Mitt Romney’s campaign wanted the stage for the Republican convention to convey warmth and openness, just like Oprah. Add to that endorsements from a devoted wife, a former Secretary of State and a Hollywood star and his likeability was improved. Watch this really short New York Times video on how it was done:
Does Mitt Romney stand for empathy? And is he the devoted family man his 63 year old wife Ann fondly talks about? Impossible to know for the majority of voters. But that’s what the design studio that also creates sleek sets for Oprah Winfrey succeeded in conveying.
Slick packaging is what it’s all about
Kissing and hugging husband and wife and eye candy the audience can consume. Romney’s advisers carefully scripted and staged the set and program for the Republican National Convention with the aim of accomplishing what a year of campaigning has failed to do and make Mitt Romney appear like God’s gift to America. Even to the extent of embracing his Mormon faith.
According to a Reuters poll taken after the convention his likeability increased, at least temporarily, among US voters. But do this kind of slickness really make the majority of people vote for a candidate? According to the poll so far it has not. Do videos of him playing with his five sons make him the perfect president of the United States? Another odd aspect was that as a rule people are supportive of members of their family battling diseases. If Mitt Romney had not been he would be an exception to the rule. But considering that US voters did not like him conveying such messages do make sense.
Associations are part of the branding. Romney hence keeps on mentioning Ronald Reagan to be associated with the still hugely popular former president. George W. Bush however, is rarely mentioned and when he is it’s in relation to tax cuts.
Endorsements are a part of promoting a candidate. But I am not sure why Condoleeza Rice was the only Bush administration official that talked at the convention? Presumably because of all Romney’s foreign policy missteps? But having Cory give a speech is still odd considering that she and Romney have completely different ideas regarding many aspects of foreign policy.
Saying the right things is also important. “A free world is a more peaceful world,” Romney argued at the convention, and added, “This is the bipartisan foreign-policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.” Interesting considering that Truman is the only president ever to have used the atomic bomb. Besides I am not sure what those words really mean? But maybe it doesn’t matter since the audience cheered loudly.
Sold just like candy
All politicians world-wide are branded and promoted like a new hair gel or Hollywood star. Romney is just a recent example of the huge amount of money and effort being used to get a politician elected. It goes on all over the world but in the US it’s a bit more showbiz and slick than elsewhere. It’s not a coincidence that Clint Eastwood was a guest star.
Maybe Samuel Popkin, political scientist and author of “The Candidate: What it Takes to Win – and Hold – The White House”, is right when he says that Americans don’t need to love Romney, only be comfortable with him and believe he knows what he is doing.
Will the convention go down in history as the moment Mitt Romney started his march to The White House? A multitude of opinions have been voiced. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Well, we will find out. If Mitt Romney’s image makers succeed in making people not only like him more but vote for him, he may become the next president of The United States.
Does this kind of branding and promotion really lay out the arguments for why Barack Obama has failed and why Mitt Romney would do better? Or is it over the top to have Condoleeza Rice state that Romney/Ryan is the answer to America’s problems? Not least since she and Romney have different stands when it comes to controversial issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Doesn’t it matter that Romney, long after the end of the cold war, still regards Russia as the biggest geopolitical problem facing the US? Do we really want our politicians to be branded and promoted like talk show hosts? Isn’t it dangerous to concentrate on superficial issues instead of what really matters to America and the world?
Video: The New York Times – You Tube