Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No Surprise Here

(Editorial cartoon by Jim Morin / Miami Herald (September 10, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC. Click on image to enlarge and then return.)

Doyle McManus' week-end column confirmed what I thought all along. Political conventions are held only to pump up the party faithful for the coming election.

Attending two political conventions back to back is like visiting two parallel universes: one conservative, one liberal; one overwhelmingly white, the other emphatically multiculti; and each one strangely confident that its candidate is on a steady course to victory. ...

Both campaigns can't be right, of course. But their mutual conviction that they have the advantage meant that neither side felt it had to move toward the middle. Instead, with both parties focused more on mobilization than persuasion, the conventions were aimed mostly at rousing the faithful.

That's why, in a year when the public's overriding concern is the economy, so much time at the conventions was devoted to the social issues that both define and divide right and left in America. The Republicans didn't shy away from talk about restricting abortion and defending traditional marriage, because so much of their base wants that message. The Democrats were a mirror image, defending abortion rights and applauding as Obama reiterated his support for gay marriage.
[Emphasis added]

While the economy was mentioned in each convention, little of any substance was said in either venue. And there was little mention of compromise, of reaching across the aisle to get things back on track and done. Of course, that would have been a lost cause in any event, at least for the Democrats, given the last 3+ years (see Morin's cartoon). Still, what we got over the last two weeks were unending pictures and sound bites of a divided nation.

Neither Romney nor Obama managed to use the conventions to open a commanding lead. That doesn't mean that their time was wasted. But it does mean that this campaign is likely to remain close, divisive and joyless. It's going to be a long 59 days.

Maybe the candidate's time wasn't wasted, but I sure felt like I was robbed.

And I'm getting pretty damned sick of popcorn.



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