The GOP nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as its Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, respectively, at the 40th Republican National Convention (RNC) held in Tampa, Florida.
The convention yielded no major political surprises or violent protests — the former expected, the latter atypical. Hurricane Isaac, however, shortened the convention from four days down to three.
The outcome of a party’s national convention has been predetermined for the last 45 years, and Romney and Ryan’s nominations came as no surprise.
The majority of the speeches felt scripted, too. Republicans such as Ann Romney and Chris Christie spoke on Tuesday, and Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Paul Ryan and others delivered speeches on the second day.
Ryan addressed policy issues, criticizing the Obama administration and promoting his and Romney’s plans. “Obama Care comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country,” Ryan said.
The convention’s biggest shock came in the form of Clint Eastwood. The aging actor gave a rambling speech on the final day that left many puzzled and invited generous mocking. Eastwood brought an empty chair, occupied by an “Invisible Obama,” onstage with him. At several points in his speech, Eastwood pretended to be interrupted by “Invisible Obama.”
Eastwood also declared that lawyers should not be President. However, Romney has a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
“I don’t — I don’t — I don’t know what was going on there,” said Rachel Maddow, journalist and host of her self-named show. “Clint Eastwood is 82 years old and I think that — I don’t know it that’s what was going on there.”
Romney also delivered his first speech as official GOP nominee.
“If I am elected president of these United States I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future,” Romney said. “That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it. Our nation depends on it. The peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future for America tonight.”
The streets of Tampa were calm for an RNC convention over the three days, with just two arrests and no violent protests. In 2008’s RNC, protesters lit a police car on fire and slashed the tires of several other vehicles. Police used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets and arrested nearly 800 protesters.
Protesters were present this year, but the threat of Hurricane Isaac reduced their numbers and those who did come, anarchist groups included, were peaceful.
The lack of violence was also due to the convention’s security. Congress spent $50 million on RNC security, and police officers were present in abundance.
The Tampa Police Department worked to create a non-aggressive relationship with protesters during the convention week. Police Chief Jane Castor told reporters, “We’re allowing people to express themselves in any way, shape or form they think is necessary as long as it doesn’t cross over into criminal behavior,” she said.
This allowance included, casually conversing with protests, letting protesters march down barricaded streets, and even giving out food and water.
The security cost was triple the cost of the actual event. The convention consumed $18 million of federal money, a price that included catering, stage design and housing for the more than 2,200 delegates in attendance. The Democratic National Convention, which ran from September 4-6, was also allowed $18 million through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.