Convention draws national spotlight
John Cameron | Friday, August 31, 2012
American eyes are trained on Tampa, Fla., today as the Republican National Convention comes to a close. The convention, traditionally held several months before presidential elections, marks the official nomination of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan for the party’s ticket this fall.
Sophomore Matthew Metzinger, secretary for Notre Dame’s College Republicans, said the convention was not only about finalizing the Romney-Ryan nomination, but also uniting party support.
“National conventions are a great way to unite the party in the final two months leading up to Election Day,” Metzinger said. “Conventions allow the party to show the American people why their candidate should be president … in a manner that covers the important issues.”
The most important issue in this election should be the economy, Metzinger said. While much of the recent media coverage of the race has focused on social programs and issues such as Medicare, he said the convention was an opportunity to refocus.
“Without a doubt, the economy should be the main focus of this presidential election,” he said. “President [Barack] Obama has failed to bring the country out of the economic pit in which we have become entrapped as he promised.”
College Democrats president and senior Camille Suarez said the party’s focus on economic issues was intended to incite anger rather than to facilitate positive dialogue.
“The [Gov. Chris Christie] and Ryan speeches definitely reoriented the focus back to the economy,” Suarez said. “From the speeches I’ve heard, it appears that the main goal of the convention is to make the public upset with the state of the economy and vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket in November.”
Metzinger said both presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Ryan successfully framed the dialogue on economic issues at the convention.
“Ryan’s speech illustrated, with certainty, that he and Mitt Romney have the business experience and financial knowledge to bring the United States out of this economic mess,” Metzinger said. “Ryan’s speech focused on the necessity of job creation, especially for college students, who he said are ‘ready to use their gifts and get moving in life.'”
Suarez said Ryan’s speech was somewhat of a success, but she claimed his statements were not all factual.
“I think Ryan’s speech served as a successful introduction speech. … We all have a better idea of who Paul Ryan is,” she said.
Ryan wasn’t the only convention speaker who made an impact. Party members such as Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio of Fla., Gov. Nikki Haley of S.C. and Mayor Mia Love of Sarasota Springs, Utah, all appealed to a broader constituency, Metzinger said.
“The selection of speakers for this year’s convention illustrates the GOP’s desire to reach out to a younger, more diverse demographic,” he said. “Many of the speakers are up-and-coming members of the Republican Party. By choosing these speakers, along with party veterans … the Republican Party is proving itself as a united political party that can, and will, work for all people.”
Metzinger said a Notre Dame grad’s speech offered a credible testament to Romney’s viability as a candidate.
“I also thought former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an ND alumna, delivered a powerful speech in which she showed that Mitt Romney will be a more-than-capable commander in chief in terms of national security and world relations, issues that are not receiving the coverage they probably deserve,” he said.
Metzinger said the convention leaves the GOP well positioned for November.
“I definitely think this convention will have a positive impact on the Republicans’ chances of winning the White House this November, and many other congressional elections, too,” he said. “This great party has a wealth of innovative thinkers and strong leaders, many of whom have spoken at this convention.”