This was Mitt Romney’s big night. We live in an era of celebrities and often we treat our politicians as if they are celebrity. Obama is the classic celebrity-President, a man who has managed to reach the highest office with the barest of qualifications. When Obama talked of healing the planet, Romney talked of helping your family. Romney is the anti-celebrity, a man who prizes competence and qualifications as opposed to celebrity.
Romney ended the Republican convention by following through the on theme that success is good, and he did something he should have done earlier: he owned up to the success of Bain Capital. No more apologies but a straight forward defense of a company that has helped many companies survive and because of that many jobs were created or saved. He told the stories of those companies, Staples in which he quipped Obama’s campaign shopped at or a how a Steel company was formed in the corn fields of Indiana.
This was not a speech for policy wonks but it didn’t have to be. Instead it was a personal speech that moved into an idea speech beginning with defending success and the defense of free market economies. The strength of this speech was not anger but regrets as he made the case; it is okay to be disappointed with Obama and here is why you should be. These lines make this point:
“To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be. Now is the time to restore the Promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America. What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs. What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs.”
Romney’s goals include:
“To assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget…And we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
There is one theme that started permeated this convention, rights are not gifts provided by government but are endowed by God and belong to all. If a government provides rights, they can also take those rights away. Romney and Ryan are making a larger point that Clint Eastwood put in simple terms, “We own this country, politicians are our employee and if they don’t do the job, let them go.” Underneath the defense of success is the thought our wealth belongs to us and is not the property of the government.
Finally, Romney hit a nerve that is beneath the surface, are we still a great country? There is a feeling that we have seen our best days but Romney made a Reaganesque case that America still has great days ahead. It was speech that spoke to the optimism that drives America that tomorrow will be a better day. I remember a manager telling his staff that today was the first day of the rest of your life. For him, tomorrow will bring new opportunities and you can always start over. So can America.