A political convention to nominate candidate for the highest office in the land should be all about the candidate. He should be the focus of attention. He should be what everyone is talking about afterwards.
No one, except perhaps his spouse or running mate should overshadow him, especially not an old man arguing with an empty chair. Unfortunately for Republicans, the biggest highlight from their convention was Clint Eastwood – not Mitt Romney. From Pew Research:
The public paid far less attention to this year’s Republican convention than it did to the GOP convention four years ago. Just 37% say they watched all or some of the Republican convention, down from 56% in 2008.
And while there has been a modest increase in the percentage saying they view Mitt Romney more favorably in the wake of the convention, his acceptance speech was not the highlight of the event: As many of those who watched at least a little convention coverage cited Clint Eastwood’s speech as the convention highlight (20%) as named Romney’s speech (17%). One-in-five say there was no convention highlight, about the same percentage as four years ago.
It is pretty hard to mess up what effectively is a multi-day infomercial for your candidate, but Republicans apparently found a way. While not a game changing mistake, it was a serious and unforced error.