It starts Sunday night in Tampa; 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories will gather together to nominate their choice for president of the United States at the 40th Republican National Convention.
Conventions are more important for the challenging party as it is their first chance to be alone on the national stage. For three nights they will own the news cycle. And for Romney it will be one more “audition” for the office of President but this time the stage and the audience is much bigger.
This year has been an unusual one for the primary process and the general election so far, and I suspect both the Republican and Democratic Party showcases will have some surprises. Along with the normal convention proceedings, there might be other convention drama at the convention venue, elsewhere in the country and there are even rumors of a foreign crisis timed for the convention season.
The Republican affair in Florida is bound to have more “off agenda drama” than the DNC one simply because incumbents tend to have better control of the goings on.
Most speakers will be looking to accomplish two things with their speeches. To further the cause of their candidate in the November election, and to further their own political career on a national stage.
Eight years ago an obscure State Senator from Illinois, stepped up to the podium to give a keynote speech to the Democratic Party convention and became the Democratic Party’s rising star. Ironically he made that speech as Jews across the world were ending the fast of Tisha b’ Av, perhaps an omen about State Senator Obama’s Israel policy once he became president.
This year it will be Chris Christie, governor of NJ delivering the keynote speech for the GOP. This is an opportunity for the governor to move beyond New Jersey, and project his image to a national audience. The RNC is hoping for Christie to deliver his oratory with his usual “tell it as it is” “take no prisoners” style to get the attendees excited for the test of the convention.
Marco Rubio of Florida will be making the big speech introducing Romney the last night of the convention as Romney gives his acceptance speech. Rubio’s job will be similar; to rally the crowd for what will be Romney’s most important speech of the campaign. Rubio also considered a GOP rising star and even more important (to Romney) is Senator from the important state of Florida, which Romney needs in his electoral column.
Between Christie’s speech on opening night and the traditional “everyone on the stage holding up their hands as balloons fall from the rafters” tableau at the end of the convention there is much that can and will happen. Some of it may include:
- Protest by Ron Paul Supporters: the “Paulistinians” have a dream that their guy’s name is allowed to be nominated at the RNC and all of the other delegates abandon the candidates they pledged to vote for and switch their vote to Ron Paul as the GOP nominee for president. Thankfully there is not enough LSD in the entire world to make that scenario happen. The RNC rule is that you have to have won 5 states to have your name placed in nomination. Paul didn’t win 5 but that may not stop the Paul crazies from trying anyway.
- Occupy Wall Street and the New Black Panthers: Last week Michelle Williams, Chief of Staff of the New Black Panther Party made threats against the convention goers,
Saying that Tampa’s black community was under siege from those Republicans, whites, and “tea party tea baggers.” She went on to attack “crackers” and black conservatives. The New Black Panther leader also talked about how she hated whites and all black should hate them also. She finished with a warning to the convention attendees “as long as whites keep characterizing blacks as “ni**ers,“ [her] ”feet [will be] on your “g-damned mother***ing necks.
Compounding the New Black Panther threats, the Occupy Wall Street groups promise to be actively protesting both the Democratic and Republican party conventions. For the convention attendees sake I pray that some of them have bathed since my last confrontation with them at the November bloggers meeting in Denver, some of the were quite pungent.
- President Obama will make a speech or hold a press conference. Last September, the President decided to make a major jobs speech the same evening as a long scheduled debate of GOP primary candidates. Would this President be so nasty as to schedule a prime-time appearance during the convention to steal some of the Republican Party’s thunder? The SCHMOTUS Joe Biden has scheduled campaign events in Tampa to try and steal some of the GOP’s thunder. I can’t totally rule it out an Obama stunt..
- Donald Trump surprise. The real estate mogul and reality TV star has said he will not be speaking during the convention. But Trump has generated some buzz and anticipation with recent posts on Twitter saying he was planning a “big surprise” at the convention next week. I have heard from contacts that “The Donald” and a surprise will be part of the first night festivities. As the first night’s theme is “We Can Do Better,” don’t be surprised if Trump come on to “fire” Obama.
- Israel Attacks Iran. I have heard nothing to indicate that Israel has decided to attack Iran or has picked an ideal time to attack Iran. But if I was the decision-maker and decided to wipe out Iran’s nuke program this year and faced an unfriendly US President like Obama, I would schedule my attack at the beginning of the Democratic Party convention. That way, at least publically the unfriendly Obama would need to “look friendly” on the national stage. This is pure conjecture but hey, you never know.
This has been such an unusual political year so far both conventions may feature more dramatics than anticipated by the convention staffers.
Beyond the dramatics I recommend strongly that you join with me in paying attention to both conventions. It is these parties only chance to send you their messages and stances without being interpreted though the prism of talking heads in the mainstream media. Listen to their words carefully so you can decide for yourself the best direction for the United States between January 2013 and January 2017.