SO... WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN?
Did Mitt Romney and the Republicans actually
do what they had to do at the GOP's Convention?
Saturday, September 1, 2012
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
A couple days ago- in fact, on the very morning my piece about the events of Day 3 of this most recently completed Republican National Convention had been posted to The Green Papers, I received an e-mail from a user of this website- who happens to be a supporter of President Obama- in which I was told that I was, in my summaries of Convention events this past week, allowing many- indeed, most- statements by the speakers before that gathering which- in her own opinion- were spurious to go by without any comment from me. I immediately assured her that I would be handling the events of the Democratic National Convention next week in the same way in which I had handled what had taken place at that of the Republicans.
However, this particular e-mailer has- by her own account- only known about the existence of The Green Papers for a little over a year now and, after I had replied to her, it occurred to me that- although this website has been online, continuously, for 13 full years (as of late in the very month at the start of which this is being posted) and we occasionally tend to enjoy a certain "vogue", especially during the year leading up to a given Presidential Election- this does not mean that everyone who might peruse The Green Papers nowadays has necessarily known of its existence since all that time ago (or a year ago, a month ago-- or even an hour ago!).
So I hope- as I also trust- that the gentle reader who knows (or, at the very least, can sense without being told) that which I am about to write immediately below will forgive me as I use the first portion of this particular piece to make more than a few observations about my own purposes here for the benefit of those who haven't had a long connection with The Green Papers:
I, above all else, intend my day-by-day summaries of the happenings and proceedings at Major Party National Conventions to be "stand alone" reports of same- reports that, or so I hope, might even be read years- or even decades- later by anyone who might be interested in a more general account of what had transpired at these gatherings, now going back to those of 2000 (indeed, the interested reader can- right now- read my similar summations of each day of the Republican Convention and Democratic Convention held in that very year- as well as those of 2004 and 2008 via similar links to those provided in this sentence found on this website)- nothing more, but also nothing less!
In this regard, these day-by-day summaries of now 7 different National Conventions (the upcoming Democratic National Convention will, of course, be # 8) are, in their most basic essence, merely how one 'John Q. American Citizen' (this 'John Q. American Citizen: Richard E. Berg-Andersson) has perceived these as they have happened.
The very germ of my intention goes back to well before The Green Papers first went online- indeed, long before I even knew what "online" meant (or, at least, back to when "on line" was principally what I found myself waiting within while, say, in a cashier's lane or at a ticket booth): certainly long before I would ever hear of the Internet!
In 1984, the national over-the-air TV networks (cable television news was at least in its toddlerhood- if not still in its infancy- in the mid-1980s and, besides, I didn't even have cable in my apartment in New York City's Borough of Queens of that time) were already scaling back their coverage from the "gavel-to-gavel" style that went all the way back to the infancy of "chain" (as networks were called back in the 1920s) Radio Broadcasting just at the time I myself was first able to even watch such gavel-to-gavel coverage (political "junkie" that I was, and am, I would schedule time off from work in order to watch the gavel-to-gavel coverage of both Major Party Conventions then available- even to those of us without cable TV- over my local Public Broadcasting Service stations that particular year).
I actually found myself well enjoying the "delegate's eye view" I got, while sitting in my own living room, as a result- so free from the various and sundry "talking heads" discussing, for example, what someone might later be saying at each gathering (and, thereby, so analyzing the import of speakers' words well before the speakers themselves had actually publicly uttered them!) but I also noticed something else: for 1984 was really the first year that Major Party National Conventions really began playing to the (now truncated) TV schedule. Indeed, later- in 1988, 1992 and 1996- I would come to well discern the very reason certain speakers addressed the Convention in late Prime Time on the American East Coast while others (usually not within the mainstream of the Party and/or trumpeting an often controversial issue or faction the leadership cadre of the Party would rather not have the average American voter so strongly associate with the Party come November) were relegated to much earlier in the evening or mid-to-late afternoon (especially by 1996, the year of the first Conventions since Pat Buchanan made his [in?]famous "culture wars" speech before the 1992 Republican Convention [yes, Bill Clinton defeated an incumbent George Bush 41 largely because 'It's the Economy, Stupid!' but Buchanan being so visible certainly didn't help the GOP cause that year]) .
Indeed, by the time of the Conventions held during the Presidential Election cycles of the 1990s, a retired General (and future Secretary of State) Colin Powell or a now-late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy might well get a speaking slot at 10:15 PM EDT, while the Republican congressional candidate (perhaps a "sacrificial lamb" running in a still-heavily Democratic district in the Midwest or Border South of that time) strongly urging that Jesus Christ be recognized, by Law, as the Savior of the United States of America or a Democratic minor officeholder expressing the views of those described as Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transgender would each be lucky- indeed- to not merely be relegated to air time around, say, 5:15 PM EDT... and there was a reason for all this!
Thus- when *I* first got the opportunity to write up these day-by-day summaries of National Convention events and activities for The Green Papers- I resolved to so deal with said Conventions in their entirety and in a manner in which the ordinary person who might not- or even, due to the everyday responsibilities of work and/or home, be able to- see that which was not being touted, by those same Parties, on Prime Time television could at least, should they choose to, come to know what all the elements of a given Major Party (not just those being more "promo'd" by the Parties themselves) might be saying before that Party's quadrennial National Convention.
But I also knew that I didn't wish to (nor would I ever really have the time to [!]) simply replicate that which would be published, many months later, as the Official Journal of a given National Convention: simply put, whatever I might write about Major Party National Convention would have to be edited. So I decided- right off the bat- to merely try and express the "flavor" (the political and ideological "flavor", that is) of each day's Convention proceedings and, as a result, I would tend to more concentrate on the political statements (meaning: defense of the Party, its ideas or its National Ticket and/or opposition to the other Major Party, its ideas and its National Ticket) made by the speakers- no matter how strident and angry or lofty and high-sounding; at the same time, I also decided not to necessarily and in context- in effect, in "real time"- comment on (that is: express my own considered opinion of) any of those statements that might well end up having a potentially problematic political impact (or, perhaps, not!) for the Party and its National Ticket- whether imminently or "down the road"- unless my own immediate impressions of same might be so strong that I simply had to note them as part and parcel of the day-by-day summary itself (hence, for example, my having noted how, to me, the film 'Tribute to Ron Paul' that started off the main program of Day 3 at this most recent Convention- in my summary of that day's events as posted- seemed to have more than a little of a "let's just get it over with" feel, one reinforced by the scheduling of Congressman Paul's own son- Senator Rand Paul- to speak almost a half hour thereafter, already well removed from the Convention's own tribute to Congressman Ron Paul): however, please note I do not do such a thing all that often!
In addition to all this, I decided not to even attempt to fact-check each and every statement, claim or derisive comment made about the Party's opponents or their policies at that Party's Convention-- others "out there", whether in the Mainstream Media or in the darkest reaches of the Blogosphere, can do such a thing far better (or not!-- depending on the source) than *I* ever could. So, for instance, I have no earthly idea whether or not- as one of the speakers before this year's GOP Convention claimed- 92% of all jobs lost during Barack Obama's Presidency were once held by women (to start with, what does "jobs lost" even mean? Are jobs "found" during the same period factored in? Or might this, instead, be all too much like trying to talk about Population Growth while only considering the Death Rate without paying any attention at all to the Birth Rate?) and I also have no clue as to whether or not (another claim made at this same Convention) half the small businesses in America are not hiring because of "Regulatory Uncertainty" (yes, there is a report out there that says so-- but there are also other reports which beg to differ, either about the number of such businesses not hiring and/or exactly why they might not be hiring).
In the main, then, I simply try and let the "voice", as it were, of the speakers from whom I have quoted but excerpts of what they might have said come through and let whatever data they might include (where it seems germane to the political/ideological timbre and tone of their own comments) come through, too. But I certainly don't claim to be better at so redacting an entire day's Convention activities- or fairer in my having done so- than anyone else!
I also don't much concern myself- in these Convention summary pieces of mine- with even factual discrepancies: for instance, I didn't immediately question- nor did I even quote from [!]- actress and talk show host Janine Turner's reference to Benjamin Franklin's famous retort to an inquiring woman that the Constitutional Convention had created "a Republic, if you can keep it": Dr. Franklin's quote itself is considered to be genuine (as it emanates from a credible, contemporary source) but the circumstances of its utterance were not exactly as Ms. Turner described them at the GOP Convention just completed-- no, it was not just as Franklin was leaving Independence Hall right after the original text of the Constitution of the United States had just been approved (on 17 September of that year) and the very echoes of the goings-on at the Federal Convention of 1787 within that historic building were only still dying: rather, it was in something of a receiving line at a social event the next day when a "Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia" (or so the Journal of Maryland Constitutional Convention delegate James McHenry- that "credible, contemporary source" to which I earlier referred- records this lady's name) asked, of Franklin, "Well, Doctor. What have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?" (indeed, had it not been for the very diligence of Mr. McHenry as a diarist we today would not even know of this event or the quote from Franklin that makes it most noteworthy!)
Now, I am not at all here suggesting that Ms. Turner does not know her American History-- clearly she does (as any fair-minded reader of those comments of hers I did quote in my own summary of Day 2 of this most recent Convention can so plainly see)! I am only here suggesting (in using this one, frankly minor, snippet from her overall presentation in order to better illustrate this point) that there tends to be much... well... hyperbole (historical or otherwise) in many a speech given before these National Conventions... and neither Major Party has a monopoly on such hyperbole!
For example, one of my own favorite, pithy quotes from among all the National Conventions I have written about on behalf of The Green Papers is one from the late Senator Ted Kennedy, where he said (at the 2004 National Convention of his Democratic Party) that [i]t was no accident that Massachusetts was founded as a Commonwealth- a place where authority belonged not to a single ruler but to the People themselves, joined together for the common good. But it is altogether clear that the version of the "common weal" (the well-being of the community at large) that accrued at the time that very Commonwealth first came into being with the adoption of the original text of its Constitution of 1780 was not quite what Kennedy himself had in mind for early 21st Century America! For he would go on to claim, in that very same speech, that- prior to the formation of that Commonwealth- [y]our voices were not heard, your concerns did not matter, your votes did not count. The colonists knew they could do better and, in contrast to the new system that said colonists themselves created, [t]he old system was based on inequality, implying- obviously- that this new Commonwealth produced within America's Revolutionary Period was altogether different...
in at least one way, it was at least rather different: for the very first sentence of that Constitution (still in force as part of its 'Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitants' to this day) does state that All men are born free and equal- yet men only (not women!) would govern this Commonwealth at its start and, although general Freedom of Worship was also guaranteed and secured within its founding document, the State's legislative body still retained specific power- under that same founding document- to authorize and require the several towns, parishes, precincts or other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of GOD, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily (it would not be until 1833 that this provision was altered by Amendment [indeed, as odd as it might sound to those on the Right who today see that Commonwealth as being not all that much more than 'the People's Republic of Massachusetts', the Bay State was the last State of the American Union to legally disestablish Religion!])... the question well begs: back in 1780, were everyone's voices heard? did everyone's concerns matter? did everyone's votes count? All questions that still, 232 years later, so strongly resonate within discussion and debate over whether the United States of America is (or should be) a Democratic Republic or a Republican Democracy!...
thus, in the end, Ted Kennedy's 'Commonwealth' was certainly not that of even John Hancock and Samuel Adams! (Yet *I* did not specifically, nor immediately, point this out at the very time I wrote about that particular speech back in 2004).
Above all else, I write up these day-to-day summaries of Convention events with the same frame of mind as I hold as regards my many other Commentaries for this website-- I alone pick the subject matter of my writings for The Green Papers (as well as how I might write about same) and I alone am responsible for what might appear on that website to which my own name is attached:
only a few years back now, a friend of mine was wondering why I had not chosen to write about a particular (fairly important, in retrospect) political issue of the day in one of my Commentaries-- I told him that, frankly, I wasn't all that interested in doing so. He then said to me: "Well, the New York Times [generally considered a bastion of liberal bias in media] and even the New York Post [a tabloid of notably more conservative editorial bent] have written editorials about it!"-- to which I retorted: "The New York Times and the New York Post- or, for that matter, the Washington Post and the 'Huffington Post'- all do what they do and I do what *I* do for The Green Papers!"...
in short, dear reader, I'm my own man!
Sometimes, in my writings for (or even my posting of rather dreary data on) this website, I- indeed- march to the proverbial beat of Henry David Thoreau's "a different drummer"; at other times, however, I might well be found marching in step with the "crowd" (whatever the crowd of moment might be)... but know this, dear reader: it is always my drum!
Just as the style of the clothes I might choose to wear are only so chosen so that I am not found wandering the streets naked (not only am I not a slave to Fashion in my particular sartorial mode and manners; Fashion hasn't even deigned to give me its correct address! Re: GQ, I am, indeed, 'Public Enemy # 1' [;-)]), so it is between myself and the often fleeting contemporary fashions of political punditry and comment. Therefore, and likewise, I am not a slave to any Party or ideology and, while I deeply and dearly love My Country, I have read many a World map and looked through more than a few Historical Atlases to know that the United States of America is not the Center of the Universe and that there is no guarantee- or even likelihood- that this American Union will last forever: all one can hope is that the ideals of America will outlive America itself (although I also hope- and pray- that the United States will yet well outlast the lives of anyone who might yet be born within what might remain of my own lifetime) and that- in millennia yet to come- our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, as amended, will be quotable in at least the same manner that, say, another code of Law and conduct from long ago- the Decalogue- is still quotable to this day!
But it isn't that I am ever the nonconformist or more usually so seek to be the iconoclast (after all: there are some icons I actually enjoy! The American Flag; that statue in Upper New York Bay entitled Liberty Enlightening the World; those facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the American Bill of Rights on fake parchment I first got back when I was still a kid first visiting Ben Franklin's Philadelphia on a Day Camp field trip from Staten Island [almost half a century ago now-- and they still have that weird faux "old document" smell (just what kind of chemical treatment did they use on these things back then, I wonder?) whenever I might pull them out of the packet- itself more and more becoming tattered- labeled 'CHARTERS OF FREEDOM']... but also some stranger icons, such as my huge 1890 cloth-backed wall map of the continental United States of America with the borders of the contiguous States [or, in some cases, Territories which would- within a generation of that map's very publication- become States] outlined in a thick brown and all the six-mile land survey Townships in the Public Domain States outlined in black [very cool! ;-)])-- it's more that what *I* might glean from a speech or a series of speeches at what is, after all, a political gathering with political purpose is not necessarily going to be that which either the most devoted members of the Party or the best and most well-known observers from either the domestic or foreign Press might themselves glean.
I have received- over the lifetime of The Green Papers- more than a few e-mails from those (particularly others ensconced [imprisoned? ;-)] within this borderless Blogosphere) who complain- when I appear, to them, to be more than a little "MSM" in my writings for this website- that I am not being "alternative" enough (as if merely being alternative to that ever ethereal "conventional wisdom" is the primary, if not sole, reason to take to blogging on the Internet in the first place! [I was, effectively, blogging during the previous Millennium, son: so this ain't my first rodeo! Put another way: if 2+2=4, I'm going to note- yes, on the Internet- that 2+2=4; likewise, I am going to write that it's partly cloudy even if you, instead, might reasonably opine that it might, in fact, be partly sunny])... but, in truth, I am always being "alternative" in what I might do for this website-- even though, at times, I might then actually have to be an alternative to the oxymoronic (sadly, and all too often: accent on the last three syllables of those five!) "conventional alternative".
Thus, within my own quotations from those who might have spoken at these National Conventions, you might not see that which the headline-writers or reporters settling on as the lede (or, for that matter, Party spokesmen putting forth their "spin") themselves might have picked as the most important aspect(s) of any given speech from which I have quoted... then again, you might!
But, in the end, the overall effect (or so I hope!) of the entirety of a given day's proceedings at the Convention as I have presented it on this website is that of what most struck me as *I* watched the goings-on 'live'...
and I hope this reassures anyone who might read my pieces for this very website- regardless of his or her Party or ideology- as to my still doing my utmost to retain my own objectivity.
Having said all of the above, however, this piece- in this particular case, my here summing up the 2012 Republican National Convention- is the place for me to now put forth my own observations and opinion as to the political ramifications of all that which has just occurred therein.
The first and most obvious question is: did Mitt Romney "humanize" himself in his own Acceptance Speech?
It's sad to think that there are those out there who even think Governor Romney has to "humanize" himself. I myself have never thought of Romney as not being "human" (in what- or so I presume- is the social sense of the term) in the first place and I shudder when I contemplate where such a concept might even be coming from (a deep-seated prejudice, engendered by all too much misunderstanding, within many "out there" against Romney's own Mormon Church, perhaps?). For the moment, I will here only note that- in the very first Presidential Primary I ever voted in (back in June of 1976)- *I* (exercising my own free choice, by the way) voted for a Mormon to be President of the United States (and in a Democratic Primary, to boot!): the late Congressman Morris Udall of Arizona: thus, as for myself, a candidate's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (as would be the case with any other religion, denomination or sect [or, for that matter, no religion at all]) is not an at all acceptable reason for voting against that candidate, nor- obviously- does it mean anything to me personally where I might actually vote for him or her!
Governor Romney presented himself and his own positions on the issues of the day- agree with them or not- both passionately and well in his Speech of Acceptance: in short, he certainly made his own case!
Though there were rather glaring omissions: for example, among all the achievements of Romney having once been the Chief Executive of Massachusetts, no mention at all of his own Health Care plan for the Commonwealth he had once governed and, thereby, no attempt to well parry the Democrats' charge that his own attacks on 'Obamacare" are- where not downright hypocritical- a politically convenient reversal of what Romney himself once rather eagerly supported and even implemented.
Nevertheless, the problem wasn't so much with how Mitt Romney himself presented his own case but, rather, in the manner in which others presented the case for his presidential candidacy on his behalf!
There were those all too many disturbing 'Man on Horseback' claims for the Republican standard-bearer: from Mrs. Romney declaring that her husband "will not fail" and "will not let us down" (OK-- she's his wife: she clearly so dearly loves him-- so she can be forgiven such hyperbole [although, in the context of a political gathering, it still gives one pause]) to, here taking just one all too obvious example: former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu so confidently declaring that Romney "knows how to fix the unfixable"?!
Within that very Judeo-Christian tradition and ethic that still dominates general American religiosity, only God Himself knows how to fix the unfixable!
Conservative Republicans (especially those of conservative sociocultural bent- those who would have a moral, even religious, issue here) have decried, ever since the incumbent President first became a candidate for President now more than 5 1/2 years ago, the "cult of Obama": the multi-colored 'HOPE' and 'CHANGE' posters with Obama's face thereon; the Greek "philosopher-king" set at the outdoor stadium in Denver in which Obama accepted his Party's nomination a little over 4 years ago this past week; the President having received the Nobel Peace Prize without his even having done anything special nor specific to have earned it...
but might the Republicans now have set up something of a "cult of Romney" of their own?
Though the details may well have faded over the intervening decades, I honestly don't remember the two Conventions that nominated Ronald Reagan being so haughty in this regard! (And please note, dear reader, I am not accusing Mitt Romney of being so haughty: I here lay this accusation solely at the feet of the Party trying so hard to promote his presidential candidacy).
Indeed, pretty much all we heard about on the Convention's final night were Governor Romney's successes: yes, we heard about his wrestling with the possibility of failure; we also heard about how his own innate compassion (which I have no reason to doubt: I've never met the man and, therefore, it would be most uncharitable of me to think otherwise) allowed him- nay, even commanded him!- to give all due aid and comfort to those who had themselves failed. 'Tis true that we who watched this Convention were not treated to images of a money-grubbing rich guy (and those who worked with him- both within, as well as those invested in by, Bain Capital- well defended him against just such a depiction by his opposition this coming Fall).
But we still heard all about a rich guy- albehe one thankful for all the blessings of personal, religious and financial Liberty the United States of his birth the better protected within its system of Law and Governance than just about any other Nation on this earth and which allowed him to become that rich guy (blessings he himself claims- along with those who most strongly support his presidential candidacy- he is the better equipped to now protect and preserve)- yet we never heard all that much about him ever facing real "I might lose my home, I can't feed my own family, I might die young" poverty or even something close to it (though there is no doubt that he worked so hard to stay out of just such desperate circumstances on behalf of his own family)...
sure, he and his wife had to well pinch pennies early in their lives together (habits which, apparently, have never left him in particular- and not because he is at all miserly in the manner of Charles Dickens' 'Ebenezer Scrooge'- well illustrated, in one film short, by his [purposely] using the wrong light bulb in a recessed kitchen fixture and then putting a 'blind' of what looked, to me, like paper towel attached to the cabinet above with duct tape so that no one in that area would be blinded whenever they turned this particular light on). Maybe such as the duct-taped "blind" will the better attract Romney to Middle Class voters this November- those hard working voters who still are able to use their, say, quarter century-old refrigerators (and, perhaps, have to so use a 25-year old refrigerator!) because they've been able to replace the damaged, loosened hinges of the refrigerator door with duct tape...
yet this still does not mitigate the fact that there was all too much of "hey! this guy's got the 'Midas touch'!!" within the manner in which his own biography and ideals, ideas and policy proposals had been presented to his Party's Convention, the Nation and the World this past week.
The real question of moment, however, is this: has the Republican Party itself united around its own 2012 standard-bearer?
Of this, I am not so sure in the immediate aftermath of that Party's own National Convention.
I'm not going to here opine that Romney/Ryan, somehow, resembles an early 21st Century Republican version of the well-known political cartoon of one election cycle during the 1870s which portrayed the Democratic National Ticket as a tiger (the tiger, back then, being a conventional symbol for New York City's 'Tammany Hall') with a head at each end- one the head of that Party's presidential nominee, the other the head of his running mate (each such head trying to pull the body of the tiger in opposite directions, the body itself stretching into narrowness as this is being done): however, there is something of a serious underlying "disconnect" between the views of each of the two persons on the 2012 GOP National Ticket.
There is no question about Congressman Paul Ryan being a favorite of the so-called "Tea Party" wing of his Republican Party and the Party Platform- emerging from a Resolutions Committee strongly influenced by "Tea Party" advocates- adopted by this Convention is also among the most conservative- ideologically- of any the Republicans have adopted during my own entire voting life (as already noted, I was first eligible to vote in a Presidential Election in 1976, so my adult American citizenship even predates the Reagan era). Yet the head of the ticket- Governor Mitt Romney himself- is not quite on that same page: the film biography of the Romney clan that immediately preceded Clint Eastwood's rather strange presence at the dais on the Convention's final night well showed the tenacity of the presidential nominee's father- the late Governor George Romney of Michigan- but it did not highlight that same tenacity having been applied (however altogether unsuccessfully) back in 1964 to an all-out attempt to moderate the quite conservative Platform adopted by the same Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater (nor, by the way, was there much mention- if any- of the elder Romney having served as President Nixon's first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development [a position that- in the context of the late 1960s- was much more suited to a more moderate Republican in any event]).
However much George Romney influenced his son Mitt as a father, we must also ask how much the elder Romney might have affected the current Republican presidential nominee politically. Is much of his own Party's Platform, indeed, well far to the Right of where Mitt Romney himself- in his own "heart of hearts"- actually stands (indeed, must stand in order to more attract that independent, ticket-splitting voter in the Center that itself [or so I have so often argued in my own writings for this very website] largely determines the outcome of American National Elections-- even in times of economic distress)? How much, now a decade later, does Governor Romney still believe (here speaking of political- not religious- belief) that in which he certainly must have believed in order to even be called by the honorific title "Governor"? (And it's not as if ye olde Commonwealth of Massachusetts suddenly turned the switch labeled "arguably, the most liberal State in the Nation" to 'OFF' in 2002, only to- just as suddenly- turn it back to 'ON' four years later in order to elect its first African-American Governor, Democrat Deval Patrick [who was re-elected four years after that, in the midst of a nationwide political climate wholly toxic to Governor Patrick's own Party]!)
To go back to what I wrote about at the start of the "summing this Convention all up" portion of this piece- in this case, Mitt Romney's religious beliefs (as these were expressed before the Convention by another who, evidently, knows those very beliefs so well)-- does the Republican Party Platform of 2012 really so "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction" as well as, if not better, than that the Democrats will themselves formally adopt at their own Convention in but a few days time? Certainly the Republicans would say it does: even Congressman Ryan- in his own Acceptance Speech- emphatically stated that [a] Romney-Ryan Administration will protect and strengthen Medicare and later in that same speech declared that We can make the safety net safe again. (I myself wondered- soon after that particular evening's proceedings had been adjourned shortly thereafter- just how many Ron Paul delegates who had been in the hall as Ryan so claimed at least vomited into their own mouths at this... then again, might these have simply already left the hall once Rand Paul had finished speaking several hours before?)
And, speaking of the Medicare aspects of Ryan's own budget proposal this past Spring, even former House Speaker and one-time rival to Romney for the presidential nomination Newt Gingrich himself pooh-poohed it by saying "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering". While, on the one hand, this can be seen (where not also even dismissed) as one conservative merely "bitching" out loud about the ideological bona fides of another (invective that might even tend to suggest that Congressman Ryan is not all that conservative, actually), it is indicative of a real split still extant- even after its Convention- in the Grand Old Party over the very kind of thing Governor Romney himself- as the head of the Party Ticket- will have to run on, and emphasize, in order to gain the White House come November...
it was quite interesting that Speaker Gingrich, the very man who had widely been quoted as saying he would be giving a speech at his Party's Convention that itself would defeat President Obama (though he later downgraded this to referring to his own performance in the Presidential Debates [in which, as Gingrich impishly noted, Obama would be without teleprompter], should he have become the GOP presidential nominee]), was accompanied by his wife, Callista, during what was their joint appearance before the Convention on its final night. But it was most interesting to see that- within their style very much in the manner of the Responsive Reading during the Order of Worship of the United Methodist Church in which I myself had been raised- it was only Callista Gingrich who actually mentioned Governor Romney by name (while it was left to Newt to pillory President Obama [both Gingriches "riffed" on the Reagan legacy, by the way])-- even when Newt opined, at the end, that each of us must commit ourselves in the tradition of Ronald Reagan to come together. President Reagan said, "there is no substitute for victory'' and, this November, we cannot settle for anything less. This is the most critical election of our lifetime: each of us must do our part now to insure that America remains, in the tradition of President Reagan, a land of freedom, hope, and opportunity, the former Speaker did not specifically say just how that which he here exhorted his fellow Republicans to do would best be accomplished (in other words, he seemed to be utterly unable to so forcefully declaim that America should vote for the man he, in the course of the pre-Convention Primary/Caucus season, so often called "the Massachusetts Moderate").
Even former Republican presidential hopeful and former Senator Rick Santorum was able to push for a vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in November at the end of his own speech to the Convention, even though his own remarks as a whole were far more about the Party Platform.
As for Herbert Agar's dictum that Major Parties "should never allow themselves to feel, and preach, that the opposition is not only mistaken but wicked",.whatever those within the Grand Old Party might "feel" about the "wicked[ness]" of the Obama Administration in particular and the Democrats in general, the Republicans tried their utmost to not "preach" it. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida- in the course of his own speech introductory of the Party's presidential nominee on the Convention's final night- went out of his way to state that the Republicans of 2012 did not see President Obama as a "bad person" but, rather, a "bad President" (in itself a far cry from a 2008 Republican National Convention much more filled with references to Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright). Whether this is merely political balm to more and well soothe the feelings of those who voted for Obama/Biden in 2008 and who might well, in 2012, at least consider voting for Romney/Ryan but still have a positive view of their decision four years before I leave to the reader to determine (or not).
But, as to the Republican Party now leaving Tampa for the various and sundry hustings, "speaking at times with many voices, a true federation and thus a true accommodator of all the interests of a continent", I can only say that- at least for the time being (subject to change as the Fall Campaign proceeds apace)- the Grand Old Party is much more a "confederation" which now has to better accommodate at least two differing versions of the same overall vision in order to then win this year's Presidential Election...
can this even be done in time? Well-- we're all about to find out!