Operational Observations: Well it only happens once every four years and in some respects, that's a good thing given the extraordinary expense related to the security, and logistics for an event this size.
Unlike 2008 in Minneapolis I never saw a single protestor other than the two incidents with Code Pink in the convention. According to the local news there was a nearby tent city and a couple of marches but none of them were close enough to impact our transportation or events—so kudos to all of the Law Enforcement Agencies that coordinated their efforts to keep us safe throughout the week.
While the logistics of moving thousands of people quickly on buses and through security check points and metal detectors can be challenging, with only a few exceptions everything went smoothly. Tuesday night there were major delays on the return trip to our hotel but we found out later that it was not a logistical issue but a security issue and was caused by Secret Service.
Overall great planning, great city and wonderful time.
Political Observations: Having been through the election process myself albeit on a smaller scale, I was extremely interested in the political strategy involved in the event.
The Obama campaign has been running negative ads and attacking Romney and now Ryan on a variety of fronts. The convention offered the Republican ticket the venue to disprove the theories floated by the Presidents political operative David Axelrod.
From my perspective with few exceptions they maximized the opportunity and hopefully some of the undecided voters had an opportunity to watch. The President has attacked Governor Romney's success by portraying him as a slash and burn venture capitalist only concerned with a buck. The picture painted by the Obama team is a man who lacks any sense of human feelings, only caring about his investments and not the middle class.
The Romney campaign countered that theory in two ways—first through Ann Romney's speech Tuesday night, and second as we listened to average Americas who weren't famous tell real stories about how Mitt personally invested in them, their family, or their business.
Mrs. Romney recounted how they first met at a high school dance as they flashed pictures from their courtship and married life on the screens behind her. In my opinion these strategies offered an excellent counter argument to the money hungry capitalist and showed a deeply human side to both Mitt and Ann Romney. The other theory floated by Democrats is that Romney doesn't care about women and wants to somehow diminish their rights. Team Romney recognized this important voter block and had speeches from his Lt Governor Kerry Healey who served with him when he was Governor of Massachusetts.
She described the Romney cabinet as consisting of 50 percent women, an important fact never mentioned by the Democrats. In my opinion, the icing on the cake was Jane Edmonds, an African American woman who served as Romney's Director of Workforce Development while he was Governor.
She prefaced her comments by classifying herself as a liberal Democrat and explained how he was always open to listen to her even if he disagreed and went on to say she felt that he needed to be the next President of the United States.
My opinion of women's reactions matters less because I'm a guy and like most men don't understand women or how they think. So I asked my wife and my female seatmate on my airplane ride back to Baltimore. Both agreed with my analysis and both felt more comfortable with Mitts promotion of women given the speeches I highlighted.
Additionally my seatmate who did not attend the convention said that Mitts focus on schools as Governor was another important topic that she was glad they highlighted because she is concerned about education specifically as it related to her children. The last and final voter block that Republicans have been reportedly struggling to secure at the ballot box is Hispanic Americans.
The issue of illegal immigration polls well north of 70 percent and consistently crosses party lines but the media has reported that the Republican Party struggles with Hispanics due to our traditional hardcore stance on this topic.
The Obama Administration recently issued an Executive Order to release illegal immigrants that qualify for deportation and was in this writer’s opinion nothing more than political pandering. The answer from the Romney Ryan campaign was to have the First Lady of Puerto Rico Luce Vela to introduce Ann Romney, the Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez to speak right before Paul Ryan, former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush to speak in Spanish while addressing education, and finally Senator Marco Rubio to introduce Mitt.
The personal story of Rubio which I highlighted in Friday's post was touching but the story of Susana Martinez who was recruited to change parties was humorous and her being willing to share that she realized she was a Republican was warmly received by thunderous applause.
All of these strategies in responding to the attacks were in my opinion handled excellently. Friday morning as we were dissecting the strategy of the themes and speakers the one hole we found was Clint Eastwood. While some of his comments were funny I could not come up with a legitimate explanation for why the campaign would let him get up and do what he did in the middle of a very important night for the party and our candidate.
He spoke softly, stumbled on his words and struggled connecting thoughts in a way that failed to keep your attention. Maybe someone has an explanation or theory that works but after three nights of very scripted and strategic speeches by excellent speakers I was left without a legitimate purpose for his speech. All in all it was a fantastic event and I believe we did an excellent job of contrasting the two parties and more importantly the two candidates. Over the next couple of months I will be working hard to get the Romney Ryan team elected.
If you want to help let me know or if you just want a sign in your yard or a bumper sticker for your rear window contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your attention to this important event and a big thank you to the Anne Arundel Republican Central Committee for helping elect me to attend and for giving me the opportunity to represent Anne Arundel County and the great state of Maryland.