Last night’s evening session of the Republican National Convention featured two exceptional speeches that could set the tone for the remainder of the gathering. The first was by Mitt Romney’s last remaining serious rival, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum gave an emotional speech about the toll that Barack Obama’s policies are taking on ordinary working people all over America. He reminded the audience off his family’s own immigrant background, and that his grandfather had come from the mountains of Northern Italy to work in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania so that his children and grandchildren could have a better life. Santorum also said that he was thankful that there was at least one party in America that would stand up for the helpless unborn.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote address, in which he called for a “new era of truth telling” in our politics, and used his own experience as Governor to remind his audience that people will respond to the truth, saying that people said he couldn’t take on the public sector unions or the teachers’ unions, but he did. The second best speech came from floor-crossing former Democratic Representative Artur Davis of Alabama, who said that “this time, instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let’s pay our bills down and start creating jobs.”
One Tennessee delegate in Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) is right that the party “establishment” types and others have greatly over-reacted to Ron Paul and his supporters. Paul seemed “genuinely happy to be there,” as Campfield said, but even watching the convention from a distance shows the observer that Paulites were largely a big dud-I think a lot of people were worried over nothing. They carried a couple of delegations (Iowa and Minnesota) by taking over Rick Santorum’s delegate slots after he withdrew from the race. Some of the Paulites are good Republicans and deserve to be treated with respect because they are an important part of the Republican coalition. Other Paul “supporters” find Ron Paul to be their political flavor of the month, could care less about Republican politics, and honestly thought Dr. Paul could somehow get nominated without winning a single primary or caucus. The latter group of people won’t likely return to try and influence Republican conventions in the future, because they do not identify with the Republican Party of the present.
There should not have been an attempt to drastically change the rules of the party to deal with a political force that is very obviously spent.