Traditionally, way back in the last century, the national political conventions were interesting - even exciting - as delegates actually voted, platform (and even credentials) battles were fought over real issues, a nominee was selected and - as a bit of an anticlimax - he then proceeded to select a vice presidential nominee.
Traditionally, way back in the last century, the national political
conventions were interesting - even exciting - as delegates actually
voted, platform (and even credentials) battles were fought over real
issues, a nominee was selected and - as a bit of an anticlimax - he then
proceeded to select a vice presidential nominee.
Now, with the parties’ frenzy for TV ratings and seemingly unslakeable
thirst for campaign contributions, the primaries are front-loaded to the
point that our candidates are known by March, any serious policy issues
are thrown to minor candidates (are the Green Naderites pro-choice or
pro-life? Is Buchanan for permitting replacement of strikers?), and the
time from March until August is taken up with reporting fund-raising
totals and speculating about vice presidential candidates.
No wonder the public is bored out of its collective skull and the
networks are opting for ’reality’ programming over live coverage of the
One network wag has suggested a compromise - cover the conventions,
limit the number of delegates to one or two per state and require them
to select one of their number each day for execution (by lethal
injection, of course, and off-camera). We can expect such a version by
2004, I’m sure.
The stage is full of strategists and consultants, each seeking to pass
to some journalist a story favoring one candidate - or as the Bush
people demonstrated recently with John McCain’s last-minute bid for the
VP nod - strongly disfavoring another.
It was a grand exercise, by spinners (paid publicists) working all the
stops. Confronting a ’dead’ weekend, the McCain folks, still harboring
post-primary resentments, began what amounted to a full-court press,
offering up McCain for the vice presidential nomination.
The purpose was almost certainly to embarrass Bush and make him seem
ungenerous - even risking defeat - if he ’turned down’ McCain. But each
side knew such a ticket was as impossible as politics could be - for the
simple reason that each heartily dislikes the other.
Nevertheless, the McCain people eagerly let selected reporters in on the
(manufactured) secret that their man had said he would accept if Bush
offered the spot. Outmaneuvered, the Bush people carefully - and a bit
nastily - let their favorite sources know the Governor relied on the
Senator’s earlier refusals.
But the McCain ’boomlet’ remained. So the Bush strategists trotted out
Dick Cheney to publicly change his voter registration from Texas (where
he lived) to Wyoming (where he once lived) and leaked to anyone who
would listen that Cheney was the choice.
Hippocrates might say, ’Spin Physician, heal thyself.’