Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way first: Ann Romney is a bright, charismatic, attractive, woman with a warm, inviting smile and an easy manner. It doesn't take much to understand her appeal and why Team Romney is hanging its hopes on her ability to "humanize" her husband Mitt in the eyes of voters. But Ann Romney is not running for president. And if having an awesome mate was the essential requirement for occupying the Oval Office, I'd be running the country.
I also can appreciate the Romneys' personal story of hardship in facing breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, challenges which require an enormous amount of strength, courage and hope...all of which is rightfully inspiring. But look inside any American family and you'll find people coping with illness, death and tragedy. My wife was brutally murdered six years ago, leaving me to raise a 2-year-old alone. But my story, however horrific, doesn't make me special, nor does it qualify me to be president.
The Romney campaign is desperate, so it's pushing Ann out front and center in a major coattails campaign. Yet her prime time speech Tuesday night in Tampa at the Republican Convention was predictable and I suspect it won't have any material impact where it counts: with women and independents. Groovy wife or not, Romney is still the same guy who, along with his running-mate Paul Ryan, have such "severely" conservative extremist views on gay marriage, reproduction, abortion and rape that they make women's and indies' hair curl. When you get right down to it, all Ann's speech did was demonstrate what everyone already knows: that she's immensely more likable than he is. In fact, that she gave a great speech and is so charming and accessible glaringly reminds voters that he is not.
Having to working with the worst presidential candidate in modern history, Team Romney is doing whatever it can to define their guy through the rock-star qualities of those around him; qualities which he woefully lacks. But Ann's charisma and Ryan's conviction do nothing to mask the fact that Romney's a cypher-esque cad in an empty suit who's failing miserably in connecting with voters. The estimable assets of others do not make him any more attractive or presidential.