Monday, August 13, 2012

Sarah Palin Not Speaking at GOP Convention...

According to CNN, Sarah Palin will not be speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL at the end of the month. Palin released this statement addressing the convention:

"This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them," Palin wrote. "As I've repeatedly said, I support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their efforts to replace President Obama at the ballot box, and I intend to focus on grassroots efforts to rally Independents and the GOP base to elect Senate and House members so a wise Congress is ready to work with our new President to get our country back on the right path."

Why wouldn't the GOP want one of its most well known voices addressing the convention? 

For the same reason they don't load up on right wing talk show hosts. 

Political conventions are wildly over-rated. There is usually little drama to them except in the case of a brokered convention, which despite a handful of expected brokered conventions, hasn't actually happened since 1952 (Adlai Stevenson). The last candidate to actually win the Presidency from a brokered convention was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. 

With little real drama, conventions are more of a "fire up the base" affair which most people don't watch. The keynote and acceptance speeches from both the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees receive most of the attention, but usually its a slightly more high-minded presentation of the argument that's already been repeated ad nauseum  on the campaign trail over the prior six months or so. The nominees enjoy a bump in the polls, which is usually temporary. 

Palin would certainly bring the house down and she's clearly on the far right of the political spectrum. She would be the highest profile female speaker (unless Nancy Reagan made an appearance, which I suspect she will...briefly.) She would also bring her reputation of a ill-informed, money grabbing opportunist, political light-weight and prove to be a distraction.

It's to the credit of the GOP that they will not feature her this year. Internally, the Republican party began its distancing away from Palin in early 2011 as her favorability ratings AMONG REPUBLICANS fell to a stunning 28 percent at one point in 2011.  The far Right like her, but stimulating the far Right crowd does nothing to bring undecided voters into the fold. The GOP will be aiming at the meaty part of the bell curve of the undecideds. They will, I predict, feature more moderate voices this convention so as to appear reasonable, adult-like and suitable for a vote on election day. 

That said, the GOP wants Palin to keep doing what Palin does best. Chirp away from the confines of Fox News. Which is where she'll likely be making any comments from during the convention. 


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