Why didn't I live-blog the GOP convention last night? I'd thought I would, and I think I live-blogged every day of both parties' conventions in 2004 and 2008. I watched part of the afternoon roll call and all of the evening show. But I didn't want to say something about each of the speeches as I listened, though this morning I wish I had.
I watched on C-SPAN. I cannot tolerate the channels that have people who talk about what is going on while it's going one. They are obviously not listening, so what are they doing — other than getting in the way? But when you watch on C-SPAN, it's just a bunch of speeches. Speeches are speeches. There's a sameness to them. A good line now and then. A nice line reading. Themes emerge. It seemed to me that the main theme was that Americans work hard and construct their own families' economic well-being. There were a lot of "We Built It" signs (playing off the Republican's favorite Obama quote, "You didn't build that").
Chris Christie, the keynote speaker, was the main speaker who had his own distinctive theme: Truth. Americans are ready to hear the truth about government and economics. He told the truth in New Jersey, and he got elected, and he fixed things, and now this truth thing is going national. Without checking the text, I'm not sure how directly Christie associated Obama with not telling the truth, but I note that Obama was always the "dreams" guy. Talking tough about truth may be the perfect counterbalance to Obama's supremely — unfairly! — effective "hope" theme.
Who was the best speaker last night? Maybe it wasn't Christie. Maybe it was Rick Santorum. What am I saying? All that hands-touching-hands business. It got to me, and I am not a social conservative. I cried when he talked about Bella. Santorum was off the "we built it" theme. He was the one speaker — as I remember it — who talked about caring for people. But who votes based on caring? Don't those people vote Democrat?
I say that to Meade, and he goes on about how fixing the economy is the best way for government to care for people. That's not my point. Of course, that's true. That's rational. But I'm talking about the voters who imagine suffering children and feel the importance of love as they arrive at an emotion-based decision. Those people vote Democratic, don't they?
ADDED: Ann Romney carried the main "We Built It" theme by portraying Mitt as building his own wealth, starting out from nothing... basement apartment... ate a lot of pasta and tuna.... And her grandfather was a coal miner. In Wales.
But did she humanize him? I read in the press about a thousand times that it was her job to humanize him. Isn't it racist and sexist to portray Mitt Romney as inhuman?