Everyone is asking what Governor Romney should say when he addresses the Republican National Convention tonight in Tampa. It’s going to be an important moment in which Romney can cut past the clutter and the cacophony of the election season and speak directly to the American electorate. It’s especially important for the challenger, who has fewer opportunities to speak at length to a national audience.
I received the following email from Mitt, and the note he wants to sound tonight rang through clearly: he wants to strike a note of Reaganite optimism. Check out this note and see if you think the same:
In a few hours, I’ll take the podium before a Republican Party that has been united and inspired by a common conviction:
We believe in America.
We believe in America, even though the last four years have been full of difficulties and disappointments, doubt and despair.
We believe in America, even though millions of American families are worried about their jobs, their mortgages, their children, and their future.
We believe in America, even though President Obama’s failed policies have left us with record high unemployment, lower take-home pay, and the weakest economy since the Great Depression.
But we also believe that America can do better, because decline is not our destiny.
I commit to you that I will be the president this moment demands.
It will be my privilege to stand at the podium to accept the nomination. And I will stand not just for every supporter, and not just for the Republican Party — I’ll stand for every American who believes our best days are ahead.
We believe in America — decline is not our destiny — I’ll stand for every American who believes our best days are ahead. You can practically hear the morning in America commercial. I expect this is the tone Romney will sound tonight.
It seems right to me. Romney has prosecuted the case against Barack Obama, and he will continue to do so. His allies and surrogates will press the case with even greater force and ardor. Mitt’s role is to be the leader. His role tonight is to articulate a positive vision of American renewal, a full-orbed vision that comprehends the renewal of values and virtues, the renewal of families and communities, the renewal of businesses and institutions, all the way to an economy that bears fruit for everyone and a humbler, more responsible government that will not plunder that economy but protect its freedom to flourish. Then his role is to convince Americans that this renewal is possible, that our future really can outshine our past, and that he is the leader who can take us there.
Obama 2008 was about the audacity of hype. What Obama sold in 2008 was less hope than hype, because hope is not baseless, and Obama was all surface and no substance, all promise and no power. Americans — some of them, anyway — fell so in love with the promises that they failed to note that Obama possessed neither the record, the experience nor the expertise to suggest that he could follow through on those promises.
Romney 2012 is about the tenacity of hope. The miracle that hope endures even through the worst of times, that it survives like a flower bud beneath the ruins of a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional government. For the Obama diehards, of course, they still place their hope in a President who has failed to deliver on his most important commitments. But for the rest of us, countless Americans across the fruited plain are devastated and despairing, wondering whether this country that has skidded off the rails can ever be put back on the path to prosperity and peace. We were not pleased with the state of the nation at the end of the Bush administration, but Obama has made matters worse and proven he hasn’t the answers.
The fundamental question voters are asking now is this: who can fix this horrible mess? Can anyone fix it?
If Romney can embody and communicate hope tonight, if he can radiate hope in this country and a sense of confident that he is the leader to take us forward, then watch out. Hope is a powerful thing. More powerful than fear, than envy, than division. A little bit of hope is all it takes to begin a movement.