Daily Archives: August 29, 2012

Alan Beattie

Much wonkery is going on as academics pore over the Republican platform for November’s elections, adopted by the convention on Tuesday.

Given Mitt Romney’s sharpish turn towards China-bashing on the campaign trail, the section on trade is worth a detailed look. Scott Lincicome does a thorough number on it here - but I’m also thinking, cynically, about how much of the frothy combative stuff a Romney presidency (and a Republican Congress) could execute in the least trade-warmongering fashion possible – i.e. keep to the letter but not the spirit of the platform. Read more

Edward Luce

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If there was a word observers most repeated about Barack Obama’s convention in Denver four years ago, it was “soaring”. For Mitt Romney in 2012 it would be “humanising” – making him seem like he is flesh and blood is the key deliverable from the Tampa convention.

By that yardstick there is still some way to go.

On Tuesday night, Ann Romney cleared the low bar the media sets for political spouses by bringing to life a husband who, after 43 years of marriage, “still makes me laugh”. She gave a plausible description of a man who would outwork any other applicant for the job. “He will not fail,” she said to the biggest applause line of the night.

Most tellingly, she described a generous philanthropist who did not like people to know about how generous he is: “This is important. I want you to hear what I am going to say,” she said, lowering her voice. “Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he helps others, because he sees it as a privilege, not as a political talking point.”

Leaving aside the fact that Mr Romney has authorised others to talk about his charitable record (from whom we will hear during the rest of the convention), his wife’s words are not as straightforward as they seem. They contain two messages that Mr Romney will be hoping avoid further scrutiny. Read more

The FT’s Anna Fifield took this photo in Tampa yesterday, of delegate Todd Tiahrt, a former congressman who attended the Republican convention dressed as Wyatt Earp. Apparently, fancy dress is not all that unusual at US political conventions. Check out our FT.com slideshow which includes a few other snaps of costumed delegates, as well as some general scenes from this week’s Florida shindig, as photographed by Anna and Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

These are the pieces that kept us reading today:

 

Gideon Rachman

Ann Romney on stage during the Republican National Convention on August 28 (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The convention speech by the candidate’s wife is a strange – and not altogether savoury – American political tradition. I come from Britain, where all that is expected of a leader’s wife at the party conference is to not look too bored and to clap in the right places. But here in the US, the candidate’s wife has to take to the rostrum at the party convention.

She has two jobs. First, she is auditioning for the role of first lady. Second, she has to persuade voters that her husband is not just a suitable president – but a marvellous human-being.

Ann Romney’s task last night was particularly onerous. She is not in perfect health: she has multiple sclerosis and has had breast cancer. And Mitt Romney is a tough sell: remote, robotic, chilly. Read more