Romney’s speech at the RNC was his most anticipated yet. That said, it was not nearly as substantial as it needed to be. Here are the five key takeaways from Thursday night's speech:
1. Focus on Personal Experiences: Romney, just as Obama, wants to be able to connect with voters. His inability to do so in the past has been a tremendous handicap, preventing him from pushing ahead in polls. The RNC speech gave him a chance to inspire and relate to citizens, and Romney tried to do just that. The speech consisted of a large chunk of personal stories and a smattering of policy discussion. Obama won the hearts of voters in 2008, giving him the election. Romney is trying to do the same.
2. Running an Attack Campaign: Both Obama and Romney are guilty of attacking the other, and rightly so. Both want to persuade voters why the other is not fit to be president. Romney’s speech solidified the 2012 elections as offense-based; attacking the candidate and running smear campaigns.
3. A Five Point Plan? Romney presented a five point plan outlining several objectives he would like to accomplish with Ryan. However, an actual plan, a strategy for how to reach these goals, was largely missing. He stated that he will make North America energy independent, cut the deficit, and give people skills, but did not elaborate as much as he should have on how to accomplish these goals.
4. Appeal to Women: The RNC speech made apparent Romney’s attempt at winning women voters. Romney’s polling is significantly lower than Obama’s in this demographic, and Romney smartly used this speech to try to appeal to women. There were numerous references to how much he revered his mother and how he hired many women to work in his administration as Governor. He brought up a sweet story about how his father would give his mother a rose every day, and stated that women are more likely to start businesses than men. Attempting to connect with women is a good move on Romney’s part; but it may be too little too late.
5. Foreign Policy Assurances: One main weakness of the Romney-Ryan campaign is the lack of foreign policy experience. Neither really has substantial familiarity or involvement with issues of national security. Romney’s speech in regards to foreign policy was a bit antagonistic, making Russia seem like an enemy the U.S. needs to stand up to and Iran a nuclear threat that the U.S. needs to use coercive measures with. Diplomacy was completely off the table. For me, this speech, just like past comments Romney has made regarding Russia, China, and Iran, was a bit too combative.
If Romney wants to win the election, he needs to be able to take advantage of high-profile conventions like the RNC and deliver solid, inspirational speeches. This one was a miss.