TAMPA, Fla. -- Mitt Romney did some of what he needed to do, but not everything he needed to do, at the Republican convention that ended Thursday night.
In three days, he united and excited the conservative base through a tough, well-received speech by Rep. Paul Ryan; avoided any serious demonstrations, floor fights or mistakes (except for Clint Eastwood); and gave an acceptance speech that gave new and even endearing glimpses of his personal history.
But what he didn't do was make a positive case for himself and whatever real plan he has for economic growth. He once again underscored that his main argument is not that he has a real plan to succeed but that President Barack Obama has failed.
Despite passages of graceful remorse about Obama's failures, and a paean to the idea of unity, Romney's minimalist strategy remains what it has been for a year or more: to point to the slow pace of the economic recovery; the growth of deficits and debt; the persistence of unemployment and the growth of poverty.
In the hall, the speech played well, but not as well as Ryan the night before. His strident passages on defense and foreign policy were boffo, but politically beside the point.
The best moments and most useful ones politically were the most personal: the daily rose his father gave his mother; the pile of young sons in the parents's bedroom.
But where were the specific reasons for hope if you are an undecided female voter in Ohio? It wasn't specific enough for them.
Okay, so he's human. But what's the real plan?