Quartet of analysts assess Republican Convention, will look at the Democrats this Sunday

OKLAHOMA CITY — Patrick B. McGuigan, editor of CapitolBeatOK, joined a panel of analysts to discuss the Republican National Convention on the most recent installment of “Oklahoma Forum,” a weekly program on The Oklahoma Network (OETA). 

Dick Pryor of OETA, the PBS affiliate in Oklahoma, guided the discussion, which included former state Democratic vice chairman Ben Odom, Democratic state Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre of Tulsa and radio commentator Larry Stein. 

In a telephone interview from the convention site in Florida, Republican state Chairman Matt Pinnell told Pryor the GOP gathering demonstrated Governor Mitt Romney is ready for the nation’s top job. Pinnell applauded vice-presidential choice Paul Ryan for “a very substantive speech.” He said the two nominees and Ann Romney delivered the three most important, and most well-received, addresses of the convention held in Tampa, Florida.  

In the OETA studio interview, Pryor pressed panelists to consider several issues, including Romney’s “Mr. Fix-it” image, a range of  public policy questions – including women’s concerns – and diversity.  

McGuigan said the Republicans achieved what leaders had hoped, showing ethnic diversity among elected leaders, and gentling the image of the presidential nominee, who conveyed authenticity and personality in a speech that was measured and disciplined. 

In dialogue with Eason-McIntyre, McGuigan said neither gender not complexion necessarily determines public policy perspectives. He said the “Liberty Caucus” is important to the Republicans, and that highlighting the two other Pauls – Ron and Rand – was effective. 

Senator Eason-McIntyre contended Romney’s speech was delivered well, saying the right things but with no real content. She slapped Republicans for what she described as an undertone or racism, and slapped Rep. Ryan as a representative of the “Tea Party” wing. 

Odom reflected the Republicans “did the minimum that they needed to do.” While Stein thought Romney’s speech was a home run, Odom rated it “more like a single.” Odom said the election will pivot on perhaps 10 percent of the electorate, or perhaps only four to seven percent in the middle. He said Paul Ryan is a new super-star: “They found the new Reagan.”

Stein praised Romney’s address, saying it conveyed a more relaxed and “calming” image than had the campaign thus far.  Stein countered Eason-McIntyre on several points, and stressed the Democratic-run Senate had not passed a budget in years. 

The panel will reassemble this Sunday, September 9, to assess the Democratic National Convention. The upcoming edition of Oklahoma Forum will be broadcast at 12:30 p.m. on broadcast channel 13, Cox Cable channel 14.  Rebroadcast times on OKLA (Cox Channel 112) will be determined later.

Last Sunday’s program, focused on the Republican gathering, will be rebroadcast on Oklahoma City’s Cox Channel 112, the OKLA channel Sunday morning at 4 a.m., or can be accessed directly at.  

CapitolBeatOK is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. 

NOTE: Rodely, a veteran radio journalist, is moderator of the weekly “Capitol Watch” podcast distributed by CapitolBeatOK. She is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.