Monday, July 23, 2012

Conventional Wisdom

What happens if you throw a party and nobody comes?

The two major parties should begin contemplating that eventuality.  In late August and early September, the national conventions for the Democrats and the Republicans will be staged, and the biggest news is the list of who is not coming.  The Democrats don’t want to go.  The Republicans don’t want people to come. 

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says that Democratic members of Congress should say home in their districts and skip the convention.  Most Democratic members of Congress appreciated the political cover since they weren’t going to show up anyway.  Half don’t want to be tied to Obama’s shortened coattails; the other half has laundry that’s been piling up.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will not be attending the convention, becoming the third Democratic senator, and eighth Democratic member of Congress, to opt out of the event.  Maybe they should change the date to make it more convenient, or perhaps arrange for a GoTo Meeting session instead.   

“I’m not encouraging anyone to go to the convention, having nothing to do with anything except I think they should stay home, campaign in their districts, use their financial and political resources to help them win their election,” Pelosi told Politico in an interview.

Should be a hell of a party.  It will be so exciting that you should stay home.  If Biden doesn’t cuss from the podium, there will be no news generated over 4 full days.

While Democrats don’t want to go to their convention, Republicans aren’t welcome at theirs.  Former President George W. Bush, rumored to have been a member of the party now seeking power, has decided to accept his dis-invitation, ostensibly to ‘spend more time with his family’.  Who thinks that had he not been the most unpopular president in modern polling at the end of his term that he might have space in his busy schedule to appear?

“He supports Gov. Romney and wants him to succeed,” George W. Bush spokesperson Freddy Ford said in a statement.  What was left unsaid was that Bush staying home gives Romney a better chance at success.  If you thought Obama’s coattails were short, Bush’s are less than threadbare.

Last cycle’s most prodigious fundraiser and everyone’s favorite hockey mom turned Fox paid political commentator, Sarah Palin, sits waiting by her Facebook account for her eVite.  She was the nominee of her party for Vice President 4 years ago, and today she can’t get an invitation to the big party.  Sounds like the plot for a new reality show, Palin Gets Punk’d.      

Ron Paul won’t be speaking.  Hard to imagine Romney allowing Michelle Bachmann within 100 yards of a microphone at this year’s gala given the intra-party shellacking she just received for her McCarthyism Redux.  Herman Cain certainly doesn’t project the image of steady leadership that Romney is looking to portray, and there should be a legitimate fear that Cain’s negatives with women wouldn’t help Romney in November.

Then there’s Gingrich.  Since he invented the attack on Romney’s vulture capitalism and pressed Romney to release his tax returns as hard as any Democrat ever has, I am certain that Romney would not be disappointed if Newt scheduled another Greek cruise with his 3rd campaign chair, Calista, during the convention week. 

The real problem is, of course, that if the American public gets a load of all of the crazies that pass for party leaders in Republicanville on one stage, it will be more difficult for Romney to pretend that he is actually running as an independent.  It doesn’t help that the Republicans selected Romney by default, which detracts from the festive nature of the coronation.

Beyond the specific 2012 considerations, the days of the national party conventions being a meaningful part of the political process are over, and both parties know it.  Leaders across the political spectrum are avoiding their own conventions, following the lead of TV viewers for the past 20 years.  As I wrote in the opening paragraph, the public knows that the conventions are ‘staged’.  In the Golden Age of Reality TV, we don’t need no stinkin’ staged. 

Let’s face the music.  The major political conventions are C-SPAN with balloons.  Why would anyone go or watch?  You’ve got to be a real loser to follow these non-events in the 21st century. 

I’ll let you know what happens. 

No comments:

Post a Comment