By David Beilstein
Last night conservative talk radio host Mark Levin explained he was in a funk. Why? Levin exlained that, too. It was because, in his mind, of a lack of “desperation” on the part of Republican National Convention planners (meaning Romney people) to explicate what kind of morass the country is in.
I share many of Levin’s points and admire the passionate man from his undisclosed bunker in Virginia. Therefore, I tread lightly. Levin pointed out the RNC focused on stories, minorities, governors,—but not a lethal attack upon President Barack H. Obama’s radical leftist ideological leanings.
Being a classical-liberal/libertarian of the Buckley-ian variety, of course I share these opinions of Obama. I believe President Barack H. Obama to be an ideologue of the worst sort. And I believe he is a dogmatic, leftist radical. For my thinking, Barack Obama is a treacherous shill and enemy of the free markets, free minds, classical liberal paradigm, which built the most free and most prosperous nation on this earth.
The problem for me (all about me!) and the problem with Mark Levin’s thinking is the Republican National Convention is not intended for those convinced of such realities. No truly conservative voter/thinker believes the President is a mainstream “middle of the road” Democrat within typical parameters of presidential ideology.
To my thinking, here’s the scoop: Presidential candidate Barack Obama won more than 51% of the vote and tallied more than 350 points in the electoral college. More than 70 million Americans voted for President Obama, an overlap of voters who also voted for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton into the Chief Executive Office. The majority of these voters did not vote on pure ideological concerns—but experiential ones.
In the aggregate, Americans vote on the health of their finances, personal livelihood, security, and feelings.
Insofar as Mitt Romney would be insane not to go after the President’s economic record (see Halperin Throws in The Towel), the Republican National Convention was not so much about Obama, but offensively shoring up Mitt Romney’s perceived and real weaknesses as a candidate.
Voters do not doubt Romney’s financial acumen—his businessman’s sense to identify a problem and seek solutions in the macro. What polls suggested pre-convention is Mitt Romney’s ability to locate himself subjectively in the micro. Questions arose, ‘is Romney flesh and blood or mere business logistics.’ Voters are concerned with Romney’s ability to be empathetic to their plight because of his towering wealth and success. Voters know a negative critique of President Obama’s stewardship of the American vessel is coming. Even so, the voters need to know the ‘messenger’ (Romney) identifies and ‘gets’ the circumstances of everyday Americans must come first at the National Convention level. It’s the entire point of political conventions.
Secondly, Dick Morris pointed out negative conventions don’t do well. The Republican Convention of 1992 proved that and the outcome was not to the liking of many Republicans. It seems, wisely, what was seen this week of speeches and pomp was an introduction to the messenger. It was Aristotle’s pathos formula (ethos, pathos, logos) in national political convention terms. The sprint to Nov. 6 will see (it better!) the Romney campaign unleash the ethos and logos part of Aristotle’s method in critique of Obama’s maladroit handling of the countries reigns.
Lastly, Levin appears a happily married man. I don’t know nor is it my business the last time he dated a woman. If a woman has made a previous bad choice in a relationship the worst thing a new boyfriend can do is pick apart her ex-boyfriend. In doing so, the man is picking apart the woman’s judgement he seeks to court. Not good.
The American people, like it or not, selected Barack Obama as their President. It would be unwise to make them feel like idiots (even if true!) for such a decision. No, team Romney scored I think. Turning the page on Obama and introducing Romney afresh, anew—wonderfully human and fleshy, was the combination to throw.
We are all stories. The Romney campaign wisely held a Republican National Convention focused on that connection to average voters. They told a positive story about a man previously remote. If taken advantage of, there will be plenty of time to draw and parry the President’s lunges and pepper Obama on his record. That is when the unfurling of plenty of free minds and free market ideological ammunition will matter.