Ann Romney would make a great first lady. That’s the main thing I took from her speech last night.
She’s personable, effervescent, strong, and beautiful. She’s generous and will take on a couple of causes as first lady and pursue them as vigorously as her multiple sclerosis will allow. And she will represent this country with distinction abroad.
But, sorry, I’m not on the bandwagon that says this was the best Republican convention speech since Teddy Roosevelt.
The efforts of this extraordinarily wealthy stay-at-home mom to show her understanding of average women felt forced. It seemed a self-conscious attempt to appeal to women voters. Frankly, some of it sounded like pandering. And the women Gov. Mitt Romney needs to attract are not the ones who will feel Ann Romney shares their pain.
And while she repeated over and over, as if to convince even herself, that she gets the struggles of ordinary women, she failed to offer what someone who truly understands them would: Inspiration – a sense of what they can do with their lives.
I understand raising children is very difficult. But it’s not the same as doing that and holding down a job, especially if you’re a married or single woman struggling to pay the bills.
Where Mrs. Romney really came alive and sounded most natural was in her praise for her husband. And that’s because wife of Mitt and mother of his children is the main role she’s played in life.
Even there, for me, she pointed to the weakness of the candidate. Mitt, she said, will work hard. He’ll care. He’ll “move heaven and earth” to “fix problems.” Not once did she say he was a conservative or that he had any guiding philosophy.
And that’s exactly the problem with Mitt. He thinks he can assemble America’s Best and Brightest in a boardroom – in this case the Cabinet Room – and just figure things out.
I think the conservative commentators who believe Mrs. Romney hit it out of the park are deluding themselves. Most of them are males enraptured by an attractive woman who spoke well and was adorable onstage trumpeting her husband.
But I’m afraid the reaction of the independents and working and single women that Romney needs to attract will be not quite the same.