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Opinion: Columnists

A GOP Convention That Hit Every Mark

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The chair, the bar, the poster, the oceans and the rose.

These are the sharpest hooks put into the voters' minds during the GOP convention last week.

The chair of course was Clint Eastwood's prop.  Though much disparaged by the Left, the American icon scored a huge number of direct hits on the president, including the most memorable of all: "We own this country...Politicians are employees...When somebody doesn't do the job, you've got to let them go."  Spoken by a made who has made the most extraordinary series of movies --Clint did build them-- this was a huge blow to the president.

The Examiner's Michael Barone, a guest on my show Friday, admitted that while he had at first had a negative view of Eastwood's appearance, he thought more and more that this excerpt was directed to all the Obama voters from 2008 who don't want to abandon the president because he is the first African-American president.  Eastwood was handing out permission slips, Barone concluded, and the damage done to the president was great because the fellow saying it has the authority and the standing to say the hard thing to swing voters who might not care a whit for what GOP electeds argue.



The bar is what Marco Rubio's father worked behind so that Rubio could one day stand behind the podium.  Rubio, in English and Spanish, was speaking to every hard working parent out there working two jobs or long hours at one so that their kids can get ahead. Parents worried about the slow grinding-to-a-halt of opportunity.

The fading poster in the childhood bedroom of the unemployed college graduate was Paul Ryan's direct hit on the president, a slashing attack that stings because every kid in every such room knows the truth of the situation, as do their parents and the parents of kids in college now who worry about the same economic reality.

"The rise of the oceans" section of Mitt Romney's acceptance speech was wonderfully delivered, with a professional's pause and a deft contrasting promise: "I want to help you and your families.". Not modest, but very different. Romney doesn't want the Nobel Peace Prize but the confidence of Americans who can judge his sincerity in light of the moving testimonies to Romney's service to the needy and the hurting over the decades.  Again, parents and young people had to be encouraged by Romney's focus on them.

Everyone with a heart had to be touched by Romney's story of the roses his father left his mother until the day he died, and how his mother went searching for his father when the rose was not there.  I have interviewed Romney scores of times, wrote a book about him, talked to many of his family. I'd never heard that, and conclude it is hard for the former Massachusetts governor to discuss, as was evident by the emotion in his voice.

But like the clips of George Romney in the introductory film --square jawed and noting that he came from tough circumstances and knows what that means-- the unveiling of the story like so much else was fresh and powerful, kept back for that night, for the moment when most necessary to the victory the country needs.

Romney's speech wasn't perfect but it was masterful, and the convention a wonderfully orchestrated crescendo that, despite the uncertainty brought about by Isaac, accomplished every mission and boxed in the Democrats who will find that their every message has been anticipated and blunted if not made absurd.

A near-perfect start to a campaign of incredible importance.

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