Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Republicans Use Convention To Counter Democratic Accusations

The Republicans completed their to-do list by showcasing Hispanics and making Romney look more human and compassionate.
By Dr. Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 8/31/2012, 12:34 PM

Romney tribe
Romney tribe
Reuters

The writer is a political scientist and Arutz Sheva's Global Agenda writer and political analyst. He is featured regularly in the Hebrew and English Israeli press, and lives in Tekoa.

The Republicans completed a to-do list on the last night of their convention and left it to their candidate Mitt Romney to sum up the week for the American voter.

Via Marco Rubio, the eloquent senator from Florida, the Republican Party made one more effort to convince Hispanics that the Republican Party was open to them and to respected immigrants who played by the rules of legal immigration and helped validate the American dream.

Next week in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Democratic convention, the Democrats are going to remind Hispanic voters about Republican rejection of the Dream Act that would have paved the way for normalizing the conditions of predominantly Hispanic illegal immigrants.

The Democrats should win this battle. The question in a tight election is: by what margin? According to polls Obama enjoyed a 40% edge over Romney among Hispanic voters and if the Republicans manage via the prominent Hispanic Republicans that they showcased in  the convention to eat into this margin, they will have advanced their electoral goals.

The last night also was a riposte to the Democratic strategy of casting Romney as Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. The emotional testimonials that Mitt Romney received, as well as the emotions that he displayed in his acceptance speech, may help soften the stereotype that the Democrats invested millions in building. Now that he has the nomination, the Republicans will use an advertising blitz to further enhance Romney's likability.

When he wasn't talking about the failures of the Obama administration, Romney was jousting with the accusation that his party was hostile to women. He cited his record as Massachusetts governor in promoting women and recalled the backing of his father George Romney, a man he obviously idolized, for his mother's Senate bid. Romney praised both the career woman and homemakers like his wife Ann.

The acceptance speech tried to weave the two major strands in the Republican campaign.

The first was that Obama, like Jimmy Carter. should be consigned to the status of a one-term failure. Romney tried to revive the image of Republican icon Ronald Reagan (perhaps this was also the reasoning behind inviting Clint Eastwood), by rephrasing time and again during his acceptance speech Reagan's decisive question in the 1980 campaign -  are you better off than you were 4 years ago?

For the Republicans, the answer is obvious, as is the culprit. With the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, the election became more than a judgment on Obama's record, but also an ideological argument. The Republicans go into the race as a party of fiscal conservatism and small government. This also feeds into the narrative that America is not Europe and disdains an overreliance on government that stifles freedom and success.

Romney, in his acceptance speech, managed to blend the themes together in a workmanlike fashion.

Romney did not excite and judging by past form, Obama's acceptance next week will surpass it rhetorically. However, for me - and perhaps for voters - the key passage in the acceptance speech was the following:

President "Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise...is to help you and your family." I may not be as exciting as Obama, says the Republican presidential candidate,  but I am down to earth, and my approach will produce better results for you and your family.