Right behind them is The Hate: We’ve noticed something at national conventions:
When wives of nominees make their speeches, they almost always say good things about their nominee-husbands. Ann Romney played it that way last night, in a speech which also seemed to be shaped in response to Todd Akin.
How did Ann Romney come across? Such matters are highly subjective. At Salon, Willa Paskin seems to say that she came across fine.
As a general matter, we would tend to agree:
PASKIN (8/29/12): Ann Romney took to the stage in a drop-dead red ensemble, accentuated by red nail polish, red lipstick, gold earrings and some dagger-like eyelashes, in front of a sea of “I love Ann” and the hopelessly lackluster “Mitt!” signs. She looked smashing, and opened warm and welcoming. “Tonight I want to talk to you,” she started, all well-meaning intimacy—pull over your chair and snuggle up. Romney’s nervousness doesn’t scan as such, instead manifesting itself as a sort of giggly energy, a tendency to drag out her last syllable and put it over big—like Oprah taught her to—and follow it up with a cute double laugh. “This is going to be so excitttting!” she began. “I love you womeeeennn!” she followed. “I have been all across this country and I know a lot of you guuuuys!” she said. “Michigaaann!” she got carried away.How did Ann Romney come across to the nation’s voters? We have no idea. Some parts of the “Up with Women” stuff seemed pretty hokey to us—but the public tends to be a bit hokey. Plainly, she looked sensational. To us she seemed largely sincere.
Romney seemed to be enjoying herself, her arms freely swinging, her fingers pointing (none of the dreaded thumb-over-fist-no-point for her), smiling often and big, modulating her voice to express sympathy and concern. She played both to the crowd—“Those are my favorite fans down there,” she ad-libbed during some particularly raucous applause, though it’s probably best not to call them fans—and to the camera, looking directly at it every time she put over one of her more serious lines. “You can trust Mitt,” she said, with as much sincere, direct eye contact as it’s possible for human eyeballs to muster.
It’s gross that a potential first lady, and not even a Republican female politician, was made to carry the water on the GOP’s ongoing, all too real trouble with women—but you use what you have. (South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hayley, speaking before prime time, got to talk about union busting and voter ID.) Todd Akin is probably largely to blame for the fact that even Mitt Romney’s wife got halfway through her speech without talking much about him, but the Republicans pretty much needed someone to say “I love you womeeeennn”—like, really, just to get it on the record, even if it’s not true—and Ann at least had the virtue of being able to say it and seem semi-plausible while doing so.
That isn’t how she seemed on MSNBC, where Joy-Ann Reid really staged a show during the midnight hour. Speaking with Chris Matthews, Reid invented several new facts about Ann Romney. She also gave us a trip inside the movie theater of her own mind, a wide-screen theater which was stuffed with free associations last night.
Perhaps it was the late hour.
The Dumb and The Crazy are on the prowl; as our politics falls apart, they aren’t restricting themselves to the people in just one party. And after The Dumb and The Crazy show up, we’re one step away from The Hate.
Tomorrow, we’ll run through Reid’s string of associations and factual errors. The Dumb is eager to join our tribe.
In our view, progressive interests can’t be served by The Dumb or The Hate. Not even by The Foolish.