5:08PM Good evening. I have a Hendricks martini to get me started, and a very large bottle of vodka of a brand I won’t admit sitting next to a large and full ice bucket.
But you know what really tops it off? Seeing Jeb Bush deliver red meat. He can do that?
5:10PM Are those parachutes on Jeb’s tie?
This post is mostly just a tech test, as I had problems with the first one. Have to get warmed up for Clint, anyway.
5:15PM Part of me is still shocked they let anyone with the last name Bush speak tonight.
5:23PM This Romney video is nearly — nearly — Reaganesque.
5:24PM The problem with watching this on C-SPAN is you don’t get any cutaways from the musical interludes. Should I change to Fox, CNN, or — Lord help me — MSNBC?
5:28PM “Sure, I’ll come on at 8PM Eastern,” I said. “There’ll be some big names on by then,” I thought.
“Kill me now,” I’m blogging.
5:32PM This year’s RNC has been declared a machete- and charisma-free zone.
At least until Clint shows up.
5:40PM On Twitter, Kira Davis says, “Sorry Mr Bennett. I know you’re just trying to help, but you’re creeping me out.”
5:44PM OK, I’m moved.
5:47PM I’m having sushi and I swear that’s just too much wasabi in my eye.
5:53PM “When things went wrong, we would not blame others.”
Surely that’s an allusion to somebody…
6:00PM If Mitt Romney spoke about anything half as well as his friends speak about him, even Chris Matthews would have thrown in the towel back in May.
6:17PM At this point I would settle for Clint Eastwood in drag.
6:25PM So we have a liberal Democrat endorsing Romney? Call it a wash, because Obama will get the exact same thing next week from Charlie Crist.
6:27PM There’s something –everything– inherently wrong with covering the Doobie Brothers at the RNC.
6:31PM This Tyler Hicks guy has a haircut like Gomer Pyle and hips like Hillary Clinton.
And a voice like Michael Bolton.
6:33PM Girls who can shoot are hot. As if you didn’t know.
6:35PM DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES???
I love that. 1980 US hockey will never get old.
6:42PM Welcome to the Mixed Feelings portion of the program. It’s touching to see Olympians with such great stories to tell, but do we really want to bring them into partisan politics?
6:48PM I was driving to San Francisco to visit friends some years ago, taking I-80 across Wyoming and Nevada as I always did. And I remember being incredibly pissed off, just absolutely cheesed, that I lost 45 minutes, maybe an hour, getting re-routed around all of Salt Lake City because they were widening the highway for the Olympics.
Man, does that little hissy fit seem petty with a little perspective.
6:54PM Seriously, it’s just the wasabi.
7:02PM Here he comes…
7:03PM Eastwood. Yeah.
7:03PM First commenter with a “made my day” joke gets banned.
7:03PM “Save a little more Mitt.”
7:04PM “There’s a lot of conservative people” in Hollywood, “they just don’t go around hot-dogging it.”
7:05PM “I haven’t cried that hard since I found out there were 23 million unemployed people in this country.”
7:06PM This is the Eastwood that is real, but I’m thinking people might have been hoping for a little more Hollywood Eastwood.
I’ll take the real thing, thanks.
7:07PM “What do you mean, ‘shut up’?”
7:07PM Clint is warmed up and owning this crowd.
7:08PM Empty suit, empty chair — it’s all Obama.
7:09PM “You’re getting as bad as Biden.”
Unfair. Biden cast votes in the Senate.
7:11PM “I’m sorry — I can’t do that to myself, either.”
It’s a fun schtick.
7:12PM “Politicians are employees of ours.”
7:12PM “When somebody does not do the job, we’ve got to let them go.”
7:14PM Short. Sweet. Done.
I hope I’m saying the same thing on November 6.
7:14PM Here comes Rubio…
7:15PM Rubio 2012 makes me think of Bush 1996, when I said out loud, “This guy is going to be President someday.”
7:16PM “The only people who thought I could win all lived in my house. Four of them were under the age of ten.”
7:17PM Oh, and a personal message to Rubio Birthers: Sod off.
Thank you so much for following my instruction in a timely manner.
7:18PM “You will hear from another man who understands what makes America exceptional.”
7:21PM “These ideas don’t move us forward. His ideas move us backwards.”
This is what people “move to America to get away from.”
Chills. I have chills.
7:21PM “Hope and change has become divide and conquer.”
7:25PM I can’t bring the snark right now. Rubio is just that good.
7:27PM “When you’re young and you’re in a hurry, the meaning of moments like this escape you.”
7:29PM “But that’s not just my story. That’s your story.”
7:32PM Let Americans yet unborn “write that we did our part.”
7:33PM Marco Rubio might not have paid for this microphone, but he owns it.
7:34PM Oops. Ann needs to be beaming, but she got caught looking bored. None of that on the campaign trail now.
7:35PM Question is: Can Romney connect? Will he let us past the veneer?
7:37PM “I accept your nomination for President of the United States.”
And so it begins, and I don’t mean the speech. With those words, he unleashed a flood of campaign dollars.
7:37PM “I’ve chosen a man with a big heart from a small town.”
7:38PM Romney is opening with Ryan, not with Romney.
What are the odds Obama will do something similar a week from now?
7:39PM “We’re united by so much more than what divides us.”
Good lines, but his delivery is a little rushed so far. I’d have given him a medium-strength beta-blocker before going on tonight.
7:40PM OK, whew — he’s slowing down and finding his comfort zone.
7:41PM “This was the hope and change America voted for… it’s what Americans deserve.”
7:43PM “You did it because you’re an American, and you don’t quit.”
7:43PM “I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.”
Butthurt line of the night.
7:46PM “God bless Neil Armstrong.” -Mitt Romney
“Done. Duh.” -God
7:47PM Is that cheers or boos for Detroit? Heh.
7:49PM OK, we’re past the veneer now.
It’s not the wasabi.
7:49PM It’s true: GOP women rock.
7:52PM “Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to do.”
But as a total slacker who never worked a day in her life, all she did was raise five boys.
7:54PM Mitt is painting a picture, not of the pastoral America of the past, but of the suburban America of right now. The one Obama is trying to force back into the decrepit cities the progressives have already destroyed.
7:56PM “I figured it was bad enough I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell, too.”
I’m actually LOLing.
7:57PM “These are American success stories.”
This works. We’re hungry for those. It’s been too long.
7:59PM I keep hearing Romney say he believes in free market, like a nun working the Rosary. It wasn’t until just now that I ever heard him explain why, to any satisfaction.
Again, we’re finally past the veneer.
8:00PM “This President cannot tell you you’re better off than when he took office.”
8:00PM Cripes, but the MSM is going to rip him to shreds for this speech. They’ll have to.
8:03PM I thought Mitt was building to a rousing finish, but he just blew a bunch of pent-up energy attacking Obama. Can he earn it back for the finish?
8:04PM “I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.”
Stupid line. Promise to unleash the private sector, don’t throw a number out for the media hounds to chew up.
8:04PM On the plus side, now he has a five-point plan, and not a 50+ point plan. Three would be better, but five is good.
8:06PM “Today, women are more likely than men to start a business, and they need someone who understands what they do.”
8:07PM “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans.” [LONG PAUSE FOR LAUGHTER] [LOOOOOONG PAUSE]
“My promise is to help you and your family.”
8:08PM “No, Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.”
Now that was nicely turned.
8:09PM “We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.”
8:10PM I’m not yet certain Romney is right on China, but he’s sure as shite right on Russia (and our allies).
8:13PM This had better be the big finish this time, because he can’t waste another one.
8:14PM Cue the balloons. I’ll have a couple thoughts to wrap it up in just a moment.
8:24PM The speech overall was good. It was reassuring. It went a long way towards making Romney seem human, American, one of us.
His first two minutes were rushed, but then he got the feel of the words, of the crowd, of the room, of his own skin. And he delivered it well.
Structurally, the speech had some problems in the second half. He had a theme going that Obama had tried, that we had all wanted him to succeed, but that it hadn’t worked. Mitt was killing Obama with kindness. But then Romney seesawed back to partisan attacks on Obama’s policies. And then he detailed a strangely State-of-the-Union-like laundry list of policty details. Those included an easy-to-ridicule promise of “12 million new jobs.” He should have stuck to the themes of the first half of the speech.
Did I mention the first half was almost pitch-perfect? We got inside the tan, under the perfect hair, and beyond the stage-managed businessman with his Keynote presentation. (I know the facade well — my own dad wore it much like Romney does.) We finally got to see a real human who gets choked up talking about his parents, his wife his kids. Hell, Mitt made me want to be as good a husband as his father was — moving stuff. All that is what made the second half a little jarring and a little less comfortable.
But the big finish was big, it was rousing, and it was inspiring.
If Americans were looking for someone they could be comfortable with, or at least tolerate, on their bigscreen TVs for the next four years, I think Romney passed that all-important test.
I don’t expect a big bounce in the polls. There simply aren’t enough undecideds left to provide one. But for voters who were sour on Obama, but unsure about Romney, he provided a good dose of reassurance tonight.
And that’s not just the wasabi talking.