Don't Go There
The best news for all concerned came from the weather--God speaking directly to us?--when the threat of Hurricane Isaac hitting the Tampa area led the Republicans' convention planners to cancel Monday's activities. There wasn't much on there, anyway; the national networks weren't even going to carry it. Now Tuesday could still be threatened by the storm, but the Republicans plan to go forward with that day's schedule come hell or high water--or both.
In thinking about what I could recommend to my dear reader for their viewing of the convention, initially I drew a blank. Congressman/VP nominee Paul Ryan's speech could be interesting if he were to be allowed to say what he really thought the country should be doing, but he will certainly be limited to endorsing the Romney non-plan, so I would strike that off my list. Given the party platform, there could be some entertainment appeal in watching Tea party birdbrains give some sort of freak show about the platform, but I think that sort of thing will be minimized (no Sarah Palin, for example; Todd Akin will probably be warned to keep his distance from TV interviewers, though what they can threaten him with is unclear). Ron Paul (with Ryan, the two have two first-name surnames, a total of three first names, many ideas in common, and no chance of ever cooperating on anything due to their diverse constutencies, age groups, and levels of ambition) may be allowed into the arena, but he won't be permitted to speak or have his name placed into nomination, so nothing there.
Here's what I'm left with: four possibilities. I recommend you watch no more than three of these, a total of about three hours. Like Fox News, more than the recommended dose can lead to insanity. If you find yourself at home, with no obligations for Tuesday-Thursday, do not under any circumstances leave the TV on all day, or your friends may find you drooling or worse.
1) Mitt's acceptance speech: It will be corny, probably bile-inducing, but I admit some curiosity. Romney fans are looking for him to re-brand himself, show himself to be the warm, personable human being they claim he is, as opposed to the clammed-up robot that he has presented in his campaign. I am dubious about the likelihood of that approach working for him. He also has the potential opportunity to present some ideas for the future, which I see being the best possible approach for him. If he harps too much about the failures of the current administration, I will turn it off, regardless.
2) Chris Christie's keynote speech: This is his audition for the 2016 nomination if/when Romney doesn't win (or in the unlikely event that he decides not to run for re-election). Actually, Christie's best and only hope is that Romney doesn't win; if for some reason Mitt were dead, incapacitated, or (least likely) decided his full ambitions were satisfied by one term in office, Ryan would be the clear favorite. Christie's opportunity will come if the rightward swing in the party is repudiated this year; he knows it, we know it, so the trick will be to get that across to the American people while appearing to endorse the current thread of party groupthink.
3) Marco Rubio's nominating speech for Romney: I think this was a pretty good idea for the party planners. Rubio's a guy who would like everyone to know him better, and that feeling may be reciprocated in the public. Instead of plugging himself, he can show himself to be a good team player. And, it could be the start of a late-inning play to try to take back some Hispanic votes (especially in super-critical Florida) before it's too late.
4) Ann Romney's speech: This is probably the single most interesting aspect of the convention. Ms. Romney is broadly considered a Stepford wife (reference to obscure '70's movie--with even more obscure 2004 remake!--about suburban wives who were replaced by robots, with nobody noticing the switch), and I think the characterization is unfair. She is a good, loyal Mormon wife, which means cheerfully accepting baby-making house slave roles, but I believe she has a good head on her shoulders. This is an opportunity for her to show what she can do with it, as well as being a convention curiosity item--and perhaps it may be a gauntlet thrown down to First Lady Michelle Obama, who might feel she has to respond with her own speech in a couple of weeks. I'm guessing Ann's results will not compel Michelle to act, and she will choose to try to stay above it all (her clear preference), but we will see.
Actually, though I have no great interest in the RepubliCon proceedings, these potential highlights I've named may hold greater interest than most of the Democratic convention coming up. It may be an even greater challenge for the Dems to come up with something interesting then.