Did you watch any of the Republican National Convention coverage last night? It was, as might be expected, a whole lot of the country is moving in the wrong direction and it can all be laid at the feet of President Barack Obama.
House Speaker John Boehner suggested that the president would be thrown out like a pesky bar fly should he have dared set down in his family’s bar spouting his crazy notions. All of the standbys were there from healthcare reform forcing healthcare on people to the notion that a business owner did not build his business on his work alone.
Would be GOP nominee and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.) repeated the claim that the Obama Administration has gutted the crowning glory of the Clinton Administration as he sees it: the work requirement built into welfare, a program Santorum took personal pride in implementing. Santorum excoriated the president for sending the country into a “nightmare of dependence” (Newsday), and never mind that the claim is a “gross simplification” and that the move was made in response to requests by governors from both parties (Washington Post).
Then Ann Romney came on stage. She looked lovely, which should be neither here nor there, but we are not really at a place where we do not make those kind of observations about anyone in the public, and certainly not when it comes to someone married to a presidential candidate. She gave her prepared speech (text of which can be found here), and tried to do what her husband has failed to do thus far, humanize Mitt Romney.
She spoke of love. That of hers for her husband. That of her own for her children and grandchildren (18 at last count). That of hers for America. She spoke of their courtship, and how all these years later, Mitt can still make her laugh. The one thing that came across in abundance was her love of her husband. She spoke of their trials, their faith and her health. So when she said that she has never thought they had a fairytale marriage, just a “real one”, it was easy to see she believed it. The problem is that it might have come across to some as a subtle nod to the social conservative set, their marriage is real because it is traditional. Was it meant to be? Only she and the speechwriters know.
So after all that talk of love, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey can on stage to deliver the keynote speech, and it was interesting. He spoke of the trap of seeking love when respect is what is important. As he put it, “we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.”
The speech was abrasive as he listed his own achievements. It was meant to be rousing, and it definitely churned up the crowd, but as the clock ticked, and time passed, a glaring absence was noticeable. Was Christie ever going to mention the man of the hour? He did. Somewhere around the 17 minute mark in a 25 minute speech. You can find the text of his speech here.
So when Christie said the country needs to forget about love and realize that respect is more important, was he saying that Ann Romney’s quest to get the nation to fall in love with her husband was futile? It sort of seems that way, and certainly it seems unlikely to change voters in the very blue New York region. It also explains why at times Christie’s speech came across less like a keynote address than a peek into 2016.