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Are Political Conventions Passé?

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: Scott Romney (brother of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney) dances during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Two stories are sucking all the oxygen out of the room this week. Hurricane Isaac and the Republican National Convention. Both are wrestling for front-page headlines. Each party is trying to figure out how to use the storm to put the opposing party on the defensive.

Cheering the nomination of the Romney/Ryan ticket while people’s homes are being flooded? Celebratory balloons falling from the conventional hall ceiling while torrents of rain pummel the hapless citizens of New Orleans 19th Ward? That can’t be good party PR. But what should the republicans do? Sit in stoned silence and render polite applause to electrifying speakers who’ve been told to “tone it down?” Is there any day of the year that someone in the United States is NOT being dealt a “bad hand?”

Dumb Decisions

Florida is up for grabs but it has traditionally been a GOP state. So there is good reason for the Republicans to consider Florida as a possible convention location. And, more hurricanes seem to go up the East Coastline than venture into the Gulf Region. Inland Orlando might have been a better choice weather wise.

Before you put the dunce cap on the Republicans, the Democrats decision making process also raises some questions. Their convention is in Charlotte, North Carolina. North Carolina is another swing state that Democrats need to win if they expect to retain both the Senate and White House. But, North Carolina is a “Right-to-Work State.” A fact that was definitely not lost on the sizable union population of the country that usually votes with the Democratic Party.

It gives one pause, given the questionable location choices, to wonder if these are an indication of the kind of decisions that will be made by our elected leaders after the convention? All of a sudden, an attack on Antarctica doesn’t seem so far fetched.

Are Conventions Really Necessary?

The candidates have won enough votes during the primary process and the nominations are not in question.  The nominations of Obama/ Biden vs. Romney/Ryan are as certain as death and taxes. So why the four day, very expensive, showmance, for the American People, when 90% of the country already know who they’ll vote for?

Earlier conventions were much more fun and much more exciting to watch. Delegate’s votes were locked in for the first vote. But after that the gloves come off. More roll call votes and pontificating speakers pleaded their case to the masses. By day for a winner emerged from the ashes and the campaign began in earnest. This years campaign began on January 21, 2008 and has been going on ever since.

Promises, Promises

Let me take a wild guess. Both parties will fix my social security, end all wars, give me cradle to grave healthcare, improve my kids education, clean the air, water and land. Save the Ozone Layer, reduce fossil fuel use, lower my taxes, and put a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. Does that about cover it? And four years from now, a similar group of pontificating old men will promise more of the same. Exactly how dumb are we? Go back and reread the acceptance speeches of Obama and McCain and compare them to what you’re going to hear over the next couple of weeks. See any differences? Any similarities?

Some Final Thoughts

I guess politics just might be your best entertainment. Not so much the politicians as the voters and news media. Scrambling to come up with new slants on the same old stories we’ve all heard many times over.

Who will make the biggest gaff at the convention? Who will blow the debates? Who will be Reagan and who will be Mondale? Who will be Benson and who will be Quayle? Thankfully there are only 70 plus days left in the current campaign. January 21, 2013 we can start it all over again.

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