ChrisWeigant.com

First Night Impressions

[ Posted Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 – 20:54 PDT ]

Before I read what the rest of the online world took away from the first night of the Republican National Convention, I thought I would share my own impressions. These are hastily jotted down, after watching roughly two and a half hours of speakers and pundits (some speakers I missed because I was either flipping through the channels, some of which didn't carry every speech).

I tuned in while the guy from Virginia (McConnell? didn't even catch his name, and am too lazy to look it up, sorry) was speaking. His speech was pretty boring, but he did have the best anchorman "helmet hair" I've seen since... oh, I don't know... John Edwards, maybe? This is a real accomplishment, what with Romney and Ryan setting the "perfect hair" bar so high in the GOP.

Scott Walker from Wisconsin was the first speech I saw from the start, and he seemed triumphant after beating his recall election. Content-wise, his speech seemed to consist of "jobs, jobs, jobs" which is all I wrote down. Other than that, not very memorable.

Rick Santorum was the first big name to get the crowd fired up. He got a big standing ovation when taking the stage, but the crowd wasn't all that excited for the rest of his speech, with the exception of a few applause lines that tossed some red meat to the religious base. Santorum, as always, seemed rather stiff, and he delivered his speech seemingly through clenched teeth. But that's his usual speaking style, not really a comment about the speech itself.

A quick aside: what is up with the background of clouds that is lurching around like a ship at sea foundering among the waves? I mean, was this background supposed to induce nausea? Because that's the effect it had on me. And I'm not prone to motion sickness, either. It just seemed a bit odd, which at some point someone seemed to realize, and they went with a freeze-frame shot which was much better.

Santorum's speech, content-wise, was the usual stuff, complete with complaining about Obama gutting welfare work requirements even though every fact checker in the universe has called this "a lie." But that's to be expected at a convention, I suppose. Rick tried to get lofty with his "I shook the hand of the American Dream" but for me it fell rather flat. He did get a big hand with his anti-abortion stance from the crowd, but overall his speech just seemed about five or ten minutes too long.

Ted Cruz was much more lively, and much more entertaining. He stalked a podium-free stage, which he must have asked for specifically, since the other speakers all used a traditional setting. Cruz did actually look at ease with this setting, although the cameras sometimes had a hard time following him. Cruz was the most anti-Obama speaker yet, playing the attack dog card brilliantly. At the end, he truly got the crowd fired up with the refrain of "Yes we can!" which he used to skewer Obama. The crowd ate it up. It's easy to see why he is doing so well in Texas with his strong speechifying skills.

Artur Davis was the traditional "I used to be in the other party" speaker, and he was the reddest of red meat in the entire evening. Ted Cruz had done a pretty good job of attacking Obama, but with Davis you could tell it was personal. Davis's snark was on full display, and the crowd responded to it. Davis also has an authentic Southern drawl that he used to full effect, pacing his speech extremely well.

Nikki Haley spoke, but all the stations I flipped to didn't cover it. The wife of the Puerto Rican governor also got stepped on by the pundits, as she introduced the first really big name of the night, Ann Romney.

Ann is not a politician, of course, but the wife of one. She is obviously not a polished speaker, at times running too fast and at times getting a little too chirpy in her efforts to be "jes' plain folks." But that's somewhat of an unfair comment, since as I said, she is not a professional speaker, unlike everyone else on the stage today. Part of it may be her unfamiliarity with a TelePrompTer (which all the speakers used -- shocking, isn't it?).

Ann's speech was all about "love" and all about humanizing her husband. The first was a little sappy (since when do Republicans get all bleeding heart?). But the crowd certainly did love her, and love her speech. She got big rounds of applause at the appropriate moments, such as when she quoted the Bible (always a sure winner with a GOP crowd). Her biggest line of the night was "This man will not fail" which will likely be the headline we'll all see in the papers tomorrow. Her second-biggest line was "You can trust Mitt," but it wasn't as powerful as the "will not fail" line, I thought.

All around, Ann did everything she could to achieve the humanizing effect she was reaching for. Will it sway the American voter? I don't know, but she certainly gave it her best shot.

Chris Christie was the keynote speaker, and he even got a little intro video that at least PBS covered (the major networks seemed to be yapping over this intro). Oh no! We're back to the nauseating background! Sigh. Keep your barf bags handy, I guess. Seriously, this might look good inside the arena itself, but on a television camera zoomed in to the speaker, it really is distracting.

Christie got the big rock star treatment from the audience, who was much more animated than during any other speaker (even Ann Romney). You can tell this is a man who is deeply thinking about running for president himself some day. Christie has that quality other politicians strive for but seldom achieve -- authenticity. There's an old joke about "once you can fake that, you've got it made" but Christie doesn't look like he's faking much of anything.

Christie -- like most of the speakers today -- spent far more time talking about himself than Mitt Romney. But hey, it's only Day One of the convention, and the people behind the scenes always like to "build" to a big finish at the end, so perhaps in the next two days we'll hear a bit more about the candidate (Ann, obviously, is the major exception to this rule).

Christie offered up some red meat to the crowd, but what's interesting is how tightly the Romney team vetting these speeches has been -- Barack Obama's name is seldom mentioned, and even the attacks on Obama are mostly framed as "this is what Democrats believe" rather than making it more personal. Maybe it's Mitt's "nice guy" touch behind the scenes, or maybe it's because Obama is so much better liked by the public at large than Romney himself. In any case, it is a marked change from four years ago, but then again, it's only the first day, so we'll see.

Christie certainly roused the crowd with his blunt style of speaking. After the mandatory Bruce Springsteen and Jersey Shore nods, Christie presented himself as Mr. Tough Guy who talks truth. Again, the crowd loved it. His riff on what "we believe" and what "they believe" went over particularly well. Throughout the night, the theme of "Democrats are divisive, and of course we are not" was on display from many speakers, and Christie almost blew this with his "we" and "they" bit, but the crowd didn't seem to care much.

Christie got big hands for all the things in his own record he listed, especially taking on teachers unions (another big applause line for Republicans). Mitt Romney had come out on stage after his wife spoke, and stuck around to hear Christie speak, although at times the camera caught him looking kind of bored. When he was introduced by Christie, he didn't even stand up for the crowd, which I thought was kind of an awkward moment.

Christie at times seemed angry, but in an authentic sort of way, which has been his political persona from the start. He tossed the required amounts of red meat out to the crowd, and his best line was "Real leaders don't follow polls, real leaders change polls."

OK, having said all of that, I will now go out and see what others have to say. Join us here tomorrow night for a recap of Day Two of the Republican National Convention.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

38 Comments on “First Night Impressions”

  1. [1] 
    statusquoteme wrote:

    The 'We built it' advertisements between each speaker were laughable-as the videos showed the owner of the company shaking hands with the workers they employ. Is it that much of a task to connect the dots, one person could never construct a poem on their own, let alone a thriving business, ground red carcass.

    For Ms. Romney's speech, the part that got me was about how it would be surprising for a man to know that a woman's life is hard, I can't quote it exactly, but the thought that for a man to put their self in the position of having to realize a woman's life could only see it as anything but being an easy street--how is that anywhere near sensible? The 'war on women' is a thing to clap about, because it is framed as being an onslaught from 'the other side.'

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    statusquoteme -

    I heard an interesting stat tonight. Of the "undecided" voters out there now, 67% of them are women. Can't vouch for its accuracy, but it's a pretty interesting stat.

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/08/28/utahs-mia-love-gets-enthusiastic-reception-in-tampa/

    Democrats may have quantity, but Republicans of this vein are unsurpassed for quality... :D

    Michale....

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like another band of Left Wing lusers tried to make another "citizens arrest" on Condi Rice last night...

    I would REALLY love to see one of the arrestees actually allow these morons to do it..

    And then sue the organization and each individual for everything they got and everything the potentially WILL get, plus have them arrested for assault and kidnapping...

    THAT would end this moronic action of arresting people for political disagreements..

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    For Ms. Romney's speech, the part that got me was about how it would be surprising for a man to know that a woman's life is hard, I can't quote it exactly, but the thought that for a man to put their self in the position of having to realize a woman's life could only see it as anything but being an easy street--how is that anywhere near sensible?

    Well, to hear Democrat women tell it, staying home and raising children ain't nothing. It's not a REAL job..

    At least, that's what Dem women say.....

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Didnt watch them all but I thought Ann Romney was pretty poor and overly scripted. You could see what they were trying to do - that is why it didn't work it was too transparent. She was as robotic as Romney is - I can see why they have such a successful marriage!

    I thought Christie was pretty good though, although I'd imagine most of the GOP didn't like him since he wasn't extreme enough for them. Solid good old speech about Conservative values without having to lie about Obama (ala Santorum) - although he kind of lost momentum in the 2nd half of his speech. Definitely put himself right in there with regards to the 2016 candidacy, assuming the GOP has gotten out of the extreme right red zone by then...

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Video: Tuesday night's RNC speeches
    http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/28/13532831-video-tuesday-nights-rnc-speeches

    Not ONE minority speech shown...

    MSNBC abandons GOP convention during every speech by a minority
    dailycaller.com/2012/08/28/msnbc-abandons-gop-convention-during-every-speech-by-a-minority/

    Policy-based evidence making.... AGAIN...

    Left biased Media??

    *WHAT* Left biased media?? :^/

    Seriously, does ANYONE honestly and truly believe that the MSM is not biased against Republicans and in favor of Democrats???

    If so, I have some swampland in FL I want to sell you...

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Dam me for posting before I'd checking my blog feeds!

    http://factcheck.org/2012/08/christies-fact-free-keynote/

  9. [9] 
    michty6 wrote:

    I don't watch MSN or Fox but from what I've heard and seen they're both pretty biased to either side.

  10. [10] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Fwiw that page of videos is about the worst 'example' of bias I've seen though. Lol how is this an example of bias??

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Governor Romney would understand American exceptionalism and would not be afraid to lead from the front."
    -Former SecState Condelezza Rice

    Well said. VERY well said indeed...

    Only a coward leads from behind...

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    michty6 [6] -

    Ann says she wrote her own speech. Dunno how true that is, but that's the official storyline. She came across as sort of a country club wife to me, but again, I have to say in her defense that she was the only one up there who can't be classified as a "professional speechifier" so I tend to give her a break when it comes to critiquing. My wife, watching Ann, also noticed that she looked nervous, but she also said "She's doing a better job of it than I could probably do." Imagine the stress giving such a speech would be to someone who doesn't do it for a living...

    Michale [7] -

    I dunno, I watched PBS for most of the coverage. So now you're saying there should be some sort of quota for minorities on TV news? Heh.

    But seriously, Michale, what'd you think of the speeches themselves? Ted Cruz and Artur Davis both gave speeches you'll probably appreciate... what'd you think of Ann and Christie?

    I noticed this morning that quite a few folks noticed that Christie didn't mention Romney all that much, and used the time to talk about himself. My first reaction to Christie was "this is a man who will run for the White House in 2016"...

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    I didn't check your link, but MSNBC even skipped Ted Cruz and Artur Davis? I mean, everyone seemed to ignore Nikki Haley and the Puerto Rican first lady, but Cruz and Davis gave rip-snortin' red meat speeches. If you missed them, you should hunt them down online and check them out.

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    One last thing:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/republican-cnn-attack-animal-peanuts-racist_n_1838249.html

    Seems like not everyone in the convention hall was opening their arms to minorities. To their credit, the RNC chucked these folks out immediately.

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    I knew it wouldn't be long...

    Reporter: Romneys 'Happy to Have a Party With Black People Drowning'
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/reporter-romneys-happy-have-party-black-people-drowning_651119.html

    But apparently, the Left doesn't have a problem with Obama campaigning and cracking lame jokes "while black people are drowning"....

    Once again, the hypocrisy is nauseating...

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    michty6 wrote:

    CW

    Hmmm I heard the opposite - that Ann's speech had been written for her (or at least, you would expect for such an event, heavily vetted). I thought it came across as such: a very blatant and obvious appeal to women voters whilst trying to humanise Romney the robot! She was definitely nervous but that it understandable and I don't hold that against her...

    As I commented, I had the exact same impression on Christie. He smartly distanced himself from backing the current extreme party positions, giving a much more moderate - 'I can compromise' - type speech with the aim of 2016 no doubt in mind.

  17. [17] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Michale

    Once again, the hypocrisy is nauseating...

    Once again the hypocrisy is invented by you. You are the only one who believe the comments of a REPORTER should be held to the same standards as the comments of an elected official or Presidential candidate...

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    I dunno, I watched PBS for most of the coverage. So now you're saying there should be some sort of quota for minorities on TV news? Heh.

    No.. I am saying that the Leftist MSM brands the GOP as the party of old white guys and then selectively edits their coverage to SHOW that false premise..

    Policy based evidence making in it's truest form...

    If you missed them, you should hunt them down online and check them out.

    It's a shame that, as Americans, we can't trust our media to give us the straight scoop, eh?

    We have to go searching for it on our own...

    Seems like not everyone in the convention hall was opening their arms to minorities. To their credit, the RNC chucked these folks out immediately.

    Com'on.. You HAVE to know that those were likely Democrat plants...

    I mean, seriously... How much racism has been exhibited at Tea Party rallies??? Absolutely NONE, despite massive amounts of incentive and even a CASH REWARD for evidence of it..

    You can't HONESTLY believe that any Righties had anything to do with that, eh???

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again the hypocrisy is invented by you. You are the only one who believe the comments of a REPORTER should be held to the same standards as the comments of an elected official or Presidential candidate...

    I notice how you did not repudiate the words of the reporter, but instead set up a straw-man argument for your easy knock down..

    I am sure you actually BELIEVE the words of the reporter, don't you??

    Yes, bigotry is alive and well...

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am sure you actually BELIEVE the words of the reporter, don't you?

    Apparently, the reporter's employer didn't approve of the reporter's words....

    Reporter has been canned...

    I am SURE that ya'all agree with that action, right?? :D

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Michale

    What you should do is (continue) to find every left-wing nut-job out there and then post links on here to provide 'evidence' that 'both sides are so bad' in response to legitimate criticism on comments made by elected Republicans or your Presidential Candidate.

    Unfortunately everyone on here knows that elected officials and Presidential candidates are held to a much higher standard than people on the street/reporters/whatever nut-job you have found today. So you're wasting your breath. Go over to a right wing media source, they'll eat that rhetoric up.

    Also I love that you are accusing the left of hypocrisy, whilst accusing ME of being a bigot! Irony overload!

  22. [22] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Michale

    I (and most on here) care so little about someone I've never heard of who is a 'lefty' reporter/guy on the street/person on the internet that you've found, that I don't even know what they said or bothered to click on the links you provided....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    What you should do is (continue) to find every left-wing nut-job out there and then post links on here to provide 'evidence' that 'both sides are so bad' in response to legitimate criticism on comments made by elected Republicans or your Presidential Candidate.

    When the Left actually starts repudiating and distancing themselves from those nut-jobs, then I will stop associating the Left with those nut-jobs..

    It's just like with the Oowzer (rhymes with LUSER) protests of a year ago. All the while I was saying that the anarchists are at the CORE of the Occupy movement. Of course, everyone here ridiculed such a position. Called it "Right Wing Talking Points"...

    Turns out, I was dead on balls accurate...

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-29/occupy-sets-wall-street-tie-up-as-protesters-face-burnout.html

    Unfortunately everyone on here knows that elected officials and Presidential candidates are held to a much higher standard than people on the street/reporters/whatever nut-job you have found today.

    Wrong again..

    Only RIGHT elected officials and Presidential candidates are held to a higher standard...

    The Left gets away scot free....

    Also I love that you are accusing the left of hypocrisy, whilst accusing ME of being a bigot! Irony overload!

    I know.. The truth is kind of shocking..

    You have already conceded your bigotry in the previous commentary..

    Accusing me of bigotry is like accusing a white man of being a racist, even though he is married to a black woman..

    It just DOESN'T fly because the facts and reality say otherwise..

    How can I be a political bigot when I hold BOTH Partys in disdain??

    Based on your statements, you are a political bigot, because you only hold ONE Party in disdain..

    The facts are against you, son... Deal with it...

    Michale
    Michale...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I (and most on here) care so little about someone I've never heard of who is a 'lefty' reporter/guy on the street/person on the internet that you've found, that I don't even know what they said or bothered to click on the links you provided....

    Of course you don't...

    But if it were a FNC Reporter who made a 'watermelon' comment, you would be all over it like stink on scheisse....

    Don't bother denying it because we BOTH know that it's true...

    "Thass wha they call political bigotry, son...
    -Foghorn Leghorn

    And, just for the record. It wasn't just some guy on the street.. It was a regional editor for YAHOO NEWS....

    But, of course, you STILL don't care. Because I am sure you agree with what he said...

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    michty6 wrote:

    How can I be a political bigot when I hold BOTH Partys in disdain?

    Lol because you don't? You have a completely warped view of reality that makes you the ideal voter for one side who you absolutely blindly love.

    Based on your statements, you are a political bigot, because you only hold ONE Party in disdain..

    I do indeed hold one party in disdain. But I don't do so with bigoted illogical irrational hatred, like you, I do so because I disagree greatly with their policies (see my 2 posts on here).

    You have openly admitted you hate Obama and don't care what his policies are - you will hate him regardless. This is almost the dictionary definition of bigotry.

  26. [26] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Me [6]: "I thought Christie was pretty good though, although I'd imagine most of the GOP didn't like him since he wasn't extreme enough for them. "

    Yup. Here is what Fox News host Chris Wallace thought:

    But he never went after Barack Obama's economic policies. He talked about a failure of leadership. I don't know that that's even the right critique of Barack Obama. It seems to me, for Republicans, it's not that he's failed to lead, it's that he's led in the wrong direction.

    Looks like I called that one.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/chris-christie-fox-news_n_1839972.html

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Lol because you don't? You have a completely warped view of reality that makes you the ideal voter for one side who you absolutely blindly love.

    Lemme tell you something, young Padawan...

    You have been here MAYBE all of 6 weeks... I have been here OVER six YEARS...

    And ANYONE here can tell you (if they are honest about it) that I have body-slammed and castigated the Republican time and time again.. Granted, not as much as the Democratic Party, but hay.. I hate hypocrites more than anything..

    So, don't think you can choose this itsy bitsy teeny weeny speck that YOU have experienced here on CW.COM and make a case..

    Because, frankly, you don't know shit.. And you haven't EARNED the right to say squat about me..

    Come back when you have some REAL experience under your belt and not some made up fantasy you seem to indulge time and time again..

    I am done with you...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Lol because you don't? You have a completely warped view of reality that makes you the ideal voter for one side who you absolutely blindly love.

    And, for the record, I voted DEMOCRAT in the last two elections..

    So you can take your IGNORANT theories that have absolutely NO basis in reality and shove them up your arse....

    Michale....

  29. [29] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    CW: ...he did have the best anchorman "helmet hair" I've seen since... oh, I don't know... John Edwards, maybe? This is a real accomplishment, what with Romney and Ryan setting the "perfect hair" bar so high in the GOP.

    You're giving Ryan good hair marks? The posters over at the HuffPo refer to him as Eddie Munster.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I am done with you...

    Famous last words ... heh ... around here, anyways.

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I sure hope you haven't scared michty away 'cause yer discussions here have been a lot of fun.

    :-)

  32. [32] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [15] -

    That "left wing media" fired the guy immediately. So what's your point?

    [18] -

    Actually, the media I saw (it could have been just a standard feed everyone shared, I don't know) went out of its way to show every minority in the crowd they could possibly find. Maybe we're watching different channels...

    [20] -

    Actually, I do agree with it. He should have been fired. These guys forget "when you've got a microphone in your face, you don't crack stupid jokes or say stupid things." But I'll be waiting to hear your condemnation the next time a rightie says something stupid...

    [23] -

    How is getting fired immediately "getting off scot-free"?

    [24] -

    Nice use of schiess...

    Chris1962 -

    The whole widow's peak thing doesn't bug me. Romney's tough to top when it comes to good hair, though, you've got to admit...

    Heh.

    Ryan does have rather striking eye color, though, I have noticed that.

    -CW

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Striking eye colour?

    Are you drunk?

  34. [34] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Liz

    I sure hope you haven't scared michty away 'cause yer discussions here have been a lot of fun.

    Nah, the argument was just getting too petty and personal so I thought I'd just leave it.

    Ryan does have rather striking eye color, though, I have noticed that.

    I would LOVE to see his reaction if you walked up to him and said that!

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    He'd run for the hills! Heh. Ryan, I mean. :)

  36. [36] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    Hey, I'm just being realistic. I don't check eye color as a usual thing (sad but funny: I have to look in a mirror to remember my OWN eye color), but Ryan's are pretty piercing, I have to admit.

    -CW

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Whatever.

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You don't have to admit publically everything you feel, you know. Geesh.

    Some things are better left unsaid. I heard that somewhere ...

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