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Thursday, November 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 23.0° F  A Few Clouds
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The Republican National Convention and Mitt Romney go out with a whimper
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This carefully scripted and well-produced convention created two big expectations it just couldn't meet.
This carefully scripted and well-produced convention created two big expectations it just couldn't meet.

The main problem with Mitt Romney's convention speech was that it was not memorable enough to wipe out the image of Clint Eastwood rambling at an empty chair.

That performance by Eastwood, the much-built-up surprise guest at the convention, was downright painful.

It's not hard to imagine what the comedy shows will focus on.

Well, Mitt did offer a few more late-night gems.

Like this applause line: "When you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour you took two jobs at $9 an hour."

Who built that into his speech?

Mitt's use of "you," as he described Americans who are struggling, was unnerving.

Like Ann Romney before him, Mitt talked about working people facing tough times as if he had just discovered them.

The promise to magically create jobs and a booming economy by cutting corporate taxes seemed like transparent pap coming from him. He just doesn't sell that fantasy like his running mate Paul Ryan.

The jabs at Obama, for ruining America's great reputation abroad, coddling Iran, and, of course, creating the economic downturn, seemed wooden.

The crowd ate up the "go America" conclusion, which was a little scary, since it was so militaristic and war-hungry. The "No, No, No" chant had that same undercurrent of negativity.

But there were hardly any memorable parts to the speech.

It became clear pretty soon after it started that this carefully scripted and well-produced convention had created two big expectations it just couldn't meet.

One was that there would be a fabulous surprise guest who would knock us out. Instead we got the terribly embarrassing open mike performance by Clint Eastwood and the empty chair.

The other expectation was that Romney would somehow be transformed by the end of the week into someone different -- an inspiring figure.


He's still Mitt Romney.

If the Republicans are going to win this election, it will be solely because they have enough money to buy it.

Ruth Conniff is the political editor of The Progressive and a contributor to Isthmus. She is in Tampa covering the Republican National Convention.

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