After three action-packed days, the Republican National Convention has come to a close.
Organizers and the Romney campaign faced a choice. They could have made this convention about Barack Obama and his failures alone, following a theme that permeated the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Democrats made that election a referendum on George W. Bush, and they lost. Republicans would have made a major mistake in following that trend.
Instead, Republicans chose to focus on what makes them a better choice as a party than Democrats. Hearing from a plethora of future leaders of the party, including Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, and Nikki Haley, provided Republicans — but more importantly non-affiliated voters — with a vision for a Republican Party that lasts far beyond this election. Republicans were right to avoid making this convention about an opportunity to oppose President Obama. In 2008, we saw a cult of personality surrounding him which helped propel him to office. Republicans saw this as something bigger than one elected official, and will win this election should they continue to focus on issues and principles.
Frankly, there was not one speaker that ever distracted from the momentum building towards Romney's crescendo. Sure, the appearance by Clint Eastwood was a little awkward with an empty chair, but one line provided a powerful reminder of the principles and issues.
"I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we — we own this country. We own it. Politicians are employees of ours. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go," Eastwood told the audience.
Romney drove home this convention's theme. He laid out a five-point policy agenda and highlighted the key differences between President Obama and him, explaining to voters why their should put their faith in Republicans this time around. Some of Romney's key lines from his speech include:
1) "I'm an American, and I make my own destiny."
2) "In America we celebrate success, we don't apologize for success."
3) "President Obama promised to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. I promise to help you and your family."
Romney did exactly what he needed to do with his convention speech. Liberals weren't going to support him, and his speech likely didn't convince them otherwise. However, the undecided voters, those that don't have complete faith in our current President, will be tuning in to Romney after this convention. Hispanic voters will still vote Democrat in a large bloc, but a sliver of that demographic might take a second look . In a close election, you don't need to win the votes of everyone, just enough people.
This convention started that effort on Tuesday night. Romney solidified the GOP effort with his closing appeal on Thursday. Republicans, using this convention as their launching pad, will take the energy of this convention forward for the next 70 days to victory at the ballot box up and down the ticket as a result.
For a complete analysis of Romney's RNC acceptance speech, with real-time analysis, see here.