By Jennifer Rubin –
The Republican convention finally got underway today. The expectations for Ann Romney were sky high. Could she “humanize” her husband? Could she single-handedly close the gender gap? Time will tell, but she and a former Democratic congressman from Alabama delivered what Republicans had been looking for, that is, some genuine emotion and personal connection.
It was “We built it” night, with the president’s ill-chosen words repeated again and again by speakers and in video sequences. Before Ann Romney spoke, an energetic Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a feisty South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (who got the crowd cheering on voter ID, immigration enforcement and the Boeing labor case) and a forceful Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who made the case for Romney as a conservative reformer who wouldn’t fight them tooth and nail. (McDonnell declared: “When Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan get to work with Susana Martinez…Scott Walker…John Kasich ….Terry Branstad and governors from both parties across this country, we will get people back to work! Our great country can no longer afford the job-destroying policies coming out of Washington D.C.”)Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Romney rival Rick Santorum (the only one who raised the pro-life issue) and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz also gave solid conservative speeches, but it was Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis gave the most stirring and poetic address, filled with appeals to Democrats with regrets about Obama, humorous jibes at the president and the fervent energy of a convert to the anti-Obama cause.