Republicans forget their theme

Tonight's RNC theme, "We can change it," was conspicuously absent. "Build it," however, was alive and well

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 30, 2012 2:50AM (EDT)

TAMPA -- Last night’s theme of the Republican National Convention was “We did build that.” The theme tonight was “We can change it,” but you wouldn’t know it listening to the speeches. The phrase wasn’t mentioned a single time the entire night, except for one mention from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers when she introduced the theme before the keynote speeches, according to a search of C-SPAN’s transcript and speakers' remarks sent to reporters by the Republican National Convention.

Some speakers came close, such as when vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan said, “America needs a turnaround,” but no one other than McMorris Rogers uttered the words emblazoned in 4-foot-tall letters on the wall of the convention hall.  Sen. John McCain sent a fundraising email to supporters on behalf of the Romney campaign with the theme in the subject line, but it was absent from his remarks.

Last night’s theme was still alive and well, though, with Sen. Rand Paul invoking the "build it" meme a full 10 times in his speech. “Yes, you did build that!” Ryan yelled emphatically to huge applause. But you apparently did not change it!  Considering that the night's theme was lacking context, at best, and dishonest at worst, the RNC is 0-2 on thematic choices so far. Perhaps they'll do better with "We believe in America" tomorrow night.


Alex Seitz-Wald

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