Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - Volume 3, Number 5 – Last Update: August 31, 2012

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.


Republican National Convention Review Briefs – Updates Through Convention


·         RNC First Night Slightly Off – Review and Readers’ Comments

·         RNC Second Night Starts Low, Ends High

·         RNC Third Night Starts High, Ends Not so High



Friday, August 31, 2012 - Volume 3, Number 5 – Edition 3

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Republican Convention 3rd Night Starts High, Ends Not so High

Beautiful Biographical Videos, Moving Personal Stories, Followed by Awkwardness and Something Missing


We won’t bore you with repeating all the details that are already amply out in print, television, radio, blogs, forums, social sites, and tweets.  You surely already know what happened: A series of moving presentations on the life and times of one Willard Mitt Romney, presentations that introduced to the public the important and inspiring aspects of Gov. Romney’s life not so widely known, these did not make it to the prime hour.  Instead, the highlight of television coverage for the formal acceptance of the GOP’s nomination for president of the United States began with an uncomfortable appearance by Clint Eastwood and his invisible partner.  Whatever Mitt Romney is, this one part of the convention was the one that least reflected Gov. Romney’s temperament, style, or thinking.  Like McCain’s 2008 ill-fated reach for something to excite and enthuse the campaign, the Romney camp blindly reached into a bag of surprises, and did not pull out something delightful.


About Mitt Romney’s speech, it was true Mitt Romney: competent, and focused on the business-side of things (the cheers got louder once he moved on from his lengthy words on how businesses creates jobs - even Republicans tired of it).  It was decent, level-headed, admirable, and inspiring – but, not very inspiring.  Looking at old footage of conventions of years past, you see the difference.  Perhaps there are too many speeches at the conventions now.  Maybe the conventions and speeches are now too-scripted, and people just don’t feel the excitement. Maybe everybody is texting, tweeting or taking yet another self-portrait.  Or maybe, the Republicans just never could find the center of their vision to give them the huge amount of moral energy necessary to power their message.  Even the rising star of Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio, intelligent, well-intentioned, articulate, and sincere – looked uncertain every time applause did not ring out immediately.  We never saw that in the likes of Ronald Reagan or even George H.W. Bush.  Something was missing in that hall.


The best lines from Gov. Romney came when he mocked 2008 presidential candidate Obama’s words on his grand goals for the planet, and Mr. Obama’s alleged interest in being the world’s president instead of the U.S. president:


President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. … MY promise...is to help you and your family.

I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations.  No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.


(Aside: In fairness to Barack Obama, his ambition to help secure the planet’s environmental future is not a bad one.  It is even noble.  But the thing that sticks in the craw of many Americans who happen to love their country and thought well of it before Mr. Obama appeared on the scene, is the sense that President Obama thinks America can only be great because he is president, and not that he is president because America is great.)


Willard Mitt Romney would make a decent, competent and amiable president – a successful administrator of America’s current foreign policy, an able manager of America’s current economic conditions, a compassionate communicator of the nation’s current needs and desires.  But somehow, despite the apparent near-perfectness of his whole life, he is not the best campaigner for a new vision of the nation’s future.  And, we need one.



Reader Comments (In Order Received)


Why does everyone seem to forget that President Obama had to take on the financial crisis and issues that were started under the Bush administration?  It took Bush two terms to create the mess.  It will take two plus terms to repair it.  ALL Americans need to assist in fixing it – not just the government.  I am very interested to see how many jobs will be “recreated” if the Republicans take the Oval office in 2012.  After all, did the Republicans not help to sabotage our economy? 

-Bonnie Vaults


Must you always try to strike a balance?  Why can’t you just say Mitt is the better candidate – period!

-Monica Wells


I think I see eye to eye with you on most (if not all) things you wrote. I would have hoped (and expected) better scripting.

Clint is my favorite actor of all times, so it was for me a pleasure to see him. I liked what he did. It was cute, funny, although for many conservatives it may have been a little too vulgar and in particular it certainly doesn't fit with who Mitt Romney is. But I think it didn't fit well with the flow of things. If they had gone from the "common" people talking about Mitt to the movie about him and then to him, that would have been absolutely perfect (yes, with no Marco Rubio in there).

-Joaquin Arguelles


Well said!

-Richard Gonzalez


[Your newsletter] is a wonderful compilation of pertinent information; succinct, enlightening and very well written.

-Veronica Scarbrough



© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.





Thursday August 30, 2012  - Volume 3, Number 5 - Edition 2

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved

Republican National Convention 2nd Night Starts Low, Ends High

After Long Train of Red Meat for Hard Right, Rice & Ryan Lift Tone, Aim High


After what seemed a never-ending and blunt appeal to the self-interest of business owners, with the relentless, repeated, and disingenuous turning on its head of Obama’s mostly true – if unfortunately worded – phrase “you didn’t build that,” to “we built it,” we began to despair that our 2010 predictions of a turn to the anti-intellectual hard right within the Republican party were turning out true without any qualification (at the time, many liberal observers, in public media as well as in our own personal encounters, were commenting that the memory of the 2008 electoral loss would move the party to be more ‘responsible’ and moderate - See UWFR Oct 28, 2010).  Rand Paul in particular unabashedly pushed a message and tone that implied that anyone who was not a successful business owner was not working hard enough, and no one successful owed society anything – a claim that ought to make blush any believers of Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist teachings, if not outright indignant.


Perhaps if Mr. Obama had simply added the word ‘alone,’ to his admonition that “you didn’t build that,” when talking about government facilitated benefits such as roads, he would have diffused the perception that he was saying that people who built their own business did not fully earn the rewards.  Yes, those who build honest businesses from the ground up, who take on risks and huge responsibilities, suffer losses, work extremely hard – they are the backbone of national prosperity and deserve to be richly rewarded for their risk and toil.  But, in truth, none of us provide our own teachers, our own schools, our own parents, or the framework of institutions that make our own upbringing possible.  We only get to do that for the next generation.  A measure of humility and gratitude is in order when we have been blessed by talent, ability, education, and an environment that allowed us to flourish in ways so many others are not.  After all, isn’t what America makes possible the point of how America is exceptional?  There are arguments to be made against wasteful and corrupting government largess, government facilitated idleness, and confiscatory taxation; and in favor of greater personal responsibility and freedom.  But, justifying arrogant avarice is an embarrassing disgrace – and a losing proposition.


Respite finally came in the form of John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, and yes, most ably in the charged presence of Paul Ryan.  McCain tried to make the case for a muscular moral American presence on the world stage (not a popular message in either party, as most liberals are uncomfortable with the muscular part, and most far right conservatives and libertarians seem to never find justification in the moral part).  The awkwardly professorial Condoleezza Rice was stately, while somewhat ignored by the audience, but she did raise the level of discourse to a higher ground.  One of the best and most well-received lines came at the end of this statement:


And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.


Her closing remarks elegantly tied self-interested logic with noble idealism, and reminded us why she rose so high:


That is why, that is why, this is a moment – and an election – of consequence.  Because, it just has to be – that the freest and most compassionate country on the face of the earth, will continue to be the most powerful and a beacon for prosperity and liberty across the world. 


Last, but certainly not least, the much anticipated speech by vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan did not disappoint.  Gone was the coarseness of Rand Paul and the collection of “I did it all” acolytes.  Instead, we heard a sharp, yet well-measured defense of Republican values that, in a Reaganesque manner, knew it had to reach more than just the people in the hall.  At his first mention of caring for the needy, the audience seemed a little uncertain – who could blame them after what they had heard endlessly for now two nights?  Yet, he proceeded with eloquence that made clear to us how well Romney had chosen.  Even the “we built it” refrain was artfully and gracefully repositioned from a defensive, crude retort, into a thoughtful reply:


And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn't help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.


Now, that is an appropriate and even compassionate response.  Paul Ryan, if on a few occasions had this rather charming slight hint of a shrug every time a line didn’t get immediately an expected applause, overall hit a home run.  Yes, he avoided specifics on how a Romney administration would do better, but we suspect he will also do that well enough soon enough.  So long as he does not get cocky, Joe Biden has no chance against him.  At the end of his speech he had everyone on their feet – and he didn’t have to cheat (see our remarks from Tuesday).  He may not become vice-president of the United States in 2012, but he may very well become president in 2016.


The best line directed against the president was from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “…He can accept responsibility for breaking his promise and adding $5 trillion to the national debt. Because, he did build that!



Comments may be directed to contactproject@ultrapolisproject.com,

or if you receive the newsletter email, also via a reply to the email address from which you receive it.



© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project





Tuesday August 28, 2012  - Volume 3, Number 5 - Edition 1

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved


Republican National Convention First Night Slightly Off

Strange Stepford Quality Underlies Campaign Weakness


The first full evening of convention oratory stitched together a motley assortment of speeches that ran from the mostly robotic and vapid (this is the best and the brightest?) to the few generally effective, and with only the success of entrepreneurship connecting most of the array of speakers.  (Note:  most Americans are not self-employed.)  In the most striking disconnect of the night, Ann Romney made ‘love’ the center of her message, only to be followed by a more-powerfully delivered keynote speech by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that said respect is more important than love.  Another odd effect that seemed to repeat itself throughout the night was a strange, yet persistent offset between delivered applause lines and… the actual applause.  The effect receded as the speakers got better, but it remained rare to hear applause that did not seem queued and where the audience did not seem to be merely obliging at the ‘right’ moments.


Though many pundits immediately declared Ms. Romney’s speech as excellent, and Governor Christie’s as a rousing “barn-burner,” we saw something different.  While Ms. Romney’s speech may have been sincere and included some strong lines (i.e. “this man will not fail”), and she showed herself to be a very capable and contemplative speaker (no Palin here), there still was this sense of a carefully crafted formula being delivered.  Perhaps we would not have noticed if she had not been preceded by so many two-dimensional wooden women speakers, but she was, and so we did.


Chris Christie delivered a speech that met its goal, in this case, bringing people to their feet - but he cheated a bit by actually asking people to literally “stand up.”  The governor did his job, but others before have done better where he was, just as he has done it before so much better elsewhere.


One bit of advice for the RNC organizers: lose the constantly changing backdrops.  We don’t need carefully chosen pictures showing up on cue to illustrate the speaker’s point, or what looked like at other times, rotating clouds in close ups.  A convention speech, especially a keynote speech, is not a PowerPoint, and the pictures showing up on cue, effective when used sparingly, were more often comical.  As for the rotating smudges of white on blue in the speaker close-ups, they gave the effect of the speaker (or the viewer) being on a psychedelic trip - maybe this is what caused the applause mis-alignments?  Perhaps, but we think no, it was the emotional shallowness present in the hall due to the reasons we have been predicting and noting since October of 2010).



Reader Comments (In Order Received)


OMG!  Excellent review of the RNC! 

-Bonnie Vaults


You noticed several things I did not.  I enjoyed the convention very much so far (especially Ann and Chris Christie). My wife and I were looking at it from an emotional point of view. At one point I even told my wife: "80% of what these people are saying is true, 80% of what the Democrats say is not true". <-- I don't know how true that is, but I believe it.
I look forward to the rest of the convention and then I look forward to enjoying the Democratic one.
Again: you noticed many things I did not. Thank you.

-Joaquin Arguelles


This is why I like to hear from you.  Always an insight I missed, and right on target, though I think you short-changed Ann Romney.

-Scott Hamil


Enjoyed your thoughts.  Thank you for sending.

-Ken Council


Why are you so negative on the Republicans?  I thought you supported Romney.

            -Steven Smith




Comments may be directed to contactproject@ultrapolisproject.com,

or if you receive the newsletter email, also via a reply to the email address from which you receive it.




Main Index of the Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review


© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.