Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building It, Day 3

My wrap on Mitt Romney's speech is over at PP. Short version: eh.

I'll add a couple things to what I said over there in a minute, but first -- holy cow! We're watching a national party convention, and all of a sudden a great TV moment breaks out. Well, that was certainly unexpected. The Clint Eastwood appearance would have been amazing TV wherever it was plunked down, but as it was it was even more incongruous than it would have been at, say, an awards show or on Oprah or whatever, and so that made it even that much more TV TV. It wasn't something to like or dislike; it was just something to appreciate, and marvel at, and to remember to thank television, in its twilight years, for all the great moments its given us.

Now, Romney. The one thing that I didn't mention over there that I probably should have is about the truth. My sense? There's a very good chance that they deflated the speech and removed some of the trademark Romney lies after the vehemence of the reaction to Ryan. In particular, it was striking that the welfare thing was gone. Oh, sure, the (fictional) apology tour made an appearance, and I noticed a couple of other whoppers, but overall the complaint against Obama didn't seem entirely divorced from reality, or at least not actively insulting the truth.

As for the rest of the day, we did actually have a little policy section -- Jeb Bush on education -- which seemed totally out of place for at least the parts I saw of this convention, although perfectly normal for a regular convention of either party. We had one nice moment about Romney himself, with regular people who Romney had helped in his capacity as an LDS bishop. But the rest of the day did little to really humanize him. Including, for the most part, the film, this time used early instead of bringing the nominee on stage. It was fine, but it was forgettable. My brother has been pushing a theory that it's a waste of time to try to get people to like Mitt, and the convention organizers certainly acted as if they believed that. I liked the Olympics part.

And of course you can imagine that I liked the balloon drop and the parade of the running mate, the wives, and then the families on to the stage. For whatever it's worth, this version was nicely done.

So, the Republicans have had their turn. Time for a nice long weekend away from conventions (well, at least away from watching them), and then the Democrats get their turn on Tuesday.

17 comments:

  1. Clint: absolutely reason to dislike, and be disgusted by. His appearance here and support of Romney is even more incoherent than his performance. He is pro-choice; he is pro marriage equality; he believes in climate change. He's totally lost his edge.

    the Romney film: I thought it was a nice fresh surprise. the older photos, and esp. the home movies, were wonderful, particularly because they included sound. It really opened up and lifted up their family life. The note that fell flat was everyone stressing how "cheap" daddy is. I get they're going for "frugal," a regular guy, but it was unseemly. Who would instinctively trust a "cheap" quarter-billionaire? It just doesn't feel natural.

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  2. Clint Eastwood was great! He managed to get the convention to laugh at the stupidity of our Afghanistan policy and applaud for a policy change (bring home the troops tomorrow) that's to the left of Obama, by just telling them it was Romney's policy!

    With all the concern over Ron Paul supporters, it's hilarious that they would give the only unvetted speech to another libertarian.

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    1. I found this funny too!

      That said, I think it's unfortunate for Republican-affiliated libertarianism that it's prominent representatives lately have been two quite elderly men who have a problem in coming off as somewhat crazy and doddering.

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    2. ...um, does the Left have ANY libertarian representation? There's none represented by the Obamabots, that I can see.

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    3. I wasn't trying to imply anything along left-vs-right ideological lines. My point is about who gets to represent libertarianism at GOP-affiliated events, from the primaries to the RNC. It would be better, I'd imagine, in terms of political persuasion if they could find spokespeople without some of the qualities that Ron Paul and -- by unfortunate circumstance here -- Eastwood have. For example, the neocons have found Rubio. Yes, it's not a terribly deep point on my part, being as it is about optics, but would you disagree?

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    4. And when it comes to foreign policy positions -- which is what Couves's original point was about -- many ones taken by libertarians are very hard to place along a left-vs-right ideological spectrum. Thus I focused on party-affiliation, not ideology.

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    5. Focus on whatever you want... My question posed in response to your original assertion is the same, and I'm still asking whether the Left has ANY libertarian representation. The Obamabots have none, it seems.

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    6. PF - I don't think many people even know that Clint is a libertarian.

      If Ron Paul is such a terrible spokesman, than how do you explain the spontaneous support he's received, mostly from young voters? He started one of the most powerful genuine political movements in the country right now.

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  3. Where are the protestors? Friedersdorf talked about police treatment of Occupiers but it seems like there were hardly any demonstrators at all. Has there been a Republican convention as protest-free as this one?

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  4. Apparently the first thing network viewers saw was Eastwood. I thought Romney's optics, attempting perhaps to look sad and softer, didn't work: he looked like he was suffering from gastric distress. He talked tough at times but didn't look or sound strong. My one word description of Romney and his speech:condescending.

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  5. Eastwood was brilliant.

    The Willardbot control freaks had to be terrified over that, so I'm wondering if his appearance wasn't a Ron Paul concession as well. Clint's speech was certainly the libertarian keynote here.

    And he delivered the operative line from this convention: "When somebody doesn't do the job, you have to let him go."

    We'll have to wait and see whether the conversation shifts to the comprehensive Obama failures, or stays focused on the horse race, implying Obama has a good chance to win. We're moving into the 60 day time frame, meaning any break has the potential to hold through the election... or not. But one break eventually will, as we know. That Obama break in 2008 was as clear as daylight. That's what we're waiting on. It may not occur though. I'm thinking it's a close race.

    I only watched a couple late minutes of Ryan's speech, and just watched Clint on YouTube, and ignored everything else from this quadrennial waste of bandwidth including anything to do with any Romney, but those 2 guys Ryan and Eastwood seem to be the buzz.

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    1. If Ron Paul wanted Eastwood to speak, that probably would have been the kiss of death for him.

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  6. I think it is hard for people who are deeply interested in politics and public policy, like those of us who read this blog, to analyze how low and moderate information swing voters will react to a speech like that. For what its worth (not much, sample size of one), my relatively apolitical wife (58 year old school nurse) liked the speech, and thought it made Romney seem likeable. We will have to wait for the polls to see how much of a bounce he gets, but I'd be quite surprised if he got no bounce at all. My guess would be a 3% or 4% bounce in the polls, but we'll all find out soon. It was clearly not an A+ convention for the Republicans, like 1992 was for Clinton or 1988 was for George H.W. Bush, but it went fairly well; I'd give their overall performance a B+. But I am a political junkie who's a strong Republican, so my intuition might be very wrong.

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  7. Regarding Romney vs. Ryan, I would have assumed that they had arranged it from the beginning to have Ryan attack the opposition and have the candidate do the warm, fuzzy, uplifting bit. The uplifting bit relies more on the vague than the mendacious.

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  8. Heh. All the lefty whining over Clint's digs is getting a well deserved skewering:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2012/08/30/Eastwood-Mocks-Obama

    The media, naturally, is furious. They don’t like to see Their Precious One mocked and they also understand the power of mockery -- which is why they keep Stewart and Colbert on such a tight leash. This is why the media has already written 25 stories (5 from Politico) mocking Eastwood.

    Had Eastwood said the things the media likes to hear with the same nervousness and hesitation, they would've called him wizened and seasoned. But because he mocked Their Precious One, suddenly he's some kind of embarrassment.


    I can't understand why these lefties are freaking out so madly over this. It was a 10 minute rap for crisakes. Get over it.

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  9. Have we not had enough "sound bites" -- or must we suffer through more until the DNC is done with their hoopla?
    The business at hand is the health of our country, and what each party proposes to do to help the US grow healthier.
    Whoever can work WITH Congress - threaten, persuade, or whatever -- gets my vote. And let's get the spotlight back on Congress, to flush the lazy bas---ds out of the shadows and out of Congress for good!

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    1. @Jim, it's really not enough to say "whoever can work WITH Congress" and not care what policies get implemented. It's not as the two periods when legislation flew through Congress, the early Bush years and the first Obama year, were at all equivalent.

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