Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building to the Republican Convention Finale

Danny Medved gives the youth view of the RNC
My son is hoarse, my hands tired from applauding. Speakers last night--notably Susanna Ramirez, Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan--at the Republican National Convention in Tampa were that good.

I admit that my hopes from the leadership of Pres. Obama were always tempered. But  he's America's first African-American President, and despite the languishing economy and few of his promises kept, inspires fierce loyalty. I'd assumed when he was inaugurated that he'd be installed for two terms, eight perilous years.

But as his term progressed and many of his former supporters became disgruntled, the landscape changed. With polls showing less enthusiasm across all groups, my husband analyzed history and discovered that the lower numbers portended an Obama loss, a main thrust of his new e-book, The Odds Against Obama (download here!)

Then, sitting in the Tampa Forum listening to Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, I found myself echoing his theme: "We can do this!" Not just because he's a captivating, energetic speaker whose presentation was rife with zingers and inspiration, but because he represents an upcoming generation that is fully embraced. Ryan even joked about the divergence of iPod playlists between himself and his running mate. I don't see our President making room for many--except maybe Michelle--to follow in his path.

Paul Ryan with his mom, wife and children after RNC speech
What I do see is all sorts of desperate reaction against Ryan's speech in liberal media claiming it has "lies" throughout. If you read these accusations, whew, you see they're ridiculous distortions, potshots that'll play only to the Obama core. As I write this, sitting next to my husband who's doing The Michael Medved show on Radio Row in the Tampa Convention Center, wow, he's starting this hour rebutting the objections. The one I love the most says "Ryan hints that Obama is a socialist." Hints? Elaborating, the silly accusers call it a "dogwhistle," ie, a frequency undetectable by the human ear; something, wink, wink, that Republicans catch but the rest of the world doesn't.

But please, don't trust me or my husband on this. Listen to the speech. Anyone who does will cheer, and become infused with optimism for our economy.

Ryan focused on the economy, Pres. Obama's vulnerability, but also introduced himself to the American public. His mom, who beamed and joined the family on the stage at the conclusion of the 20-minute speech, raised him and three siblings in Janesville, Wisconsin, carrying on when her husband died at age 50, when Paul was 16.

I was just as impressed, frankly, by the words of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who described a meeting she'd resisted years ago, as a Democrat, with Republicans who wanted to take her to lunch. She and her husband planned to listen politely and leave. Instead of talking politics, they discussed issues and values, and on the way home in the car, she turned to her husband and exclaimed, "I'll be damned. We're Republicans!"

Gov. Martinez drew huge applause describing how her parents started a security guard business, their first assignment placing her, at age 18, guarding the parking lot for Catholic Church bingo nights. "Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself," she noted. "I carried a Smith and Wesson 357 magnum."

Secretary Condoleeza Rice addresses the RNC in Tampa
Also memorable were the phrases of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who focused on America's place in the global economy and internationally. You can't get away from the fact that our enormous national debt diminishes our power, and that we need a strong military commitment to maintain our security. "One of two things will happen if we don't lead," she said. "Either no one will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values."

Mostly, Secretary Rice's theme was opportunity, upbeat memes on possibilities in education, energy resources, trade, and personal success.

What I noticed as the evening progressed was the building of enthusiasm, the electricity and excitement that reached crescendo with Paul Ryan. When he brought his wife Janna and their young children on stage, the room rocked. You expect this at the gathering of the nation's most devoted partisans, but the real excitement was over offering the nation an alternative to disappointment with Obama. That message fueled my 20-year-old son's cheers, his usually non-political Facebook post hailing Ryan, and his bounce with eagerness to take that thrill to his friends, most also voting for their first president.

Posing with Anne Coulter
This morning my husband addressed our own Washington delegation, a masterful analysis of the election. We drove an hour out to Clearwater, our first real view of the gorgeous green sea, on the first day that lacked dreary storm clouds. It seemed a fitting beginning for the final day of the Convention, climaxing later with the appearance of "mystery guest" Clint Eastwood and the nominee, Mitt Romney. Radio Row is jumping as politicos vie for the last segments behind microphones. Our son Danny even gave his opinion of the convention experience on-air, and I posed with the strolling celebrities.

Participants here that I've met are polite, upbeat, enthused. The candidates and speakers earnest and committed. I don't expect to see the truth portrayed in the media, but I suspect that the American people will look into their own lives, decide what they want for their futures, and decide on merit who is best equipped to offer that for them. 

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