Mitt Romney needed a good convention and he got one. He needed a great speech and he delivered. Coming into Tampa, I thought about 80 percent of what mattered was Romney’s speech, and about 20 percent was everything else. Romney did his part and just about everyone else was pretty good, too.
The only bad news is that a convention bounce has a half-life and the positive glow coming out of Tampa will fade. We won't know how much this convention mattered until after the election, when the entirety of the campaign is analyzed.
Romney didn't please everybody with his speech, but he didn't try to. His speech won't silence his critics and it won't prevent mistakes later in the campaign. However, I think he did prove that he knows why he wants to be president and that he can explain his reasons well to others.
Mitt Romney has always had a low-grade fever within the GOP. But I've never witnessed a more unified party. Before Tampa, all the enthusiasm was supplied by the desire to remove President Obama from office. After Tampa, Romney has created some affirmative appeal of his own, much like George H.W. Bush did in 1988.
But the effects of this convention will fade and Obama will have an opportunity to answer. If the president was worried about his prospects before Tampa, he must know that he is now staring into the abyss. If he had any inhibitions before, he won't hold anything back now.
The Obama campaign is meeting this weekend to come up with new lines of attack, which won't be easy, given that it has already called Romney a killer and a felon. If the campaign was ugly before this week, it's going to be a knife fight going forward.