First came the GOP's "You Built That" night, held in an arena built with government financing, in which Republicans wanted to highlight an out-of-context quote from President Obama to prove that business owners build their own businesses without the help of the government. Apparently one of the convention speakers didn't get the memo. Instead, New Mexico small business owner Phil Archuletta took the stage on Tuesday to complain he wasn't getting enough federal government contracts under Obama.
Then came former Obama supporter Artur Davis, who couldn't come up with one logical reason why he jumped ship to the GOP. In a speech filled with empty platitudes and outright lies, Davis expressed only two policy differences with Obama: on health care reform (which he knew about four years ago when he supported Obama) and welfare reform (based on a policy that was only announced last month, long after Davis had already switched parties).
Davis was followed by keynote speaker Chris Christie, who spent the night measuring the drapes for his own 2016 campaign. The New Jersey governor mentioned himself 56 times but only mentioned the Republican nominee seven times. In fact, it took Christie 16 minutes to get around to Romney. Not surprisingly, the speech was widely panned. FactCheck.org called Christie's speech a "fact-free keynote." Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called it "the most curious keynote speech I have ever heard." Even Republican strategist Alex Castellanos described the speech as a "tremendous disappointment."
Enter Ann Romney, who by most accounts, delivered the best and most important speech last night. But all that good will disappeared today after she spoke at a Latino Coalition Luncheon. Mrs. Romney told the crowd at the lunch that Latinos "are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama." Although her husband trails the president by a huge 2-1 margin among Hispanics, Mrs. Romney insisted her husband's message would "resonate well" if Latinos "could just get past some of their biases."
And to make matters worse, the candidate himself, for some reason, left Tampa and flew to a campaign event in faraway Indiana, where he began his speech by making a joke about Hurricane Isaac.
No wonder Romney is still struggling to close the deal with his own base. In a new poll released today, nearly one out of five Republicans still has an unfavorable view of Romney. And that's what his own party thinks of him. It's almost as if everyone in Tampa expects Romney to lose, so they're using the convention as a platform for their own agendas.
The good news for Romney is that Paul Ryan will most likely fire up the crowd tonight and give them what they want. The bad news for Romney is that Paul Ryan will most likely fire up the crowd tonight and give them what they want.
Keith Boykin is a New York Times best-selling author and former White House aide to President Clinton. He attended Harvard Law School with President Barack Obama and currently serves as a TV political commentator. He writes political commentary for BET.com each week.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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