Former rival candidates, especially those with a decent following, usually get to speak at the nominating convention to help bring their fans on board. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and even Donald Trump all led Romney in polls among Republicans particularly among the conservative base. None got to address the convention, all apparently deemed too conservative for public consumption.

Among the other conservative favorites who were missing, the most notable were kingmaker Jim DeMint, US Senator from South Carolina, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia. That's not even getting to speakers conservatives really pack rooms for, like Sarah Palin, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, and various bestselling authors and top-rated talk hosts.

The nearly 100 people who did speak from the Tampa stage muted themselves on almost every issue, in favor of vague exhortations for more jobs, lower taxes, and fewer regulations. Even vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan left all the meat from his budget plan on the cutting-room floor.

I spend a considerable amount of time reading and listening to the conservative dialogue in this country, and I assure you it had little in common with what we heard from the stage over three days in Tampa.

Union bashing, which has been a minor obsession of the right (and of Romney's 2008 convention speech, back when he was still courting conservatives), was nearly absent. Even Scott Walker, whose hard line against labor made him the subject of some of Tampa's biggest ovations, made no mention of unions in his speech. I noticed only one defense of "right to work" laws. There weren't many more mentions of any evil union bosses, nor their confiscation of workers' salaries to fund pro-Democrat campaigns.

That silence was even greater on immigration, which Romney ran more ads about during his two presidential primary runs than any other issue. Nobody at the RNC spoke of border fences. Only a very few mentioned the battle between Obama's administration and states such as Arizona and South Carolina, which have advanced laws to take over enforcement. Amnesty, deportation, English-only laws, and the way illegal immigrants drain resources; these are topics you can't get through a typical conservative fundraising letter without seeing, but you heard almost nothing about them in Tampa.

Romney even sent one of his sons out to give a speech in Spanish to an audience of conservatives who have been known to loudly complain about companies making them press 1 for English on phone calls.

Former Congressman Artur Davis was the only speaker I heard criticize Occupy Wall Street. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was the only one to mention Voter ID laws. I found one passing mention of Fast and Furious.

Foreign policy wasn't of much interest at all to the speakers, and amazingly no more than a handful mentioned Israel. Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations — which conservatives aside from the Ron Paul faction are terrified of — came up even fewer.

And what of the threat of Sharia law, the Ground Zero mosque, and the international conspiracy of Islam that, as any movement conservative can tell you, has already ruined Europe and is creeping in to do the same in America? Nothing. Almost as little about gun rights.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Mitt Romney, Politics, conservatives,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    This week, as Tom Menino gave his State of the City address, Boston politicos scrutinized him carefully for signs that might foretell an end to his 20-year reign.
  •   WHEELS ON THE BUS: MASS TRANSIT  |  January 25, 2013
    Few parts of Massachusetts government need additional spending as badly as transportation — or have as publicly visible deficiencies.
  •   RUNNING OUTSIDE THE BOX  |  January 18, 2013
    Congressman Ed Markey's announcement that he will run in the upcoming special election for US Senate was quickly followed by a choreographed show of institutional backing, from Vicki Kennedy, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and even John Kerry, holder of the soon-to-be-vacated seat Markey desires.
  •   BUDGING FORWARD  |  January 11, 2013
    The nation has just suffered through fiscal-cliff negotiations that left nobody, on either side of the aisle, happy with the results or the process.
  •   AFTER KERRY, WHO?  |  December 31, 2012
    As word circulated on Thursday, December 13, that Susan Rice was withdrawing her name from consideration for secretary of state, it was like a 2013 starting gun going off in Massachusetts.

 See all articles by: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN