A Room Full of Happy Republicans
The Republican Party of Duval County came together Monday night for its annual Lincoln Day dinner at the Hyatt Regency downtown, and a speech by Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In welcoming the crowd, estimated at about 750, Party Chairman Lenny Curry said it had been a while since he had seen such a room full of happy Republicans, which he attributed in part to the GOP’s success in off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey. He said the attendance Monday night was a tribute to the strength of the Republican Party in Northeast Florida.
Mayor John Peyton presented Tom Petway with a proclamation declaring November 9th “Tom Petway Day.” And Congressman Ander Crenshaw was given the honor of introducing the evening’s keynote speaker.
Romney began by saying that many had written off the Republican Party after the election in 2008. He recalled a cover of Time Magazine which showed an elephant with the headline “Endangered Species?”. But, Romney said “The Democrats and Obama have underestimated our intelligence as voters in America.”
“I’ve watched this President for 9 months,” Romney said. “I didn’t imagine that the Jimmy Carter Years were the good old days.”
Romney said one of the areas where President Obama is weakest is in Foreign Policy. “The President wants to join the critics against America. Some say he even wants to lead the chorus.” Romney said he had heard President Obama say that America had “dictated to other countries.” His response? “Mr. President, this country has freed other countries from dictators.”
He was just as strong in his remarks about the economy. “We need to stimulate the economy, not Government,” Romney said. “This kind of borrowing and spending is more than bad economics. It’s morally wrong and it must end,” he said to applause.
And of the President’s health care proposal currently under debate in Washington, Romney said “it is his intent to make the public option the only option.”
It was a speech well received by an enthusiastic and receptive audience, and which sounded much like a stump speech. After the event, Governor Romney signed autographs and posed for pictures for nearly half an hour before leaving the room.
Buoyed, and encouraged by recent successes in Virginia and New Jersey last week, it’s possible that what Duval county Republicans heard Monday night was a precursor to what’s to come in mid-term elections next year, and in the next even numbered year divisible by four.