Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A few words on the Republican / Democratic Conventions...

I have no essay prepared for either political convention. I have no long-winded thoughts to share on either Party's group hugfest. These are nothing more than political pep rallies where each Party will demonize the other Party's nominee's to no end, describe the fall of a nation that will surely transpire if "fill in the blank" is or isn't elected. This election will be described as the most important election in our lifetimes. There will be praise aimed at the nominees from each of their Party's-much of which is undeserved. 

This week, if you're a Republican or to a lessor degree a Conservative, you'll probably enjoy the speeches, the feigned drama, etc. unfolding in Tampa. You'll hear all the great things about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and all the terrible things about Barack Obama and Joe Biden. You'll hear countless speeches from fellow Party members all basically saying the same things. There is a Party line that needs to be adhered to, and woe to anyone (Todd Akin?) who wanders too far off the reservation. 

Next week, if you're a Democrat or to a lessor degree a Progressive, you'll probably enjoy the speeches, the feigned drama, etc. unfolding in Charlotte. You'll hear all the great things about Barack Obama and Joe Biden and all the terrible things about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. You'll hear countless speeches from fellow Party members all basically saying the same things. There is a Party line that needs to be adhered to, and woe to anyone (Joe Biden?) who wanders too far off the reservation. 

We'll meet Mrs. Romney and Mrs. Obama. Both will take time to paint their husbands as the consummate husband, father, partner. They will share stories they reflect sides of their personalities that we don't often get to see. Mrs. Romney especially will drive home the warmth and character of her husband, who has been portrayed as a cold, money-grabbing sort. The real Mr. Romney lies somewhere in between the two representations of him.

This week, various attack dogs will be unleashed upon Barack Obama's record. Tonight Rick Santorum and then in the headliner speech of the evening, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will pull no punches. I suspect Mr. Santorum will address Obama's alleged "war on religion", while Christie hammers him on everything else. (This is batting practice for Christie...I suspect it to be quite rough and the crowd to be in an absolute frenzy by the time he's done.)

Next week, various attack dogs from the Left will attack the Romney/Ryan ticket with equal fervor. I'm not sure of the order, but we'll be hearing from former President Bill Clinton, former Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, plus Elizabeth Warren, Caroline Kennedy and Sandra Fluke. (I suspect Emanuel will be the Democratic attack dog...)

There is no question as to whom each Party will officially nominate as its candidate. None. There will be a slight bump in the polls, a temporary one, for each candidate after the conventions are over. I'm aware of no political scientist or pundit who feels the election will be won or lost over the next two weeks. Yes, if Romney can re-introduce himself as a caring, compassionate, warm, capable executive it'll help his cause. If he can't, it won't help his cause. Barack Obama is mostly well-known to his supporters and has no such challenge before him. I suppose in that vein, the Convention is more important to Mr. Romney than it is to Mr. Obama. 

After the Conventions, we'll spend a month of more stump speeches and a few interviews, which bring us to the debates, the first of which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012. There will be two additional Presidential Debates and one Vice Presidential Debate by October 22, 2012. 

The debates will be far more important to determining the outcome on Election Day than either of the Conventions. I caution supporters on both sides of the debate to take the next two weeks with a grain of salt. They are pep rallies and you're supposed to walk away from those feeling like there's no way in the world your team candidate can lose. Republican's will be on cloud nine by late Thursday evening, as Democrats will be by late next week. Look for a heightened level of rhetoric on facebook and your favorite message boards. Take that too with a grain of salt. Or put another way, I'll share a favorite quote from Mr. Shakespeare:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
 — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

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