After Paul Ryan and Condoleezza Rice's blow-the-doors-off speeches, theoretically, the rhetorical bar has been set pretty high for Mitt Romney tonight. And he's gotten plenty of free advice from the punditocracy -- to show his heart, offer a comprehensive plan, etc., etc., etc.
Amid all the chatter, let's keep in mind one thing: This is a man who is not primarily an orator. He is first and foremost a doer, not a talker -- a welcome contrast to the man currently in The White House (even this New York Times profile
grudgingly concedes that throughout his life, he has beaten the competition by working harder than they -- another big contrast to President Obama). His speech does not have to be a tour de force of epic proportion. In fact, in some sense, it just has to clear two pretty low bars.
First, it has to reassure Americans that he is a decent man and a trustworthy one. This has the advantage of actually being true, by all accounts
Second, it has to reassure Americans that he does have something more than his impressive history of past achievement to guide him into the future. The speech needn't be heavy on details; all Americans want to know is that they aren't, once again, being sold a bill of goods -- with a "too good to be true" smooth-talker promising them the moon but with no idea how to deliver on his promises once he is actually in office.
No doubt it's a big night for Romney. Everyone around him must be nervous. But they should draw some comfort from the fact that -- judging by his past performances -- Mitt Romney is not a guy who flames out at the big moments. He comes through.
Break a leg, Governor.