Governor Romney's acceptance speech last night wowed the standing-room-only crowd at the Republican Convention. He was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who moved many of us to tears with his tribute to prior generations of selfless Americans. By reminding us of our obligation to our children, Sen. Rubio readied us to hear from Governor Romney on why he should be president and how he would lead.
And Governor Romney made his case, step by step. He began by introducing himself, his family, and his experience in business – not shying away at all from his time at Bain Capital. He came across as exceptionally competent, funny and warm. Most of all, Romney showed why he is qualified to be president. He was supportive of women. He defended business success and challenged President Obama's record and divisive leadership.
He also presented a vision for his presidency, which included five specific objectives. By the end, when Romney was extorting his vision for America, the crowd was standing, cheering so loudly they were drowning out his final words.
Last night, Governor Romney presented a clear choice to the American people: he pitted his competence and relevant experience against the disappointment of a nation who voted for President Obama and felt best about him "on the day he was elected."
It wasn't only Governor Romney who made a compelling case for Republican governance. A stellar cast of Republican governors and politicians fired up the convention crowd with their stories of governing turnarounds.
On Day 1, keynote speaker Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey electrified the crowd as he described the need for shared sacrifice and how he transformed a traditionally Democratic state through bipartisan budget cutting.
Likewise, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was able to describe how he balanced the budget, took on the unions and saved taxpayers one billion dollars by changing how the union-controlled government bought services with no bid contracts. Walker’s victory in the recall election that followed proved to the nation that Americans want competent and fiscally prudent governance.
Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who heads the Republican Governors Association, discussed restoring the American Dream, his grandfather's experience immigrating from Ireland, and the economic malaise that is affecting his home state.
And the facts are proving it. By every measure, Republican governors are the GOP launch pad of success. The states headed by Republican governors have an average unemployment rate of 7.84% compared to Democrat-governed states which have average unemployment of 8.77%. How does this happen? Republicans stay firm on their position for a balanced budget, lowering taxes and their insistence on competence.
As the convention progressed I soon realized something rather impressive: Contrary to the myth, Republicans have a high level of diversity. Governors like Susana Martinez from New Mexico, Luis Fortuno from Puerto Rico, Mary Fallin from Oklahoma, and Brian Sandoval from Nevada expose the lie that the GOP is the party of old white men. Of the 29 Republican governors, 25 are white, two are Hispanic, two are Indian American, and four are female.
And two of the greatest speeches of the convention came from women – former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ann Romney. Now we understand why Secretary Rice was considered as a running mate: Her delivery and content was superb. As for Mrs. Romney, there really is no better advocate for Gov. Romney than his wife.
Mitt Romney vowed to “help you and your family” with more jobs, a better economy, and a stronger environment for businesses to thrive.
After three days of speeches by great governors and other great Americans, Governor Romney capped the proceedings with a clear vision: competent, positive, and decisive leadership that is modeled on successful state governing principles that will finally give Americans the change they have been waiting for.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies. His latest book is "Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses," (William Morrow, January 2013). He is also author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream" Contact him on Twitter at @GaryShapiro.