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Suppose they gave a Republican Convention and nobody came?
OK, it probably won't be that bad. But according to a recent article in the online journal Politico,
Republicans are having a hard time getting their own people to show up for the big shindig in St. Paul, where the party will grudgingly nominate John McCain, a guy who gives an awful lot of them the hives.
"Of the 12 Republicans running in competitive Senate races," Politico reports, "five of whom are incumbents -- only three have said they will be attending the convention. Six are definite no-shows, and three are on the fence." As for House Republicans, Politico reports, National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Cole told aspiring Republican congressmen that attending the convention would be a "waste of time."
Why? Politico quotes one "Senate Republican press secretary" who understandably chose to remain anonymous: "Nobody likes a funeral."
I suppose this is what happens when your opponent's message is based around hope
and a vision for the future
and your message
is centered on....making fun of that.
It's hardly the sort of thing to draw big, cheering crowds. The party that once spread the message "it's morning in America"
is now the party that would respond to that message by sneering, "Who does he think he is, the sun?"
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is so desperate and so bereft of any message that its members are following Barack Obama like a bunch of stalkers,
hoping to catch him doing something "elitist" on his vacation in Hawaii. So far, the best they've been able to come up with is that he went to see the movie, "The Dark Knight."
Of course there are those Republican apologists in the so-called liberal media who can always be counted on to spread the Republican Party line that Obama is elitist for even going
to Hawaii, despite the fact that it's the state where he was born and where his grandmother lives. "Too foreign and exotic
," sniffed NPR's Cokie Roberts.
Foreign? Last I checked, Hawaii was part of the U.S
. Have we now decided that certain American states aren't American enough to vacation in without its being suspicious? All I can say is, if a Hawaiian vacation was good enough for the Brady Bunch,
it should be good enough for any American.
Anyway, back to the convention. Another factor depressing turnout, according to the Politico article, is that this year's convention is being held in St. Paul.
That, in case you'd forgotten, is in Minnesota. You know, America's heartland.
Unfortunately, according to the CEO of one Republican lobbying firm, St. Paul "doesn't quite have the environment and reputation of a New York City." Seems that for Republicans, the "real Americans" of the Midwest that they go on and on about are sort of like "the troops." Republicans love them in the abstract, but they don't actually want anything to do with them in real life.
Add to this the fact that George W. Bush, the Big Kahuna of the Republican Party, has an approval rating just slightly higher than that of rabies. His vice president, Darth Cheney, may actually, by convention time, have the first approval rating that will require the use of numbers to the right of the decimal point in order even to register on the scale. Frankly, the best thing Dubbya and Darth could do for their party is to fake some sort of mutual brush-clearing/shotgun-related injury and bail on the whole convention.
Of course, it could be worse. They could be in the position of the Nevada Republican Party -- whose leaders, according to The Las Vegas Sun
, actually had to cancel the party's state convention because they couldn't get a quorum on either of the times they attempted it, first in April, then in July.
"Among the nearly 1,400 invitations sent out" for the July convention, "only 230 were returned," reports The Sun. "So party leaders decided they would select the delegates for the national convention without reconvening." Party officials bemoaned what they called the "enthusiasm gap."
Of course, I think the national party will be able to get a quorum. But all in all, you're looking at the makings of one seriously uncomfortable and awkward public event. I'm going to be going through a lot of popcorn watching this one.
Oh, how the mighty are fallen. It seems to me that it wasn't so long ago that Republicans like Karl Rove were crowing about the dawn of a "Permanent Republican Majority." That was before the Bushistas and a Republican Congress apparently set out in earnest to prove the truth of the famous line from humorist P.J. O'Rourke: "Republicans are the party who tell you that government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it."
No wonder they're having so much trouble getting people to show up.