This isn’t 2008 any more. The conservative movement, aware of the dire threat to America’s future, is unifying this time. Their awareness is spreading to independents, as Steve Bannon’s devastating indictment of the Obama presidency, The Hope & The Change, produced by Citizens United, shows. That means that Barack Obama is in trouble. The bounce the Romney/Ryan team should get from this week’s Republican National Convention should be very real, no matter how the press spins it for Obama.
The RNC isn’t going to waste any time gunning their engine; the second night, the Convention features a screening of Bannon’s The Hope & The Change, which features the personal stories of 40 Democrats and independents who supported President Obama in 2008, but now want nothing to do with him. (Monday night, Bannon and Citizens United are slated to show one of the late Andrew Breitbart’s great passion projects, Occupy Unmasked, as well.)
Another salient fact to note is that Paul Ryan, who is garnering stunning positives in surveys being conducted, is still largely an unknown to the general citizenry. Just as Obama was a fresh face in 2008, Ryan has the glow of someone who hasn’t been diminished by excessive exposure to the public. And he’s a politician who grows on people with time.
A third factor to consider is the Ann Romney effect. Her story is a compelling one; her triumph over severe personal health will resonate with millions of mothers who have faced or fear such trials. The RNC’s decision to move Ann Romney’s slot at the convention into TV primetime is a wise one.
And don’t underestimate Mitt Romney himself. Voters may not have warmed up to him, but none will deny that he is a highly intelligent man. When was the last time the general perception was that both names on the Republican ticket were smarter than their counterparts on the Democratic side? As Bannon’s film makes abundantly clear, voters want someone who is smart enough to fix things, and they’re tired of someone whose agenda makes Americans more dependent, not less.
History shows conventions can give the nominee a strong bounce. Even the McCain campaign got an eleven-point bounce after the RNC in 2008. That bounce didn’t last thanks to the McCain campaign’s incompetence and the mishandled economic collapse. But those two elements are not present this time.
The positives that the Republicans gain from the RNC are not going to be illusory. What is needed is the confidence that conservatives can unite and win over those who are undecided. That should be a challenge the RNC can meet with aplomb.