Conventions are about atmosphere, images and making friends. And by making friends, I’m not talking about the aggressive networking that goes on behind the scenes at these events. I’m talking about Americans making friends with their potential leaders.
During the three days of the Republican convention, Americans were presented with people they can fully imagine leading them and be proud and happy that they are in charge.
While her outreach to women was a bust, Ann Romney presented herself as an attractive and compassionate potential first lady who will be a rock the man she clearly loves can lean on, always, as he tackles the most difficult job on the planet.
Paul Ryan showed himself a young man with maturity exceeding his youth who has strong convictions and personal integrity that would lend honor to an office currently being defiled.
I wrote recently that Romney had to let his perfect hair down, to make a connection to Americans who need a connection to their leader, to reveal himself as a real person.
Last night, that’s exactly what he did.
What was remarkable about the speech was not anything he said, although there were some compelling lines. The stunning thing about it was Romney himself, who seemed natural, determined and yes, very likable.
He talked about himself, his family and his religion in a way that made you want to like him. He seemed presidential, but also easygoing. And, contradicting the image the Obama campaign has built for him as a nasty corporate raider who enjoys throwing people out of their jobs and boosting employment overseas, you could tell how deeply Romney cares about this country and its people.
The best line, I thought, was this:
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. And to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.
I liked it not because of the humorous allusion to President Obama’s God-like perception of himself. I liked it because when Romney said he wanted to help Americans, I believed it.
I guarantee you, the Obama operation in Chicago is very concerned about all this. They are facing a presidential candidate who has switched gears from so-so to very good, a vice presidential candidate whose obvious qualities far eclipse the joker they are running, and a potential first lady people will like having around.
Romney looks to be a very confident candidate, projecting a presidential aura. He’ll bring that into the debates. Romney has the more recent experience with this forum, and he acquitted himself well in it during the primaries. He’ll be ready, and It will be hard for Obama to gain an advantage here.
And, in the way the Obama did to John McCain four years ago, the president is going to be vastly outspent.
Oh, and there’s one other little problem. The economy is bad, and the world is in turmoil.
Chicago, the home of Obama 2012 headquarters, is very afraid.