Saying Goodbye to Tampa

Saying Goodbye to Tampa

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


Why is it that in trying to move on from the Tampa convention the same observations made on day one are still there as the gavel came down on the gathering?  Mitt Romney did fine last night. He looked happy, human, and determined; but he still appeared awkward except to the party loyalists.  There was more warmth here than George Bush senior ever exuded, but Bush had a team that masterfully beat up Michael Dukakis in 1988  That Bush team ran a ruthless campaign almost without mistakes and this Romney group has yet to show they are ready for prime time. Certainly someone’s head must have rolled last night after allowing the disgraceful Clint Eastwood performance. Dirty Harry embarrassed not only President Obama but he demeaned the institution of the American presidency as well.

It needs repeating again that this convention barely touched on foreign policy and national security issues. They may well have decided to run on the economy and certainly not on the polarizing social agenda, but barely to mention the challenges facing America outside our borders was stark. There is a clear suggestion here that this convention wants to move the country in a more insular, inward, isolationist direction. 

Finally, there will be a moment when all the rhetoric will stop to be replaced by facts. There will be a speech or the debates or maybe even a press conference where Romney will be subjected to an open forum of questions. This ultimately will be his test and will determine whether the

Many Obama supporters believe that the President has not been as effective as they had hoped he would be or they expected. Few people, however, question whether he has the wherewithal to manage the job; whether he can face down friend and foe and assert the prestige of the office of the American Presidency. Mitt Romney may be a first rate business executive, but making public policy at the highest level is very different than being a CEO. Being a Governor is not the same as being President. (Governors, for example, have no option but to balance the budget their budgets.) Obama did not have the experience of being a CEO or a Governor when he entered the White House, but he exuded a sense that he could handle the job. This well may be the ultimate test for Romney as he tries to convince this precise set of voters to believe in him now as they did in Obama in 2008.

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