BRING ON THE LIONS AND THE CHRISTIANS!

Oh, come on, RNC! You’ve given away the show, and the networks know it. That’s why they’re not bothering to broadcast more than an hour or three of the entire convention—there’s nothing left but the anointment.

You could have had days of Ron Paul shenanigans: will he or won’t he? How many delegates has he captured, and what will he demand for them in trade? Suspense rules, and now you’ve spoiled the entire third act. We’re left with Mike Huckabee being all warm and fuzzy, and that’s a poor second to Gordon Ramsay going postal, or even a rerun of America’s Got Talent. At least those people are trying to be entertaining.

DSCN0489The Republicans have been running a bland campaign, and now they are hosting a bland convention. President Obama has given Mitt Romney a terrific opportunity to capitalize on the state of the economy, but so far Mr. Romney has not chosen to battle on the field of ideas. Now he’s even given up on creating a spectacle for the masses.

This week was your chance to show some spark, some life, and you’ve given it all away in favor of having every Tee crossed, every i dotted. Ron Paul was your ticket to the big time. If you’d let him off the leash, the networks would be clamoring for coverage. Every news anchor would have been panting after the delegates, eager to know who had pledged to Ron Paul, which way would they vote, and whether there were enough votes to require a second ballot.

You think that the Akin gaffe got coverage? There would have been minute by minute updates of each of the delegates who had pledged to Ron Paul: intimate histories from their high school years, in-depth analysis of their ability to withstand the type of pressure the Romney campaign would impose, interviews with their neighbors (“He was always such a quiet man. Who knew he’d pledge to support Ron Paul?”)

You even had a teachable moment there, about the way caucuses work, and the whole nomination process. The networks could have had interactive charts, showing the difference between the delegates “won” at the original beauty contest caucuses versus the actual pledges. But you threw it away. The only thing that would make it worse is if you tried to sew up the caucuses ahead of time, so that no one like Ron Paul could work his magic on the delegates before they vote. Oh, yeah, you’re already trying to do that for the 2016 process.

We could have had some sort of knock-down, drag out fight between the fiscal conservatives, who want smaller government, and the anti-abortion activists, who think that the government ought to intervene in at least this one corner of the world. But that won’t happen, either.

So what’s the point of the convention? More and more, it’s just another platform for platitudes and speeches. No wonder the networks aren’t interested. We’ve already heard that the platform doesn’t count. Now Ron Paul doesn’t count. The only thing that counts is the number of delegates, and that counting’s already been done. The only thrill will come if Isaac changes course and bashes a few waves against the shoreline in Tampa while the Republican bigwigs huddle in terror a few feet away.

The convention is more and more just shaping up as a big party, and at a time when so many people are suffering in this economy, why in the world would they want to watch a bunch of fat cat Republicans yukking it up in Florida? Or is that the point? To make the whole nominating process a foregone conclusion, to allow a front-runner to quickly outpace the rest of the pack, and to prevent that annoying nipping at your heels?

When I first heard that the major networks were not planning to cover tonight’s session of the Republican convention, I thought that this was yet another liberal conspiracy. But I’m beginning to think that it’s a Republican conspiracy, once again tilting the contest in favor of the powers that be.

Once more, you are showing that there is not much difference between the parties—anyone who colors outside the lines is shown the door. This convention could have showcased the down and dirty of American politics: shouting matches over abortion rights, arm-twisting of wavering delegates, maybe even some fisticuffs. Instead, we’re treated to a staid coronation—we might as well have the Queen Mum in attendance.

Or perhaps the Republicans are attempting to raise the level of discourse. Maybe they have gotten all impediments out of the way so that they can spend the hours they have left in sharing their plan for America with the rest of us. Perhaps Mr. Romney has set up a PowerPoint presentation, complete with flow charts, that specifically sets out his vision for a better tomorrow. He has given up the larger audience in favor of a detailed explanation to those who will live stream it, trusting that trickle down will apply to information as well as economics. He knows that that sort of heady stuff won’t resonate with the viewers of Grimm, and he’s content with getting his message across to the policy wonks who’ll be following on-line. Why don’t I believe that to be the case?

With all of the hours that have been spent covering this election, I’m still waiting for the race to be about something other than which party will gut Medicare less. Come on, Mr. Romney! If you won’t talk policy, at least give us a show!

Mr. Romney claims that he has the right answers for the country, and that we are in dire need of his services now. Why isn’t he either playing to the frantic crowds, eager for blood, or extolling his vision to the talking heads? This is the future of our country we’re talking about here, we’d like to see a little excitement. Or information. Either will do. Play to the head or to the heart, but do something!

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