Notes on Romney speech

It took me a lot of time to process Mitt Romney’s speech tonight. I had seen John McCain’s and Sam Brownback’s on TV. Romney’s was in sharp contrast to the others. He offered lots of details and great quotes like:

  • "Time to make out of wedlock births out of fashion."
  • "I will be a prolife president. Just like I was a pro-life governor," (this is, of course, totally misleading, but, hey, it’s Mitt, what do you expect?)
  • "The first family represents America to the world." (I am not sure that I buy this, but it is a fantastic Clinton contrast)

The upshot is that he seemed to offer the laundry list policy objectives of the Family Research Council, while skirting the problematic ones. People were clearly, being told what they wanted to hear. They responded well to him.

But there were some problems. He had two standing ovations. One for the FMA, and one at the end. But, there was a group of people standing at the back who were clearly and pointedly not-standing.

But several things struck me.

First, Romney said that his wife would focus on encouraging marriage while they were in the White House. What struck me about this is that she should say this, not him. She is not allowed to speak for him, but he can speak for her? That’s very strange.

Second, he also proposed a series of things that are … already happening. It is like he took an old version of the FRC position papers and repeated them with better lines. Except that a lot of those policies are getting implemented.

Third, he talked about internet pornography. I was struck by this because this is one of McCain’s issues, but McCain didn’t mention it in his speech.

In general, people that I talked to after the speech felt like he had said everything that he was supposed to say. He had performed very, very well. But it wasn’t enough for them. They wanted more. And they felt like he was performing. And it was clear that there was some substantial anti-Mormon bias in the room.