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Tim Cahill: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Republican National Convention

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


TIm Cahill, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTERâ„¢

How could I resist using this title given the role Clint Eastwood played on the final night of the Republican Convention?  In fact, by the time this story runs, I am sure that it will have been used a number of times. So please no complaints of plagiarism from the New York Times, Boston Globe editorial  page or Fareed Zakaria; as of now, I am the first to have used one of Eastward' s most iconic movies to describe what just happened this past week in Tampa.

We begin with the good: Ann Romney, Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz represented what is the best part of the Republican Party brand. Ann Romney responded to the scare tactics that the Democratic party has been using to move women  away from Republicans. She told the country that her husband is a good man who not only worked incredibly hard for his success but valued her role as a stay at home mother who raised five boys. She spoke movingly about Mitt and made it clear to everyone watching that their lives together was not some phony "storybook marriage" but instead a real marriage that included illnesses and challenges.

Ann represented the heart of the party while Paul Ryan represented its brain. In a well laid out argument, he reminded the audience that the current path of proliferate government spending  and ignorance towards entitlements will lead this country off a fiscal cliff. He did this without scolding or scaring independents and made it clear that he and his party are ready to make this race one of ideas instead of slogans.

And finally Ted Cruz, represented the future of the party.  His speech was smart and to the point. Although Hispanic by birth, he spoke as an American who represents the opportunities open to everyone in this country. If it was my choice to make, he would have been the keynote speaker of the convention.

Now to the bad: Chris Christie and John Boehner. Something tells me that the governor of New Jersey might just be peaking at the wrong time.  His "tough kid from the Jersey shore" story is getting tiresome. For all of his so-called accomplishments, unemployment is pushing 10% three years after he was elected. Watching him try to explain it was like listening to Obama blame Bush.  Excuses blur the tough-talking image. It's time for him get back to Trenton, take off the cuff links and role up his sleeves and get to work fixing what ails his state before Rubio, Cruz and Ryan leave him in the dust.

The days when it made sense to have  the Speaker of the House preside at the convention are over.  John Boehner always looks as if he is about to cry. Always. And everyone knows that their is no crying in politics. He comes across horribly on television and his fake tan and shifty eyes give off the appearance of a "snake oil" salesman.  It did not  help the Democrats keep the White House  to have then Speaker Tip O'Neil presiding over the 1980 Democratic Convention  and it will not help this group of Republicans take it back to have John Boehner anywhere near a camera until after November.

And finally we finish with the ugly: NBC, ABC and CBS. Will the last person there just turn off the lights.  Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley must be rolling over in their graves at what their former news divisions have become.  It is not just that they are mostly irrelevant when it comes to reporting on these conventions, but they were in such a rush to get off the air that it became embarrassing to watch.  So I turned back to CNN and Fox and MSNBC where hard news mixed with hard opinions to give people a more colorful and deeper understanding of what just took place. As much as the networks try, political conventions can not be packaged like American Idol to fit into one neat little one hour time slot. Thank you Marco Rubio, Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney for speaking long enough to bleed past the 11 o'clock cutoff.

And finally I have two words for Clint Eastwood's performance: Academy Award.


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