I just finished watching the last night of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Although the talk today is mostly about the speech by Clint Eastwood (who conversed with an empty chair) and the speech by Mitt Romney himself, I thought that the most powerful moments of the convention were when Romney’s Mormon friends talked about Romney’s kindness and generosity towards them and their families, especially in hard times. My favorite speech was that of Pam Finalyson, which you can watch here. Pam’s speech was emotional, heart-felt, authentic, and moving—-and it had the most impact on me of any other speech at the convention.
The pundits who were covering the convention at PBS were remarking about how the speeches by everyday people were the most powerful at the convention. David Brooks was saying that it is political malpractice for Romney not to have told us these stories until now. Instead, because Romney is reportedly reticent and humble about his deeds of service, he has not talked much about them, and that has allowed many voters to feel that they do not know who Mitt Romney truly is, and it has permitted his detractors to define him as cold, heartless, and against women.
Overall, this was the best night of the convention—-notwithstanding the weird Clint Eastwood speech. Romney was seeking to define himself. There were people featured at the convention who owned businesses that were helped by Bain Capital—-as Bain stuck by them and helped them to turn around amidst hard times. A liberal Democrat who worked in Mitt Romney’s cabinet when he was governor, Jane Edmonds, talked about Romney’s appointment of many women (see here). And there was a moving video about Mitt’s relationship with his wife, his sons, and his father, George (see here). I was especially amused by how Mitt tried to save money on light-bulbs!
Will I vote for Romney? Probably not. I do not trust a candidate whose running mate proposed a budget that would cut Pell grants, to use an example. (UPDATE: See here for a critique of the claim that Ryan’s budget cuts Pell grants.) Moreover, even if Mitt Romney himself is a kind man and has done progressive things, I do not think that the policies that he supports will have a positive impact on the country. But he did well to define himself last night, and I hope that what was said remains a part of the political discourse, as much as I want Barack Obama to win.