Romney, Ryan continue to face shortcomings

BY CONNOR BURNS ’13
Senior Staff Writer

The GOP chose to have its Presidential convention on the tip of Florida during hurricane season. Then, Thursday night Clint Eastwood stepped before the audience in Tampa and made derogatory remarks at a chair. Dirty Harry proceeded to put words in the empty chair’s mouth, pretending he was the roast-master for President Barack Obama. It was a parody of the straw-man argument. The speech certainly served to detract from the merit and dignity of the evening on which Presidential Candidate Romney finally gave his speech to the Republican Party.

It’s been a long summer of international campaign mismanagement on the part of Romney and his people (though mostly Romney). The previous night, Paul Ryan gave a speech especially burdened with factual inaccuracies, and in a few instances he even accused President Obama of things he himself had done. Although the speech received perhaps the most powerful standing ovation of the entire convention, it calls into question Ryan’s honesty, which previously even left-wing Democrats considered to be sterling.

Ryan has a gigantic personality in comparison to Romney and does an excellent job of motivating the base of the Republican Party. He gave a rousing speech in the convention hall this week, but Florida remains a state highly vulnerable to attack ads about Ryan’s budget and proposed cuts to Medicare. The Romney campaign has chosen to strike first, releasing a commercial stating Obamacare has taken away from Medicare. However, Ryan’s budget speaks for itself and will be a serious liability as the campaign progresses. Picking Ryan looks good to conservatives, and although the Republican Party does not seem to have erred with the same magnitude it did in choosing its 2008 Vice Presidential Candidate, Ryan is still a high-risk pick.

The Romney campaign would love to talk about the economy, but a long series of unforced errors, such as Eastwood’s speech, keeps the media occupied with other issues. At the same time, conservatives such as Ben Stein have criticized Romney for not offering any solid policies that might significantly improve the economy.

Obama’s personal likeability remains very high and he maintains a consistent lead in almost all of the swing states.

This election is not a foregone conclusion, but London bookies and election forecasters put Obama’s odds of winning at around 70%. Romney realizes he needs to shake the scheme of things in this campaign, but he does not have a salient enough personality or series of policy ideas to do that. The flood of money to conservative Super PACs, as well as the money going directly into the Romney campaign’s coffers, will help put his message out to as many voters as his campaign advisers want; Romney has already outpaced Obama in terms of fundraising and will continue to do so. But elections, however fickle they are, cannot be explicitly bought, or so I hope.

Questions? Email Connor at cburns@fandm.edu.

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