[Tropical Storm] Isaac did the Republican National Convention one big favor: It gave organizers a good reason to move Ann Romney’s speech from Monday night, when the broadcast networks weren’t planning to cover it, to Tuesday night. The candidate’s wife will address the convention on national TV, just before New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers the official keynote address.
Christie, one of the GOP’s most ferocious attack dogs, probably seemed a natural choice to play the traditional keynoter’s role of firing up the delegates. But that was before last week, when Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin made his infamous comment about “legitimate rape,” the party’s platform endorsed a constitutional amendment banning abortion in all cases, and Democrats intensified their accusations that the GOP is waging a “war on women.”
Christie may be an effective speaker, but he won’t help the Republicans with their gender divide. The New Jersey governor fully embraces his state’s no-nonsense reputation. He likes to shout down hecklers, punch the air with his finger when making a point, and, mostly, denounce Democrats in colorful terms. But he can turn people off as quickly as he turns them on. His rough edges were fully on display on Monday when, while addressing the GOP California delegation, he trashed the state’s 74-year-old governor, Jerry Brown, as an “old retread” . . . .
Women are far more likely than men to express concerns over a lack of comity in politics, and those women, at least, are absolutely certain to find Christie’s barbs a turn-off. So what could convention organizers do to mitigate the expected damage?
In today’s GOP, there are very few women famous enough to take the spotlight off Christie. But Ann Romney is one of them. As the candidate’s wife, she’s more central to the presidential campaign than Christie, and arouses natural curiosity and interest. As it happens, she is also a compelling speaker. . . .
This kind of speech doesn’t serve to reassure the types of professional women who normally gravitate toward the Democrats. But it will appeal to family-oriented women who may well appreciate Barack Obama’s dignified bearing and measured tone, while recoiling at the harshness of GOPers like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or Christie himself.
— Peter S. Canellos
Visit The Angle this week for more dispatches from Globe opinion writers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
TWO NEW BEDFORD MAYORS,
A scientific meeting Friday in Boston to recommend 2013 catch limits of depleted Georges Bank yellowtail flounder heard a surprise, impassioned plea from New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell not to cut the catch. Reading from a letter co-written the day before with Mayor Carolyn Kirk of Gloucester, Mitchell said, “If implemented the forecasted cuts would deal a crippling blow to the groundfish and scallop industries and eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs” . . . .
John Bullard, the new regional administrator for [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] who is himself a former mayor of New Bedford, said, “I was in Scituate last night listening to 75 fishermen saying they’re not sure if they can last another six weeks. The were very easy to understand and very hard to hear. This meeting, it’s very difficult for people to understand the science. It’s two different worlds.”
The coming weeks will tell if Bullard can help bring those two worlds any closer together.
— Derrick Z. Jackson