Republicans faced a challenge at the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. They could take the option of attacking Obama, laying out nothing but a platform of blame that didn't paint a clear picture of what exactly they stood for. Or, Republicans could highlight the choice that voters faced in November between the Democratic nominee and Mitt Romney. Republicans made the right choice in contrasting for voters two sets of competing philosophies ... explaining why the GOP platform is better.
That's not to say there weren't awkward moments on the first night. Rick Santorum's speech seemed to really enjoy talking about hands (yes, hands) and emphasizing socially conservative philosophy. This came out as disjointed, especially for a Romney campaign that must focus on the economy. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire did not stand out particuarly well, and Jeanine Turner arrived with a very rough speech and an even worse hair style.
However, the lineup of speakers painted a strong picture of the Republican philosophy as compared to that of the Democrats and President Obama. Here are a few excerpts:
Ted Cruz (TX): "And here I want to say something especially to the Democrats who are listening tonight. You can send a wake-up message to your party-the party that was once proud to be the party of working people. Obama's policies have failed. Jobs don't come from government; they come from entrepreneurs and small businesses. Two thirds of all new jobs come from small business, and 2.3 million Hispanics own small businesses and yet this Administration has imposed higher taxes and crushing regulations on small businesses across our nation. To restore America, to get Americans back to work, we must rein in the leviathan. We must stop spending money we don't have and turn around our crushing debt."
Nikki Haley (SC): "Boeing started a new line for their 787 Dreamliner, creating 1,000 new jobs in South Carolina, giving our state a shot in the arm when we truly needed it. At the same time, they expanded their job numbers in Washington state by 2,000. Not a single person was hurt by their decision. Not one. And what did President Obama and his National Labor Relations Board do? They sued this iconic American company. It was shameful. And not worthy of the promise of America. But we did one of the things we do best in South Carolina -- we got loud. We're fighters in South Carolina, and as we fought we watched an amazing thing happen: you fought with us. And guess what, we won."
Chris Christie (NJ): "I know this simple truth and I'm not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America. Let's be clear with the American people tonight. Here's what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats."
America is at a crossroads in its history where our country will either travel down a path of irreversible decline or build a foundation to revive and redefine how the American Dream manifests itself among the citizens of this country. If Republicans want to have the opportunity to reduce the size of government, they need to build a relationship with the American voter that is based on a mutual understanding of the issues that we all face. If Mitt Romney wants to succeed after this convention, his predecessors in the convention schedule have laid the foundation he needs to improve his campaign's chances to be president.