Monday, September 01, 2008

Campaign, Interrupted

So we won't be having a lavish spectacle for the Republican National Convention. Out of the goodness of his heart and a desire not to be linked with Bush's pathetic efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, John McCain has agreed that there will only be a minimal, perfunctory nominating convention so that efforts can be concentrated on Hurricane Gustav. While on the one hand I applaud any efforts to focus on averting major tragedy, it's hard not to see this as more political opportunism. Let's look at the advantages of limiting the convention for Gustav victims vs. the advantages to the McCain Campaign:

Advantages to New Orleans:

Focuses Attention on the Crisis
Allows President Bush to Focus on the Crisis.

That seems to me to be about it. Having John McCain on call during the Gustav emergency does not seem to me to be any more crucial than having any of the other 99 U.S. Senators on call (less crucial than Mary Landrieu and David Vitter). In addition, to be frank, most of the major news outlets had already decided to focus their attentions on Hurricane Gustav, so this move seems almost like a face-saving one.

Advantages to the McCain Campaign:

No Fiddling While Rome Burns

This is one of the ostensible reasons for the move, so that the Republicans don't appear to be partying and celebrating in the midst of a crisis, but frankly I think it's the least of the true reasons. For example, now...

Bush and Cheney Don't Have to Speak at the Convention

Given that the McCain campaign is desperately trying to distance itself from the Bush Administration, this is a huge plus.

Less Attention on Sarah Palin

Given that this woman seems to be little more than bait for women voters, I'm guessing the less she says and the less she is scrutinized, the better.

No Comparisons Between McCain Speech and Obama speech

Clearly McCain did not have a chance to match Obama's speech, both because he is less skilled at oratory and he has less to say. What was he going to proclaim, that that 90% of the time that he voted with Bush was a fluke? That he represents change even though he comes from the same party that has bludgeoned this country for the last eight years? I don't think so.

While I hope New Orleans benefits from this move, it really seems to be another pandering political move, like the selection of Palin, designed to win an election for a party that clearly doesn't have the facts or the issues on its side. Well, who can blame them, it's worked before. Let's hope the American people are too smart for them this time.

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