|The Democrats get ready for their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.|
One down, one to go. Political conventions, that is.
Political conventions are theater and the GOP convention didn't disappoint. Before moving on to the Democratic convention, which begins Tuesday, here's a recap:
The republicans had an amazing display of Hispanic political stars on display, from Florida Sen. Marc Rubio to New Mexico Gov Susana Martiínez. All spoke without mishaps and Rubio, in particular, had one of the better speeches. Rubio's homage to his bartender father was poignant and rang true for me. I pay attention to the "servers" everywhere I go, too.
However, although I know some Hispanics who were delegates, it's hard to overlook the fact that there were few Hispanics at the convention. Just as Rubio pays attention the the "back of the room," the television audience pays attention to the convention attendees.
Recently, I was shocked to read that 0% of African Americans plan to vote for Mitt Romney. It's no secret that few Afro Americans will vote for Romney but 0%? That's a steady slide in support for the GOP ticket. Bush earned 8% and McCain earned 4%, so 0 % of an electorate that previously gave you some votes means you've really hit rock bottom with this group and need to regroup.
In moment that didn't make big, if any, headlines, Zoraida Fonalleda, a wealthy Republican from Puerto Rico, was booed after her introduction. The Puerto Rican audience and press made a big deal of it. It seemed as if a Hispanic woman was being booed because she was Hispanic. Facebook and Twitter lit up. Pilar Marrerro of La Opinion newspaper attributed the brouhaha to Ron Paul supporters, who were upset about losing delegates. But many folks didn't buy it and days later were still upset about the incident, saying Fonalleda and the GOP lied. This is a good example of how Hispanics perceived a slight and how a TV audience may see things different from the convention crowd.
Of course, the biggest upset of the convention was Clint Eastwood, whose chat with an empty chair just minutes before Romney's speech sparked dismay and derision, at least among many in the TV audience, and created an unwanted social media sensation. The better instincts of some convention goers, who looked shocked, gave way to collective pressure and soon they were clapping along with the crowd. Bad call because Eastwood was truly awful.
Romney had to follow that act and made the best of it. He started off nicely with a very personal speech, then tapered off into a campaign stump speech with no specifics. Paul Ryan, the vice presidential candidate who spoke the night before Romney, didn't impress. I was put off by his dishonesty; he also comes across as way too young for the job. Maybe not in experience, but certainly in looks.
The big takeaway: The convention lacked specifics and a touch of the common man and woman who is not a business owner.