RNC 2012: A grown-up convention for grown-up times

The message to an anxious, unsettled, pessimistic country was a realistic and optimistic one, summed up simply by Paul Ryan: “We can do this.”

Along the way, Republicans delivered an indictment of President Obama that was as devastating as it was deft. Importantly, the criticisms conveyed just the right tone: disappointment rather than anger. Speaker after speaker essentially said Barack Obama may have inspired you, but he hasn’t delivered for you. The sentiment was captured perfectly in Paul Ryan’s most memorable line, a line I heard repeated in offices across my hometown, the college town of Austin, Texas, the next day: “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.” …

Republicans leave Tampa enthusiastic and optimistic that we can win. The tone of the convention should help our party’s appeal to women. Both Ryan and Romney paid respectful tribute to the important impact their mothers had on their lives. Ann Romney spoke powerfully about a loving husband and father who, above all, is a good, decent and humble man: “Mitt Romney doesn’t like to talk about how he’s helped others. He sees it as a privilege, not a talking point.” Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice delivered a powerful speech that was both intelligent and visionary: “We cannot be reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind.” The convention was a great showcase for an impressive new generation of leaders, from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to Florida Senator Marco Rubio.