Ann Romney took the stage at the GOP convention last night and said that she was there to talk about love.
Immediately after, Chris Christie took the stage. Love? Fuhgeddaboudit. He was there to talk about respect.
It was an awkward contrast, and it made the messages seem totally uncoordinated. The speeches aren’t supposed to take place in individual vacuums, they are supposed to flow and create an overall consistent narrative.
Similarly, you had a succession of GOP governors talk about how great things are in their state, how the economy was getting better with more jobs and lower unemployment. Again, those states don’t exist in a vacuum, you add up their stories and put them all together, and it creates an overarching impression that the economy must be improving all across the country — under President Obama. It was as if no one thought through the cumulative effect of these gubernatorial testimonies.
Ann Romney’s speech wasn’t what I expected. I thought she was going to tell warm and fuzzy Mitt stories that would make us see him as less cold and robotic. Instead, she shamelessly pandered to women, as if saying “I love you, women. We hear your voices,” would make up for a GOP platform that says no abortions ever, even if you’ve been raped, or if the pregnancy will kill you. The GOP may hear women’s voices, but it doesn’t listen to them and honor them.
She came across as noblesse oblige-y in her efforts to say she understands the problems and struggles of women who aren’t as well off as she is, which is pretty much all the other women in this country, unless you’re Miriam Adelson or Julia Koch. Ann went from her rich daddy’s house to her rich husband’s house. She has never had to worry about paying an emergency room bill or keeping the heat on. She has never spent a day outside the cocoon of the 1%.
She didn’t make us see Mitt through a gauzier lens, and she had nothing concrete to offer women to offset the GOP’s Taliban positions. I don’t think her speech moved the numbers among women at all, so to me it was a failure.
Christie told us how wonderful he is and what a great job he’s done in Jersey. Again, I don’t think his speech moved any numbers for Mitt. Mitt needs votes in 2012, Christie was looking for votes in 2016.
Agree agree agree. So why are the media proclaiming that she was so terrific? And Christie, as Rachel Maddow put it, “a remarkable act of political selfishness.”
No everyone agrees she was terrific. Peggy Noonan calls it a missed opportunity.