The coming major party conventions (Republicans August 27-30 from Tampa and Democrats September 3 through 6 from Charlotte) will give a good opportunity for the public to be informed about the platforms and promises of the two major parties. Unfortunately it is not as easy as just watching Television or listening to the Radio or even reading blogs and tweets on the internet. It is not the purpose of the Conventions to confer and build consensus for the party platforms. The platforms have long been a done deal. It is not the purpose of the Conventions to break any new ground or to offer new solutions or even to display plans for the future. It’s my opinion that conventions are designed to fulfill two needs: Rally the troops and show the world how united they are in their vision of how to make your life better. It was not always so.
Before radio and television, Conventions were where the back-room deals were made, the platforms hashed out, and the strategy formed to place the right people in the right places to increase the power of the party. Then radio came along and many political operatives learned that using radio broadcasts, they could influence politics both near and far with a single speech. It was no longer up to the reporters to report what you wanted them to report. Now you could be heard. This, of course, increased the importance of a good radio voice, but it became a powerful tool. Conventions could now tailor speeches for radio and could address the whole nation at one time.
Then along came television. Over the years, it has transformed the conventions. No longer could the battles between factions of the party be allowed at a convention under the bright lights and television cameras. Now all the deals had to be made before the convention. Now it is all a show of confident, strong leadership.
What to watch for in the Convention speeches:
Look for Democrats to take every opportunity to continue invoking class envy. Every speech will demonize the ‘bankers’ or the ‘insurance companies’ or ‘Wall Street’ or the ‘rich’. The strategy is to make you hate the people who have put you out of work or who foreclosed on your home or are to blame for whatever is wrong in your life. The Democrats are the party of Government Responsibility. In the speeches, you will hear that it is up to government to fix things, not people. They will downplay personal responsibility at every turn. Most of all, watch as the Democrats play the blame game. Mr. Bush is still at fault for all the ills of our nation. Four years was just not enough time to right all the wrongs of those they blame: Bush, Bankers, Rich People, Insurance Companies. They will try to scare seniors into believing that Republicans will take their social security checks to give to their friends to buy new yachts. They will tell you that no government service is unnecessary and that we just need to tax the rich a bit more so you won’t lose your special government entitlements.
The Democrats will not talk about performance in office unless it is couched in terms like, “we’d have done so much more except for those nasty Republicans who blocked us at every turn.” They will not talk about what our economy (or your personal economy) was like four years ago except when they say that George Bush started the whole mess. They will not talk about Bill Ayers or Bernadette Dorn or Jeremiah Wright. They will not talk about Mr. Obama’s secret college transcripts or how he paid for an Ivy League Education. They won’t talk about unemployment. They will not have many excited youth. They will have fewer middle class union employees walking lockstep with their campaign. It will be slick and it will be filled with fluff, but the Democrats will avoid facts and detailed plans, or they will lose.
Watch for the Republicans to make out the current Democrat dominated government to be a bunch of incompetents. They will point out all the failings of Mr. Obama and his elite friends who get special treatment while the nation suffers. They will talk about Michelle’s Million Dollar Vacations. They will rail against the Washington, D. C. crowd and liberals of every sort. They will call them big-spenders. They will blame most of our ills on a government that has exceeded the needs of its people. They will talk of smaller government, fewer bureaucracies, and more personal responsibility. In their speeches you will hear them say that our nation can’t afford four more years of mismanagement.
They will talk about personal responsibility. They will ask you how much energy has been produced by a $27 Billion-a-year Department of Energy. They will remind you that a government that can set a higher tax rate for people who make $250,000 a year can also draw the line at $50,000 a year. They will ask you why Mr. Obama’s cabinet has almost no member with any private industry experience. They will ask you why you need a photo ID to borrow a book at the library or to travel to Canada or Mexico but not to vote for the leader of the Free World. They want you to question everything your government is doing. They will lay out plans to reform Health Care, Social Security, and Immigration. They will portray themselves as the party of change and show their opponents to be the ones who want to to be kept in your place. It will not be as slick as the Democrats but if they can make a simple straightforward argument to convince voters that they will make the tough calls and will fix our ills, they stand a chance of winning.
What would be exciting to see (semi conspiracy theory stuff): With yesterday’s Newsweek Cover story suggesting that Mr. Obama needs to be replaced, what is the likelihood that Bill Clinton is behind the story and that this is just the start of an inside effort to replace Mr. Obama on the Democrat ticket. Hillary comes to the rescue of the party and accepts the party’s nomination. Think how much fun it would be to watch that convention. It could happen. I may be wrong, but I don’t think any of the delegates to the convention are bound to vote for Mr. Obama for President. And then, if you want it to really be fun, what would happen if Hillary chose as her running mate, Bill Clinton. Now that would be drama made for Television! It would also be a slam-dunk for the Democrats.