Romney at the RNC: From the Audacity of Hype to the Tenacity of Hope

Romney at the RNC: From the Audacity of Hype to the Tenacity of Hope August 30, 2012

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.

I ask you to commit like never before — donate $20.12 to support Paul and me and the entire Republican team. 

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.

Thank you,

Mitt Romney

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.

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  • Jeremy Forbing

    If Romney can radiate hope in this country tonight, I will be shocked. There may be some of that rhetoric, especially since Romney won’t want to discuss his record, but thus far he has shown no sign of the talent for communication that made Reagan the unifying figure he became. I expect a lot of the generalized griping about Obama you display in your “audacity of hype” paragraph, but I don’t expect any specifics of a positive vision in contrast. All he has suggested as a plan to fix our economy so far is tax cuts– and mostly just extending the ones that already exist– and letting big banks and corporations do anything they want. Which is what put us in this predicament in the first place. These mistakes under Bush created the deep structural problems Obama inherited, and which the Republican congress– who considered making him a one-term president their legislative priority over helping the country– did nothing to help solve. The Republican strategy has been two simple prongs all along: A) Try to make people hate Obama. B) Try to capitalize on that hatred to get votes. Tonight will just be the next big phase of part B.

  • Martin

    Both Democrats and Republicans need to shed the messiah complex tied to their presidential candidates. It’s almost as bad this this election season.

  • The fact that Obama ran smack into a stone wall called the Republican-controlled House of Representatives who were and are unwilling to make any sort of compromise, grand or otherwise, seems to have escaped the author of this piece. It is no accident that congress’ approval rating is at 10%–their only goal has been to block any Obama-initiated legislation.

    • Micha Elyi

      My, how quickly they forget!

      When Obama was inaugurated both houses of Congress were in Democrat hands. If the House was “Republican-controlled” then, take it up with then-Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-SF).

      The results of the Democrat-controlled House’s collaboration with Obama so impressed the voters that they turned the House over to a Republican majority one election (in 2010) later. Since then, the House of Representatives has been doing the will of the People. So, what’s your gripe -that your supposed constitutional law expert – Obama – isn’t allowed to be a dictator?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      First of all, Obama had control of the executive and the legislature for two years, and he “ran into a brick wall” because his mismanagement of the economic crisis led to a Republican tidal wave in 2010, bringing in Republicans who arguably had a mandate to press in the opposite direction. If you think Obama is driving the economy off a cliff, it’s your right and your responsibility to stand in the way. If Obama had offered legislation that was more moderate, brought Republicans into the deliberation process, and did not botch the compromise talks under pressure from his own special interest groups, then he might have been able to get more done. Imagine that! When you have a split Congress, it takes compromise.

      Besides that, the notion that Republicans did not offer their own ideas is bollocks. They passed many things that they knew had no chance of getting through the Senate, but that’s no different from Democrats pushing legislation they know the Republicans cannot vote for.

      The Obama administration has been a dramatic failure when it comes to identifying areas of common cause and forging compromises. That’s not surprising. What’s surprising is that this “party of no” nonsense is still offered as an excuse. As with Democrats leading up to 2006 and 2008, when the Dems were supposedly the party of no, if the opposing party is asking you to betray your principles and your sense of what’s best for the country, then saying no is your obligation.

      • matt

        This is absolute nonsense.

        The Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate from July of 2009 (when Al Franken was finally seated) until February 2010. And there was a month in there, after the death of Teddy Kennedy, when they didn’t have that majority. That means that the Dems had “absolute control” of the congress for less around 5 months.

        And your statement about Obama having been a dramatic failure when it comes to compromise is also nuts. The entire Obamacare that you revlie is based off of the plan by the nominee you support! Cap and trade is a Republican idea. He was willing to make enormous concession and was only defeated by Republican intransigence. That you would write an article like this and never once mention the record number of filibusters mounted by Republicans says a lot.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          The Democrats didn’t have to wait for Franken to be seated before they had their way in the Senate.

          You’re welcome to see any number of pieces that I or the good folks at Evangelicals for Mitt have written about the distinctions between Romneycare and Obamacare, and the differences between state powers and federal powers.

          There’s no question that Republicans have sought to oppose Obama’s agenda. If they think that agenda is destructive to American interests, that’s their job.

  • Daniel

    Tom, have you forgotten that for the first two years of his reign the President’s party had complete control of Congress and acted without consulting Republicans at all?
    And what was accomplished then was a series of counterproductive economic errors and potential disasters, which have been inflicted on the country. The Democrats were too ashamed to produce a budget all that time, which is the duty of the Senate, still under their control.
    The conceit that a few wise Democrats can make decisions for the benefit of several hundred million Americans better than those Americans can make for themselves has proven to be absurd. They must be stopped!

  • Craig

    It’s way past time to rename the “Evangelical” Channel the “Conservative Christian” Channel.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Because Scot McKnight, Karen Spears Zacharias and Kurt Willems are *so* conservative?

      • Craig

        I wouldn’t say that they’re “*so* conservative”; they aren’t as severely conservative as the manager of this channel and most of the contributing bloggers.