As the winds and the rains died down in Tampa this week, the Republican National Convention ramped up. New York convention delegate and Wayne County Republican Chairman Dan Olson offered some insights and opinions from the storm-shortened convention.
“Well, I’d have to say – ‘Mission Accomplished’,” said Olson referring to getting the heart and soul of Mitt Romney known to the masses.
In his acceptance speech to end the Convention, Romney’s goal was to give the audience a sense of his warm, genuine, generous personality. Dan said he delivered that and more.
The best speeches in Olson’s mind – the ones he felt “held up” the best and resonated the most with the 17,000 in the convention center – were from: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (“He does better when he is off the teleprompter, though.”), Florida Senator Marco Rubio (“He really wound up the crowd!”), Ann Romney (“There wasn’t a dry eye from where I stood; I even welled up a bit myself!”) and… of course, candidate Mitt Romney .
Speaking as both an academic and a practical Republican, Olson felt that Mitt was very professional with his speech. “He gave the right infections with his voice and his message, and raised the crowd up where he meant to.” Dan also noted that he (Romney) spent more time pointing out the deficiencies with the government and the Democratic party than attacking Obama personally. “He was not mean, though he did make a few ironic comments.” Olson especially liked the part when Mitt said people felt good when Obama was elected, but that if the best they felt about Obama as president was how they felt on the day he was elected, then that is not necessarily a good thing.
“I think the post-convention bounce from this will be at least 4 or 5” said Olson referring to the uplift in polls following a nominating convention.
On the subject of Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, Dan admits that Ryan was a great choice. He noted that the sometimes flippant, sometimes poised, experienced young politician (age 42) resonates with young Republicans. “Obama is now the candidate with the old “fuddy duddy” V.P. choice,” said Dan.
Olson has attended 4 Republican Conventions in the last 20 years and sees a huge difference in the ability to get a message out quicker and clearer with the technology now available.
Over the shortened 4 day convention, each day had a different theme, with signs and banners changing to meet that theme. He especially liked the “We Built That” theme.
He felt the impression from the floor on the Clint Eastwood speech was different from the media point of view. “It was always supposed to be a piece of comedy…it was noted in the program that way. He didn’t go ‘off message’ as some media reported. He didn’t give a copy of his speech for the teleprompters, so it was off-the-cuff, but the delegates loved it.”
A convention is a great place to network and bond with others of a like mind, Dan acknowledged. “You wonder what an Idaho Republican is like; if they have the same ideals and values as you. We were the same and felt the same and there is unity for the party in that.”
Olson showed some real compassion on the final day, when, as candidate Romney was due to deliver his acceptance speech, Dan offered his floor credentials to alternate delegate Nancy Skeels of Palmyra, and took her ‘nosebleed’ seat. Nancy, a Mormon, had a special sense of pride in that moment, so Dan gave her the opportunity to revel in it. He enjoyed his high seats as well, noting that one could see the entire crowd and hear their reaction to the speech from up top, where a large screen was also available to see Romney up close.
Speaking on her ride home from the Convention, Nancy Skeels raved about her experience. “He (Romney) said in his speech exactly what he needed, to instill excitement in all the representatives so they could carry that message,” said a boyant Skeels. “If I could shout from the rooftops what his message is, I would.”
She felt that Romney geared his speech to every person in the room, covering family issues, the future, foreign policy issues and finance – which could come with dire circumstances if the debt is allowed to continue rising unchecked.
While being a Mormon, made her even more proud of her candidate, she made it clear that “Regardless of beliefs – Catholic, Episcopalian or whatever – the entire hall was absolutely hyped and moved by his phenomenal words,” she explained.
“We rose up and sat down, we rose up and sat down, we screamed and cheered for his message, and I nearly lost my voice. He was wonderful,” said Skeels of Mitt Romney, the now official Republican choice for President of the United States. The election is just over 60 days away, and Wayne County Republicans will play a very significant role in getting the vote out for the team of Romney/Ryan in November.