Media pack tear into Romney's speech
Politico has a a telling analysis of Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the RNC. Writers Jim Vandenhei and John F. Harris ask a series of questions about the speech, and then posit what the media pronouncements will be, implicitly acknowledging their colleagues' pack mentality.
Below are their questions and, abbreviated, answers, followed by this correspondent's analysis.
Does he (Romney) pass the get-it test?
Yeah, sure, kinda-Romney Thursday night showed he "gets it" as well as he is ever going to get it. He seemed like a comfortable and accessible figure, if hardly an electric one; there was nothing distant or exotic about his performance or personal presence. By the end, he even showed a little punch.
What you might call a left-handed compliment, at best. (Hey! Isn't Obama left-handed?)
Does he make a coherent case for his candidacy?
A strong yes... One line captured it best. "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."
The media might actually concede that Romney made a case against their anointed candidate? Maybe the planet really will heal.
Would people want to share a caffeine-free Diet Coke with that guy?
One senses that talking with Romney might be a little like chatting with the boss at the company picnic-perfectly pleasant but a bit forced. He cleared the bar on this category, but will still likely want Ryan to handle the likability account.
Okay, we get it; Romney's a Mormon. So it's not, Do you wanna share a beer with the guy. Done in good humor, surely. But it is reminiscent that analysts have speculated that there would be an underground campaign to make Romney seem weird because of his religion. Much as the Obama camp tried to make John McCain seem unstable because of his POW experience. And maybe that's the reason for all those pictures of Obama drinking a beer?
Can he make his résumé relevant?
This was one of the stronger pillars of Romney's speech. He showed how his experience at Bain Capital, starting it as a small and struggling business and taking it to riches, informs his worldview about the power of markets and his belief that the purpose of government is to clear obstacles to individual achievement rather than promote collective entitlements.
Seems like pretty straight-up analysis. But wait...
Does he get the details right?
This was one of the lamest parts of Romney's speech. His policy substance was as thin as tissue paper... Romney didn't even get to any policy until the end of the speech. And even then he just announced a series of aspirations.
Now, that's the media we're all used to. In a speech that almost every analyst agreed must be primarily about introducing Romney, the man, to the American people, he's faulted for not focusing on wonkish policy details? And did the media make the same criticism of a certain candidate who, four years ago, ran on the aspirations of Hope and Change?
Do listeners cringe?
Romney gave no one reasons to squirm, gasp, snicker or roll their eyes.
Instead, Clint Eastwood made their day on this one.
Does he surprise us?
There were no surprises in this speech, which itself is a bit of a surprise, and disappointment. How could Romney and his writers not have even one trick up the sleeve? This absence highlights what may be the biggest weakness of Romney's speech. He is behind in this race. It is Romney, not Obama, who needs to somehow change the dynamic in some major way ... His performance was fine, or even pretty darn good by Romney standards. That is probably not good enough in his circumstances.
The key part of the article is the highlighted sentence above. "He is behind in this race." The media is certain, certain that their guy will win.
As of the time of this writing, Rasmussen has Romney up one per-cent. Gallup, after having Romney up by one for several days, has Obama up by one. If fact checkers only checked media outlets the way they do, say, Paul Ryan, Pinochios galore would be handed out here, pants would be on fire, and truth meters would be whirling.