Sunday, September 9, 2012

What If They Gave a Political Convention and Nobody Watched? Further Reflections on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions

What If They Give a Convention and No One Watches?

Wait; that’s what happened. Ratings show a plunge in viewership from 4 years ago. I did not watch the conventions, except for about 45 minutes watching the airport TV during the DNC. My comments therefore come from news broadcast, the print media, and the internet. I have yet to view any of the presentations on Youtube.

Why should anyone watch this year? Every nanosecond of both conventions was choreographed, except for Clint Eastwood’s monolog with a stiff chair. Look where that got the GOP? The media did not understand the metaphor or metaphysics of the empty chair.

Robotic talking points are a bore, rather Republican or Democratic, on talk shows, press conferences, or conventions.The excitement came when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords came onto the floor and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Otherwise, no suspense; no excitement, just the media trying to find a griping issue when none existed. The mainstream media, which used to provide gavel to gavel coverage, broadcast only a few prime time hours this year.

Bring back the smoke filled rooms with deals being cut and backstabbing in vogue. Bring excitement to the conventions. Make them meaningful again, or at least exciting.

The last open Republican Convention was 1976 when Gerald ford narrowly edged out Ronald Reagan.  The Democrats have to look back to 1956 when presidential nominee Adlai E. Stevenson threw the Vice Presidency nomination to the convention. Senator Estes Kefauver beat Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy for the nomination.

The Republicans did a better job showcasing their emerging political leaders, especially minorities, but the GOP remains essentially white, which is not a good omen for the future. The Democratic convention was in Reverend Jesse Jackson’s earlier words a “rainbow coalition.”

The Republican Conventioneers consisted of professional politicians and those who “made it.” The Democratic conventioneers consisted of professional politicians, Hollywood celebrities, government workers, union members, and those otherwise dependent on the government.

President Obama’s speech could not be the uplifting “Hope and change” of three years ago. “Forward” doesn’t cut it. Instead, it was Stay the course,” but that was President Reagan’s theme in 1982. President Obama was therefore at a loss for words. There was “no there, there” in his 2008 speech, but it sounded inspiring and beautiful. He proved in 2012 that he still reads beautifully off a teleprompter. Now we all know “there’s no there, there.”

Vice President Biden was “literally” at a loss for words.

What do we learn from the party’s platforms, which hardly anyone ever read?

The Republicans are totally pro-life and the Democrats equally strongly pro-choice. That will only matter, and we’re not sure which way, if social issues rather than economic issues control this election.

Both Republicans and Democrats believe in fossil fuels, but we know President Obama does not. Actions speak louder than words.

Both Republicans and Democrats believe in God and Israel, but the Democrats needed three floor votes, and a disputed ruling from the apparently deaf convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa to put God and Israel back into the platform over a loud chorus of no’s. The anti-Israel, anti-God vote does not bode well for the party, America or Israel in the future,

Democrats believe in gay marriage. Republicans do not. I saw a billboard on 1-94 Friday near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, sponsored by the Republican Party:  “Obama believes in gay marriage and abortion; Do you?” We’ll see,

Both presidential candidates received the equivalent of a dead cat’s bounce from their conventions. President Obama remains in perilous territory. He can’t budge his favorability/unfavorability ratings.

Both political parties are once again reconsidering the role, purpose, and format of the conventions.

The federal government necessarily spends a small fortune on security for the two conventions. It should not though otherwise subsidize them.

The most unsettling part of the conventions was the speeches, the carefully worded speeches. I got the impression, especially from the Democratic speakers, that this was a personality cult rather than a debate on the issues. President Obama this, President Obama that, as if he were the high, exalted leader.

We do not need to feed his narcissism.

The moments that were not high praise consisted of tearing down the opposing candidate.

For that, we can view Jon Steward.


One week later we discover more of the farcial atmosphere of the Conventions. The Democratic Convention had a fleet of naval ships as a backdrop to saluting our veterans. The fleet is a Rusiian, and not American, fleet. Interpret that as you please.

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