August 29th, 2012

The Ann and Chris show

There were a lot of good speakers last night. I didn’t watch them all, but Artur Davis and Mia Love especially impressed me—Davis because he’s a changer, and Love because she showed that a demographic which usually goes Democratic (young black female) has a place in the Republican Party if attracted to its philosophy and principles. Hope she wins and goes to Congress, even if media outlets like MSNBC pretended she does not exist. To them, she doesn’t.

But last night it really was the Ann Romney and Chris Christie show. They were the ones who aroused the most curiosity, and they both delivered.

I’d seen Ann Romney speak before, so I was already familiar with how good she is: very. I was further impressed, as she stepped up to the podium last night, with how incredibly attractive and young she looked. Whoever did her hair and makeup hit it out of the park.

As did Ann herself. She exhibits an impressive combination of ease, grace, warmth, intensity, and sincerity. Her delivery is wonderful, too: clear and strong, never strident or shrill. The message was fairly simple: I love this guy, he’s never let me down, and he won’t let you down either.

What’s more, she even managed to touch on a subject of interest to me: his good deeds as a private citizen. Yesterday I expressed the wish that this information be placed before the public, but that it wouldn’t be easy to do it right:

It definitely would have to be done through surrogates, though, and the touch would have to be very delicate.

And that’s a good description of what Ann Romney did when she said:

Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.

In one sentence she both mentioned it and de-politicized it as much as possible, while getting across the idea that it’s sincere rather than a strategic ploy. I hope others at the convention will go on to flesh out some of the details of what Mitt actually did; it’s pretty impressive.

Of course, none of this will ever earn any kudos from the left. I went to a few blogs of that persuasion last night just to see what commenters were saying, and sure enough it was the usual snipey nasty “she’s a privileged robot” stuff.

On to Christie, one of my favorite politicians (not an oxymoron). I thought his speech was stirring, although others criticized him for not being an attack dog throwing red meat to the Obama-detesting base. But that’s a feature, not a bug. After all, the goal is to appeal to independents and swing voters, and he did that in the very best way, by contrasting Republican principles and policies with Democratic ones, and doing it in the manner he’s master at: clear, concise, immediately understandable, powerful and yet conversational.

Cristie has what they used to call the common touch. Even his girth, so unusual for a politician today, conveys that impression, as does his accent, which speaks to me personally of home. Christie took the high road, and it was a stroke of genius for him to basically ignore Obama, which probably infuriated Obama even more than excoriating him would have.

Christie is a Republican of a certain type that’s rather rare: the urban, northeastern, tough-talking guy. The closest Republican I can think of to Christie is Giuliani, another Italian (Christie is only half) former prosecutor from the New York City area (Christie was born in Newark; close enough). And there’s another Italian-American politician from New York that he reminds me of, at least physically:

Christie is taller than La Guardia, it’s true—but then, who isn’t?

14 Responses to “The Ann and Chris show”

  1. Mac Says:

    I wasn’t quite as enthused about Ann Romney as you, but overall I thought she did an excellent job. And I really liked Christie, which surprised me a bit. As a southerner I’m mildly prejudiced against “the urban, northeastern, tough-talking guy”–sorry, but my first association with that description is “mafia,” and the second is “crooked Democratic politician.” (Blame the movies and tv. Similarly, many northerners seem to think “moron” when they hear a southern accent.) But I liked him right off. He’s not posturing-tough, not blustery, just down-to-earth, and having an infectious enthusiasm. And the speech seemed pretty solid to me. I am not one to get enthused by any politician’s speech, but about his and all the others’ I kept thinking how much better they were than what the Dems would probably be offering: that they really do believe in the American promise, which I don’t think the Dems in general do anymore.

    There is a great piece in a recent Atlantic about Christie’s intense devotion (I do not overstate) to Bruce Springsteen’s music. Let’s see if I can find it…here it is.

  2. Mac Says:

    And of course I wish Artur Davis would come home and run again for governor as a Republican–it was the Democratic party, not the electorate at large, which expelled him.

  3. T Says:

    Regarding Mitt’s altruism, “In one sentence she both mentioned it and de-politicized it as much as possible, while getting across the idea that it’s sincere rather than a strategic ploy.”

    And in doing so also provided a contrast with Obama (if not subtle, at least unnamed) for whom it seems every act and thought has to do with his political persona.

    With Christie, I especially liked his “children of immigrants” theme which, many of you know has been dear to my own heart.

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    Good show, Neo.

    Ann Romney is an amazing speaker. Her delivery was superb; simultaneously smooth, yet authentic. As you noted, cool, with none of the stridency that often characterizes political speeches; and yes, especially those by women.

    I thought her message was compelling.

    Unfortunately, lost in all the noise about the Romney’s so-called life of privilege, is the near term history of both sides of the family. Both Mitt and Ann were raised in homes in which success was a first generation achievement; neither learned to live the pampered life from their parents, or from Nannies. Both of their fathers were self-made men in the truest sense, and no doubt passed the values they embraced to the kids. Mitt and Ann, in partnership, achieved their own success. I won’t repeat her lines, but she addressed the notion that denigrates that success quite effectively.

    Christie’s speech surprised me, and clearly surprised most of the Pundits. I thought it took him a long time to get rolling, but once he did, it was just great. He elevated the campaign to focus on the big issues. He delivered the the quintessential message: “This country is drifting aimlessly now; it can find it direction and return to greatness; but, it needs Leadership.” The campaign can go forward on this theme. The small minded bleating of the little man, Chris Wallace, notwithstanding. (I cannot abide that guy.)

    Kasich gave a really fine speech. Due to other commitments, I haven’t seen some of the other really good ones, but will watch my recordings later.

  5. George Pal Says:

    On topic but off glitter. The speeches are varying degrees of fine, heartfelt, uplifting, salute to mother love, and nebulous ‘American spirit… but… they belie the business as usual Party shenanigans.

    John Fund:
    “The proposed rules package surfaced last Friday as Team Romney moved to grant sweeping new powers to the Republican National Committee — and the Romney forces who now control it – to amend the governing documents of the Grand Old Party just about any time they want without a vote of delegates from the grassroots…. Team Romney was able to ram the proposed changes through the Rules Committee but a substantial minority, some 40 percent, vociferously objected.”

    As example: some delegates, taking to heart the idea of the ‘American people’ and grassroots, attempted to nominate Ron Paul from the floor. Five state petitions were required and apparently had been gotten or were about to be. Party rules, now obviously Romney rules, were changed instantly to require eight states which of course suggests they may be changed, ad hoc, to fifty states, Puerto Rico, and Mongolia should the need arise. It could not possibly matter to the nominee – he is the nominee (has the votes); it could not possibly change the Party platform – it is at it is. So why? Other than ‘we did it because we can’ there is the possibility of we did it because eine Partei, eine Stimme.

    There may be something to an ‘American spirit’ having stirred the people; it may be they pine for, and some even work for, a Restoration, or Reformation, whichever is more apt. It may be the speeches, all of them, were expressing a genuine belief and desire. Ann Romney’s words were undoubtedly genuine, heartfelt, and an accurate description of her husband. But none of this, it seems, has percolated to the ‘Party first and foremost’ GOP – nor, it seems, can it.

  6. Oldflyer Says:

    George Pal, you are changing the subject. Can’t we have at least one thread that just recognizes the positive? Maybe it is time to turn off the likes of Limbaugh and his incessant attacks on the “establishment”.

    National political parties are made up of many disparate groups, with different agenda. They come together for only one reason–to win elections.

    National Conventions are the venue where the disparate groups come together to thrash out their differences and reach some common ground that lets them get on with the mission. To win the next election. When disparate agenda clash, there will be winners and losers; but hopefully a united effort will prevail. Those who cannot accept the compromises are on the outside, and will remain on the outside. Their bleating will do no good, but can do immeasurable harm. Limbaugh, and others, need to understand the process. Once the issues have been thrashed, he and his admirers need to tone down their rhetoric and get on board, or at least get out of the way of accomplishing the basic mission.

    You may not love the GOP. However, face the reality that it is the only pony you have to ride if you want to get to the ultimate destination. You can jump on a third party pony and ride off into the desert, if that suits you. But, don’t be fooled as to where you are headed.

    I am sorry to say that Limbaugh, and others of his ilk, have become weapons in the Dimocrat arsenal due to constant attacks on the GOP “establishment”, and every candidate who does not meet their standards of ideological purity.

    For myself, I am very pleased with Romney, Ryan, Kasich, Walker, McDonnell, Christie, et al.

  7. vanderleun Says:

    Christie theme song:

  8. vanderleun Says:

    Wait for it.

  9. George Pal Says:


    The subject was the speeches. I said I admired the speeches, and added they belied what was going on behind closed doors. I think it a valid observation.

    “National political parties are made up of many disparate groups, with different agenda. They come together for only one reason–to win elections… Those who cannot accept the compromises are on the outside, and will remain on the outside. Their bleating will do no good, but can do immeasurable harm”

    To win elections does not preclude having Party member voices heard. The rules presume a procedure, the procedure presumes a maneuver, and together they presume something that is allowed. To dispense with all three presumes Party above all.

    BTW I have never in my life tuned into a Limbaugh broadcast. And did I mention I liked the speeches?

  10. Don Carlos Says:

    “Hearing party member voices” was a strong theme of the Democratic convention of 1972, and being young and impressionable (plus the influence of the Nixon-hating MSM), persuaded me to vote for McGovern. Gosh, I was stupid then.

    That there was a pseudo-floor fight at this Reuplican convention over a rules issue-that was worked out-hardly matters, George Pal. The struggle to re-take the USA is only commencing, and will not be concluded even after four years of R-R. It will be a generational effort.

    I really, really respect people that villify Limbaugh though denying they have ever heard him (sarcarsm). If you think like that, you’re a Lib.

  11. texexec Says:

    I liked both Ann’s and Christie’s speeches.

    A lot was said about the need for Ann to make Mitt “more human”…let us get to know him better. She did that some but her line that got ME was when she looked straight into the camera like she was looking directly at ME and said with conviction “This man.WILL.NOT.FAIL.”

    Some have criticized Christie for talking too much about himself and not throwing out enough “red meat” lambasting Obama. To me, the point of his speech was “Americans can handle the hard truth and accept difficult, sometimes painful solutions if you will give them the truth and work on creating real solutions instead of worrying about getting reelected. If a Republican governor in a blue, blue state like mine can do that (and I did), it can be done on the national scale as well. And Mitt Romney is a man who will do that.”

  12. George Pal Says:

    Don Carlos,

    At no time did I vilify Limbaugh. I said I had never tuned into his broadcasts – that’s it. And the GOP may conduct its convention as they wish but if they wish to say one thing and do another I may call them on their pretense – even if, by your reckoning, that makes me seem a lib.

  13. David Lentz Says:

    Ann Romney described herself as woman in love, and showed it. In contrast, Michelle Obama is woman who hates, and it shows. Mrs. Romney talked about how hard her husband has worked,and will work. All Mrs. Obama talks about is how hard her husband will make you work.

    The Obama campaign seems to feel that the women vote can be bought by nine dollars a month of free contraception and unfettered access to abortion.

    The Obama campaign is all abortion all the time. Mrs. Romney talked about the difficulty of raising children. It is a stark contrast.

  14. Bill Jones Says:

    ” I can think of to Christie is Giuliani,”

    What a damning indictment.

    I think Christie perhaps has something of honesty in him.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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