With all the music last night, no doubt that's Mitt's theme song: who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?
Did he answer it? I don't think that he did.
Romney's speech was OK. It wasn't a total train wreck. Even Republican operatives basically said he did as well as he can be expected to.
What might benefit him are low expectations. This helped Bush back in 2000. While Gore beat him in the debates, he wasn't as bad as expected.
Romney didn't flop as Christy did, nor did he give us the level of whoopers that were in Ryan's speech that led to a new boom market in the fact checkers industry.
He was preceded by Clint Eastwood's "conversation" with "Obama."
Still on it's own terms Romney didn't give a terrible speech nor did he give us Ryan's level of whoppers.
What, though, of his mission-to give us an answer to the question Who is Mitt Romney? Did he answer this? No.
And the more you look at it, he actually further muddied the waters with his speech. There were some new wrinkles to Romney's biography. It was certainly both moving and very interesting to hear a little more about his mother.
You of course only usually hear about his dad. I didn't realize that she was such a feminist pioneer and a prochoice scion to boot. I certainly didn't know that she ran for the Senate.
It was also notable that he claimed that half his staff in Massachusetts were female and that he worked with many women at Bain.
While we'll have to wait for the hated fact checkers to know if this is true or not, all of this might make some feel that he's more sympathetic to women than what he's projected til now.
Having said this, I don't think we know anymore about who Mitt Romney really is today than we did before last night. Romney's trouble is that he saw his task too mechanically-just give us a few more biographical factoids of himself and he's done his job.
What he fails to understand is that the reason people want to know about his personal biography is to make more sense of how who he is as a man and in his experience at Bain and in Massachusetts-which again got short thrift-might bear on how a President Romney would run the country and what his real policy positions are.
This question has been so acute with Romney in part because we never really get the sense that he is anything more than the Etch a Sketch Man, a cipher, an anti Obama conduit. He seems to change positions like shedding off an onion. Whatever it takes to get elected
In judging his speech, consider what the Economist said about him in last week's addition:
"WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans."
Do you feel like you are more clear on where he really stands on any of these issues now than before last night?
""Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?"
We still don't know where he's taking us. In many ways the allusion to his mother underscores the whole problem.
She was a pioneering feminist who ran for the Senate and supported abortion rights. Mitt Romney refuses to say that he supports the Lily Ledbetter Act and is now running further to the Right on abortion than anyone has in a Presidential race has in a hundred years.
How do we square the fact that in 1994 he ran to the Left of Ted Kennedy particularly on gay rights and now he is for "The Defense of Marriage?"
How has he gone from being a Planned Parenthood member along with his wife in 1994, to being moderately prochoice in 2002 to suddenly finding religion and going prolife in 2006 tonow promising to "shut down Planned Parenthood' on his first day in office?
Where does he really stand? I think we're even less confident today than we were yesterday.
We know that others are not etch a sketch men. Paul Ryan may not be conversant with the facts but he has a clear agenda to abolish Medicare for all age groups-not just under 55-and stands shoulder to shoulder with Todd Akin in being against abortion and birth control.
Grover Norquist says that the real ideas come from the GOP Congress not the White House. All Grover needs is a Republican with working digits to sign the bills the GOP House sends him. On this Mitt qualifies. And that he's a cipher with no ideological core is not a problem for them.
They don't need Mitt to have any ideas, just sign their ideas.
So we know who Mitt is. He is etch a sketch man. But we know his Administration would be the most Right Wing in over 100 years, will roll back women's rights and would end the New Deal. Full Stop.