Article originally posted September 5, 2012 at Choose Your Stance.
Despite the threat of Hurricane Isaac, the Republican Convention in Tampa Florida went exceedingly well. All the major speakers had a chance to give their spiel and at the end, Romney got his expected modest boost in poll numbers.
Every 4 years, each party has a national convention to “nominate” their Presidential candidate. Of course, this is somewhat of an overstatement because by the time the conventions take place, both parties pretty much know who their candidate is going to be. The party with the Presidential incumbent already knows their candidate 4 years in advance and the other side will know who will win the nomination based on the delegate counts far before the actual convention. So now, these conventions mostly represent the kick-off of election season. The chosen candidates get a chance to shine and parties have an opportunity to discuss some internal business.
This year, the Republicans ran into some issues when it came to the discussion of delegates. For Republicans, each state send a certain number of delegates who get to vote for the Presidential candidate. Some states have strict rules on how their delegates can vote (whoever won the state) but other states allow their delegates to make independent decisions. This was called into question at the Tampa convention as a Rules change that would allow Presidential candidates to have veto control over state delegates. While the media labeled the opposition as purely coming out of the Ron Paul camp (unlike other candidates, Ron Paul never officially stepped out of the race), many grassroots activist also took issue with the rule. Michelle Malkin, conservative blogger, kept a live blog of the day. The rule, after some compromises, was voted into place.
Once the party business was completed, the headlining speakers trotted out. Some of the big names were former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Speaker John Boehner and a surprise appearance by actor Clint Eastwood (who gave a highly dividing presentation). But the highlights were of the candidates themselves, Mitt Romney and his newly picked Vice President nominee, Paul Ryan. Romney’s wife, Ann also gave a headlining speech. Mitt and Ann Romney’s speeches specifically aimed at “humanizing” Romney, a candidate who has been seen as somewhat distant and disconnected from voters, took this opportunity to let the “real” Mitt shine through. Ann, appealing to women voters, a demographic that Republicans hope to gain traction with before the election, spent time talking about her family and the early days of her marriage to Mitt. She gave a particularly heart-felt account about her husband’s support during her battles with Multiple Sclerosis and breast cancer. Romney followed this talk with a similar tone during his acceptance speech. Not that Romney didn’t spend a good deal of time criticizing the sitting President, but he focused the speech on trying to come off as more genuine and reaching out to the demographic everyone wants to win: independents.
Paul Ryan, on the other hand, usually an economics bloodhound, took his teeth to Obama instead of the economy in his speech. While his points were well received at the convention, the media immediately jumped on the candidate, with fact-checks, claiming that he lied in his speech on multiple occasions. Republican bloggers came to Ryan’s rescue, fact-checking the media right back. With the addition of Ryan to the ticket, conservatives who may have been on-the-fence with Romney’s fiscal policies, came back with renewed support. So it is no surprise that the new Republican star saw so much backlash. Many Presidents have used their Vice-Presidents as attack dogs against their enemies. It looks like Paul Ryan might be filling that role and doing a pretty good job of putting the opposition on the offensive.
This next week kicks off the DNC convention which will counter everything that the Republicans brought to the table at their conference. But what we do know is now it is official; Romney-Ryan will face off with Obama-Biden in November.
This article was originally written for Choose Your Stance a project that sought to educate college students on political issues. “Politics Made Easy.” The project has since closed and the articles are republished here.