In a presidential race, Americans look for the strongest candidate with an iron will capable of making the tough calls and not breaking under the monumental stress put upon the POTUS. For this reason, the candidates tend to show only their overtly masculine side, forsaking their softer, family man sides. For this reason, in recent years candidates have relied on their wives to bring home to the American electorate the fact that behind the visade of stone faced politician there is a human being. It is the job of the wives to humanize their husbands and make them relatable so that people feel they are voting for their neighbor, not a Christian Grey type.
First up, Ann Romney. I will concede, I am completely biased towards this little gem. She is so precious, raised 5 smokin' hot sons (Do all Mormons look like this??) and holds herself at all times with amazing grace despite her battle with MS. Her speech targeted the American woman and family who can often times feel lost in the mix of politics. Her address was deliberately devoid of policy and targeted the female voters which the democrats have worked overtime to bring in. The liberal agenda has pushed the allegation that Republicans essentially want women dying in the streets as they succumb to various afflictions of their uteruses (Uteri? I don't know the plural form of uterus. I hate that word). Obviously, this is not the case Sandra Fluke, but it has painted the GOP as being at war against women and it was the job of Ann Romney to be like "Ummmmmmm no". And that she did. Unlike Michelle Obama, this was for all intents and purposes Ann's first time speaking to the American people. She got up on that stage in her Oscar de la Renta frock and nailed it. Obviously, her technique could use some tweaking as she is not the wordsmith that Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, her husband and even I'll concede the Obama's are, but she did really well. Her mission going in: Humanize Mitt, showcase him as a capable leader worthy of the position and show women that the GOP is not against them. I can honestly say I believe from the reception she received both from voters and critics alike, she did succeed. A full transcript of her speech can be read here. (As far as the GOP "war on women", I have A LOT to say and will cover that in a later post. I despise that piecey bob having woman for having the nerve to say she's standing up for my rights. I don't feel victimized by the GOP one bit as a woman do not believe she represents me or my rights one bit. But that's for another day.)
Then there's Michelle... Michelle, Michelle, Michelle. NOT a fan. Much like her husband, I perceive her to be opportunistic and the epitome of a nihilist. However, the woman can speak. Chalk it up to her having been a lawyer or the great deal of practice she's had since entering the White House, but her public speaking skills are on par with her deplorable husband's. Her target has always been the family unit and women, but in this particular speech more than just targeting those key demographics, Obama spoke to the men as the heads of struggling families. She spoke of the struggles of her own father and the fact that her husband and the father of her children understand the position of the average American, whereas Romney does not. Her speech was an amalgamation of personal anecdotes with the purpose of portraying the Obamas as a typical American family who understands the heartaches of "the middle class". Despite keeping her speech apolitical, she was able to score points by delivering a message with strong political undercurrents. The gist was that the American family is working hard and deserves a government that understands them and that most people on government assistance aren't lazy degenerates. Her assertion however that her and her husband were average people who dealt with being overwhelmed by student loans and various other problems afflicting the middle class was a touch far fetched. It's hard for most Americans to wax emotional over the woes of a Columbia/ Harvard Law graduate and his wife a Princeton/ Harvard Law graduate.
Final tally: While both ladies did exceptionally well in regards to putting forth the message their husbands and subsequent parties counted on them for, I'd have to say it's a tie. Ann Romney was tasked with bringing to the attention of the voters the side of Mitt that she knows, loves and depends on while Michelle was tasked with making the case for her husband to be reinstated to a post that, let's be honest, he fouled up in round one. Did either pull into their side independents? Maybe, but speakers such as Marco Rubio and Bill Clinton were under much more pressure to do that while the first ladies were more counted on to solidify and inspire the parties base of voters.
First, I was overwhelmed by the irony that not long before Bill Clinton took the stage for his 50 minute speech (which was arguably the best of his career) that Sandra Fluke, the Patron Saint of feminism and a woman's right to not be exploited by men, was speaking. Did you ever happen to read into the specifics of the Monica Lewinsky scandal? I was 3-5 when it happened and 6 when the story became public, so while I'd heard of it and knew the basics, the gory details were a little much. I'll never look at a cigar the same way... Anyways, Clinton is a gifted speaker and by all accounts one of the most charismatic people you could ever meet so obviously his speech was going to be convincing whichever way he decided to go with it. Despite his former remarks on Obama's inexperience and tendency to flip-flop, without Obama his wife is out of a job until she gears up for her inevitable 2016 run. An idle wife might start caring about what I am sure is still a philandering husband, so Clinton got up and whole heartedly endorsed a man he had previously cast aspersions on. Frequently going off the cuff and speaking in earnest to a crowd that ate up his every word, Clinton in my personal opinion garnered a great deal of independent voters. Harkening back to the boom of the 1990's, Clinton strongly insinuated that were the American people to reelect Barack Obama, they would be seeing equal prosperity in the very near future. The crowd went wild.
The goal of the RNC was essentially to pick up more voters in the independents and Ron Paul supporters who are, for all intents and purposes, the prodigal son of the GOP. The goal of the DNC was to convince the American voter base that Obama did the best he could in the time he had, given the circumstances, and that for his promises of prosperity to materialize he needs another term. Did either party accomplish their goals? Only time will tell, but both put up the good fight. As for this evening's speech, from the man who has come to be known as one of the modern great orators, the nation awaits with bated breath as both detractors and those who have drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid of the Obama campaign tune in to see if Obama can reprise his former popularity.