Monday, May 05, 2003

Conventional Antics

Since everyone else seems to be talking about next year's Republican convention, I suppose I will as well. I'm a follower like that.

The Republicans have scheduled themselves into a bit of a dilemma, as this Chicago Tribune story points out (via Wampum). Apparently, because they have scheduled the convention so late, Bush may not be able to be on the ballot in Alabama, California, and West Virginia.

It is quite obvious (and has in fact been tacitly admitted) that the purpose of such a late convention is to coincide with the September 11th anniversary. The other major reason, one which hasn't been admitted to, but is equally obvious, is that Karl Rove knows that he needs to keep Bush off the campaign trail as long as possible so as to minimize the possibility that Bush will do or say something stupid.

Bush isn't going to win California, so, technically, having to conduct a write-in campaign there isn't going to hurt him, and Alabama's 9 electoral votes aren't likely to be the margin of victory (besides, is there any chance in hell Alabama would go to the Democratic candidate, even if voters had to write in Bush's name?).

The main problem stemming from the "Bush not on the ballot" issue is that it makes the Republicans look foolish and disorganized.

Which means that it isn't a problem at all, because the President does a more than adequate job of that himself.

That isn't going to stop the GOP from trying to use this issue against the Democrats, however. There will be a lot of accusations (especially in California, where the Democrats control the state legislature) of "unfairness", as if it's the Democrats' fault that the convention was scheduled so late.

So, the smart Democratic response should be, in nice convenient sound-bite form, "Reschedule the convention."

Anytime the issue comes up, that should be the answer, over and over again. In fact, if we can get someone to rig a small speaker to constantly whisper that phrase under Peggy Noonan's pillow, we'll start seeing columns in the Wall Street Journal editorial page under her byline that consist of nothing but variations on that theme.

The two reasons for this are:

1) It tosses the blame for the foul up right back in the GOP's lap.

2) It gives the GOP a solution that seems reasonable to average people, but is in fact virtually impossible. The way reservations for major venues work, you have to reserve them way in advance. If the GOP wanted to schedule the convention earlier, they would almost certainly have to hold it in a different city, which would void their entire reason for holding it in New York.

Whatever happens, this isn't going to be a major issue in and of itself. The only thing about the scheduling of the convention that could really hurt the GOP is the (correct! Correct Goddamnit!) perception that they're using the events of 9/11 for political gain.

But, until someone in the Liberal Media makes that exploitation a big issue:

Reschedule the convention.

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