Students respond to GOP Convention
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 22:09
After the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa was cancelled due to Hurricane Isaac, some professors and students believe it could lead to potential losses to Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s publicity.
Though the storm posed a significant threat to the people in the area, junior and political science major Mat Marshall said the convention is too important to lose a single day of it.
“I can understand why they did, I don’t know that it was necessarily good idea,” Marshall said. “The convention is a huge media opportunity, and it’s a huge risk to give up any night of that.”
It is not the first time a storm has impacted the RNC. According to Bill Koenig of World Watch Daily, Hurricane Frances forced many politicians to miss the 2004 Convention and four years later, Hurricane Gustav forced Republicans to cancel the first day of the 2008 convention.
Jason Mycoff, a political science professor said the purpose of the convention is to direct the Republican Party’s platform and promote their message.
“Mitt Romney’s team scripted everything,” Mycoff said. “They get to decide where people sit, they get to decide who’s going to speak, what they’re going to speak about, the entire convention is pretty much scripted advertisement for the nominee.”
According to Mycoff, the Convention has become an advertising mechanism because the nominee gets to control their message to the voters. Mycoff, who was interviewed before the convention began, said the Republicans would try to deflect criticism from Barack Obama and attempt to humanize their candidates.
Senior and American history major, Justin Heanue said he believes the Convention was a success for the Republican Party with exception to the last day where Clint Eastwood took the stage for an unscripted speech.
Eastwood’s speech was heavily criticized, but Heanue said the positive connotations of bringing a Hollywood star to the stage outweighed the bad publicity.
“I thought it was kind of a bad play by them,” Heanue said. “But I think it was important to have him on to show that not all of the state of California and Hollywood is consumed by liberals. It’s about rebranding the conservative image.”
Heanue said he thought the first day’s cancellation had a positive effect on the convention and provided more excitement for viewers.
“It concentrated it so that you had Rubio and Romney speaking on the same night,” Heanue said. “It made it a little bit more digestible for say just your average person watching it.”
As far as Romney’s campaign is concerned, Marshall believes there is room for improvement.
“I think that it’s actually been a pretty poorly managed campaign,” Marshall said. “All things considered the Republican nominee should really be running away with the election right now.”
Emmanuel Balogun, a graduate student in the Political Science Department said Romney’s campaign has rejuvenated the Republican Party.
“His [Romney] selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate has helped to energize the Republican base as well,” he said. “Romney has had trouble staying out of his own way by engaging with Democrats on issues that divert the attention from the Romney campaign's platform.”
Balogun said Romney needs to play to his strength, which is the economy.
“The unemployment and job growth data is in his favor,” he said. “Therefore, he will need to work harder and come up with concrete proposals to convey his message to the American people.”
Senior and political science major, Jeremy Minnich said Romney has come up with solid initiatives in order to ground his campaign.
“I liked the fact that they’re actually running on real ideas,” Minnich said. “In comparison to the way Obama seems to be running a campaign which is nothing other than an attack on Mitt Romney.”
However, Minnich also said Romney has some trust issues with the American people and needed to try to use the convention in a way to regain an honorable image.
“I thought the convention was an opportunity for Romney to try to repaint himself,” he said. “In terms of how effective that was, I don’t think he did that great of a job in doing it. I feel like most people still don’t really know if they can trust him.”
Sophomore and President of College Republicans, Liz Catt said one positive aspect of the Republican National Convention was their ability to showcase economic issues.
“They presented a strong clear message about what exactly their plans are to improve the financial positions of Americans,” she said.
However, Catt said another important aspect to the convention was Ann Romney’s ability to make her husband more relatable to the general public.
“A lot of people see Romney as this automaton, robotic figure in politics,” Catt said. “Ann Romney was able to humanize him, which is really important for voters to see.”