “like” Romney, in a Facebook sort of way. It asked that you respect him, because he is a man worthy of respect. That case, through personal testimonials, was convincingly made.
Regarding his qualifications and aptitude for the nation’s highest office, that case too was convincingly made, because it was (and is) easy to make. Romney is obviously competent and capable. His resume is filled with successful endeavors. Never really comfortable in the political realm, he got to the top of the heap anyway, through relentless determination and hard work. There’s no serious question about whether he can handle the demands of the job. He’s good to go.
The questions that remain, then, are these: Which is the best way forward? Which is the best way back? Romney’s speech was fine in that regard. He left people with the impression that things just might get better if he is elected president. He left the people in the convention hall with the sense that he can win.
That’s a good place to start a general election campaign.