Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick Thoughts on the RNC

Blogging has been light this week as, like most of you, I've been watching some of the speeches at the Republican convention.  Here are a few comments on the speeches I saw; they are purely my opinion, going from memory so some of the details may be wrong.

Ann Romney -- I didn't care for her speech.  I didn't like Mitt more after hearing it.  Nor, actually, did I like Mrs. Romney any more after hearing it.  There was little in it I could relate to.  The Romney's marriage is by all accounts a loving one and that speaks well of them.  But she didn't talk about making decisions in the family -- not necessarily monetary decisions, as they've said this was not necessarily a struggle for them, but other household decisions or childrearing decisions.  It was either in her remarks or in a film shown that night, but Mitt was referenced as being like a 6th child.  Marriages in which the husband is regarded as one of the kids are not marriages of equals.  She told us how the two of them feel about each other and it appears to be a real love story, but she didn't tell me anything about what kind of president he would be.  The best "wife's speech" I remember hearing was that of Laura Bush.  She had me when she said something along the lines of "let me tell you about my husband just as if we ran into each other at the store."  She was being her husband's advocate, telling the world what he would do for the country.  I felt that Mrs. Romney was telling me how much her husband adored her, which is great for her but doesn't do anything for anyone else.  Nothing in Ann Romney's speech got me like Laura Bush's did.

Chris Christie -- I liked this speech.  It was well-written with some really good one liners that I think would make great talking points for the GOP.  Do not take this as a statement of support for the NJ governor; it is not.

Condi Rice -- I only caught part of this but it was good.  She speaks well and with authority.

Paul Ryan -- Also well-written and delivered.  I don't like what he said but he said it well.   I had some issues with some facts he presented.

Clint Eastwood -- Train wreck

Marco Rubio -- Great job, good narrative

Mitt Romney -- The words were okay.  Some passages were quite good.  Some of his facts were iffy.  But I didn't like it and that was mostly in the delivery.  Watch it with the sound off -- the tilting head, the eyebrows, the condescending smile, the doe-y, dewy eyes; the body language is that of an old man patronizing a child.  He didn't strike me as presidential at all.  Also, any time a man says his wife's work is more important than his I hear is as code that she did all the childcare and did not work outside the home.  He never had to miss a meeting because a kid was sick and his wife had a more important meeting.  He never had to cut out of work early for a parent teacher conference.  He's never had to do "the juggle."  Anyone who's never had to do "the juggle" cannot possibly relate to the problems of my household and many households.  He talked about having a women lt. gov. and many women on his cabinet in Massachusetts.  Were any of those women raising children at the time?  What was that like?

Appeals to women -- it was clear that all speakers and party spokespeople have been given marching orders to praise women.  That's nice but I'm not buying it.  Who doesn't like their mother?  What married man won't speak well of his wife?  Let's see the policy points that support all that.  Want to help small business owners?  Find a way for them to get health insurance for themselves and their employees.  Want to help stay at home parents (moms AND dads)?  Talk about how Mrs. Romney went back to college and finished her degree after her children were born -- what time management & child care strategies did they use?  How did they pay for it?  Talk about how her health problems and how that affected their family.  I'm less interested in whether or not Mitt curled up in bed with her when she was sick (part of her speech) than in what they did if she was too ill to fix dinner or shop for food-- who took care of it then?  If the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act includes a clause saying health insurance companies can't charge women more then talk about that.  Talk about all the volunteer work women do on behalf of their families and communities, about the value of it, and why companies should offer some flexibility in schedules to allow for it.  Don't just say "oh, my wife did all the childcare so I got to act like a kid myself."  That's not helping.  Women, like men, need time and money.  Your wife and mother might want your love and respect but that's not doing anything for the rest of us.  I'd like fair salaries, opportunities for job growth and education, health care, and an even playing field for business opportunities. 

Those are my 2 cents.

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