WASHINGTON, August 25, 2012 —UPDATE: Thanks to the force of Hurricane Isaac passing so close to Tampa, the Monday session of the Republican Convention has been cancelled, except to call the the Convention to order and then will immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon. The postponement of the Convention’s opening was to ensure the safety of everyone attending the convention as well as the residents of Tampa.
However, that means the nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will now take place on Tuesday. The wide range of speakers, including Senator Rand Paul (Ky.), son of Congressman and once presidential nominee Ron Paul, House Speaker John Boehner and Tea Party candidate for Senate and rising GOP star Ted Cruz (Texas) will be rescheduled later in the week.
Viewers and the networks are not expecting the kind of excitement that Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama generated at their conventions in 2008. In fact, there is not much buzz about either convention, no matter how hard the two parties try to gin it up.
For the Republicans, whose convention starts on Monday and runs through Thursday, the Ron Paul supporters have been appeased by a video tribute to their hero while his son will speak on Monday night. So no mayhem expected. It could have made for great TV, although a bad convention.
While Missouri Congressman Todd Akin — who stirred up a hornet’s nest with his remarks about “legitimate rape” and how a woman’s body can thwart a real rape from ending in a pregnancy — is already in Tampa, revving up support from evangelicals and social conservatives, but he is not scheduled to speak and never was. Could he cause more havoc than Hurricane Isaac that now threatens Tampa? Like the hurricane, look for Akin to blow out to sea.
So with no fireworks, the major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC are only handing over one hour per night of prime time (for both conventions), and they have now said they won’t even cover the opening of the Republican or Democratic Conventions on Monday night, believing them to be yawn worthy. Not so. There will be high drama and low comedy, something for everybody.
Such dismissal of the convention’s relevancy has Republican blood boiling and for good reason: Ann Romney was to speak Monday night. The GOP had been in negotiations to get her coverage because she always makes a good case for her husband, softening his wooden edges. She is not called Mitt’s secret weapon for nothing. But networks refused to budge, opting for retreads of popular shows instead. So RNC has moved Ann Romney to Tuesday night when there will be prime time coverage.
Cable TV, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, however, will be covering the convention, not gavel to gavel, but with their usual talking heads, telling us way more than we ever wanted to know, including documentaries on Romney and Obama. But the mainstream media opted to take a pass, which means millions of Americans won’t be getting the full flavor of the conventions like they used to when TV was king.
But the GOP is barreling ahead as it must and has released Convention schedule of speakers and when they will speak so they can be followed via live streaming. Anyone who follows GOP politics know Republicans are a disciplined bunch, so they will adhere to their schedule, although it can come across a bit more robotic than spontaneous: It’s 8:16 p.m., release the red balloons.
Monday, August 27: Events and speakers for this session have been postponed until later in the week.
The theme of the evening will be “We Can Do Better” or as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus puts it: “Americans know we can do better than joblessness, poverty and debt. This convention ill present our vision for a brighter, better future and it will lay out an optimistic, achievable plan to make it happen.”
What many of us will miss is the nomination process that was moved up two nights to bury it on a Monday when prime time TV cameras won’t be turned on. What are the Republicans trying to avoid? Some 200 plus Ron Paul delegates whooping it up and maybe even getting out of control in honor of their candidate.
That is why they get to hear Ron Paul’s son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul speak, sort of a sop to Paulbots. And another treat to keep the Paulbots in line is the promise of video tribute to Ron Paul on Tuesday night. In return, the Paul supporters will be on their best behavior. However, MSNBC has promised to have its cameras rolling for the hijinks of the nomination process, probably the most spontaneous thing that will happen at a tightly scripted convention.
Also speaking, but not seen by most people watching regular TV, will be Tea Party’s latest golden boy, Ted Cruz, running for and expected to win the Texas Senate seat, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Supposedly somewhere in the mix will be casino owner and birther extraordinaire Donald Trump, who promises us a surprise. Hope the Republicans are ready for it.
Also up at the mike that night will be Democratic defector Artur Davis, who spoke at the Democratic convention, House Speaker John Boehner, Florida Governor Rick Scott, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and Virginia Governor Bob McConnell.
And potentially more interesting, the platform of the Republican Party will finally be unveiled with the controversial language of banning abortion in cases of rape and incest, an albatross around the neck of Romney. It is also said to contain a plank banning U.S. courts from considering Islamic Shariah law when making legal decisions. Whew! Thank God for Republicans. Never knew we were in danger of succumbing to Shariah law.
Tuesday, August 28:
Mitt Romney’s not so secret weapon, Ann Romney is now the headliner for Tuesday evening, sometime after 8 p.m. If anyone can bridge the vast gender gap that Mitt Romney faces, it is Ann Romney who can humanize her husband as a father and family man.
This is also the convention’s big night to roll out its message, “We Built It,” furthering the GOP’s campaign theme that President Obama had said that businesses “didn’t build that.” He actually said they did, but that they were successful because of America and its government. In fact, the very building (the Tampa Bay Times Forum) the convention is being held in was built with both government and private sector dollars, with the government funding 62% or $86 million of the $139 million project.
The Keynoter will be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is a tough cookie and expected to deliver a firebrand speech that should bring the convention to its collective feet with the kind of red meat politics all delegates love. Also ready to hold the Democrats and President Obama in particular accountable will be Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Ohio Governor John Kasich along with former presidential nomination rival Rick Santorum.
Sadly, most of this will not be covered by CBS, NBC, or ABC, who have elected to run only one hour a night and that most likely means only Christie and Ann Romney will be seen and heard by most people.
Wednesday, August 29:
Wednesday is stacking up as a lull of dull with the likes of Senators Mitch McConnell (Ky.), John McCain (Ariz.), John Thune (S.D.), Jeb Bush (Fla.), and Rob Portman (Ohio), and, oh yes, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Then things pick up a bit with former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, who sets the stage for Vice Presidential nominee Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.
Whatever can be said about Ryan, he is never boring, so the evening should end with Republican fireworks, even though fact checkers everywhere will be working overtime.
Thursday, August 30:
Thursday is Mitt Romney’s moment in the sun, even if he goes on long after sundown. The evening’s theme is “We Believe in America,” which you have probably seen on many of the banners behind Romney stump speeches, of course, implying that Obama doesn’t believe in America.
“Thursday’s program will focus the national spotlight on the many reasons Governor Mitt Romney is uniquely suited to lead us through the challenges our nation faces during this difficult time,” explained RNC Chairman Priebus.
“Millions of Americans know Mitt Romney as a public man, who helped build nationally-known businesses like Staples and Sports Authority, balanced the budget in Massachusetts without tax hikes and rescued the scandal-ridden 2002 Winter Olympics.”
“Thursday’s program will introduce America to the Mitt Romney his family and close friends know,” added Convention CEO William Harris.
There will be a video to highlight that side of Romney before being introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Hispanic American, who is seen as the face of the next generation of Republicans.
Romney’s Crowning Moment?
This will be the most important speech Romney will ever make. Millions will be watching, many of them Independents, waiting to be won over. For Romney, this is a make or break speech. Can his words sing and soar? Or will they fall flat and wooden? Can Romney break free of his public persona and let the real man shine through, the one Ann Romney and his sons talk about? Can voters like Mitt Romney?
Despite the bad economy, despite abortion debates, despite the issue of “legitimate rape,” despite all the problems that dog the current administration, one of the lessons of the past campaigns is that the average voters vote with their gut or their heart, better known as the Likeability Quotient.
So even while Americans think that Romney (52%) is probably able to better handle the economy than Obama (43%), the President wins the Likeability contest hands down 54% to 31%, a gap of 23 points, according to the latest Gallup poll.
Thursday night, Romney, with the help of his secret weapon, needs to make the case that he is more than competent, that he is not only likeable, but that he cares about people like us.
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To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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