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Tags: Republican National Convention

Haley: I’m Not Appointing Myself to the U.S. Senate



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Governor Nikki Haley today released the following statement regarding U.S. Senator Jim DeMint’s retirement and the process of filling the vacancy it creates:

Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness. I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.

I want to make two things clear from the outset. Number one, I will not take the appointment myself. Number two, I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.

With all the challenges we face as a state and nation, it is essential that the next senator from South Carolina be dedicated to the principles that our state most values.

I am told that one of the names I mentioned yesterday, state senator Tom Davis, has indicated he is not interested in the appointment and has communicated that to Haley’s office. He is citing unfinished business in his work in the legislature.

Tags: Jim DeMint , Nikki Haley , Republican National Convention

The Contenders to Replace DeMint



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Jim DeMint’s sudden resignation from the Senate to head up the Heritage Foundation makes a lot of sense for him (the preeminent position at one of, if not the, most preeminent conservative think tanks, his to enjoy for perhaps decades) and a lot of sense for the organization.

But there’s reason for a lot of conservatives to feel disappointed. There’s been an accusation – sometimes fair, sometimes not – that some conservative lawmakers want to take a pure and uncompromising stance, but who prefer to do so safely from the metaphorical sidelines. Conservatives complain that they never get one of their own in leadership in the House or Senate, but any conservative who did would run the risk of acknowledging the hard truth of the job: sometimes the best deal you can get is half a loaf. And once you became the guy who negotiated the “half a loaf” deal, you lose your “true conservative” street cred.

I’m hearing some folks say DeMint will be able to fight for his causes better at Heritage than from within the U.S. Senate, and that strikes me as debatable. He’s going from a position where he can influence the writing of legislation to a position where he can influence the writing of white papers. Is he really going to have more success persuading lawmakers as a head of a think tank – even one as respected and well-regarded as Heritage – than as a colleague?

In the meantime, this sets up a free-for-all in the sharp-elbowed world of South Carolina Republican politics, and greatly lessens the chance of a serious conservative challenge to Lindsey Graham.

Governor Nikki Haley is going to have a lot of options to choose from in the coming days or weeks:

  • Congressman Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in Congress starting in January 2013. CNN is reporting that DeMint has indicated he would prefer Scott as his successor.
  • Congressman Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party favorite who pulled off an upset victory over longtime incumbent Democrat John Spratt in 2010.
  • Congressman Trey Gowdy, who beat incumbent Bob Inglis in the 2010 primary in his district, who has proven a tenacious fighter on the Judiciary Committee and Government Reform Committee and sometimes feuded with the House Republican leadership.
  • Former State Attorney General Henry McMaster, a former U.S. Attorney under Ronald Reagan who ran for governor against Haley in 2010 and endorsed her in the runoff.
  • State Sen. Tom Davis, popular in his Low Country district and once frequently-mentioned as a possible challenger to Graham; surprised some Republicans by backing Ron Paul in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.
  • State Attorney General Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson. The younger Wilson was just elected in 2010 to a four-year term, and he may not be eager to leave so soon.

Rep. Joe Wilson has been asked about running for statewide office many times and indicated he’s happy with his role in the House.

Keep in mind that any of the above figured who are not picked as DeMint’s interim successor could very well challenge the picked successor or Graham in the 2014 primaries.

I can’t begrudge DeMint or Heritage this decision, but a lot of headaches are going to flow forth from this…

Tags: Henry McMaster , Jim DeMint , Lindsey Graham , Mick Mulvaney , Tim Scott , Republican National Convention , Trey Gowdy

Wasserman-Schultz: GOP Should Be ‘More Muted’ During Hurricane



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DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz criticized the Republicans for attending parties in Tampa on Monday night, and declared that for the remaining nights of the convention, “certainly in the face of millions getting battered by a storm, they could have been less crass and been a little bit more muted.”

She did not comment on the propriety of doing a Reddit chat or holding campaign rallies “in the face of millions getting battered by a storm.”

Tags: Debbie Wasserman Schultz , Republican National Convention

The Growing Inclination to Hype or Trash Convention Speeches



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Four points to keep in mind as you consider the reactions to the speeches we heard last night, and the ones we’ll hear Wednesday and Thursday:

One: The vast majority of folks in the media listen to speeches from political candidates and lawmakers all day long, week after week, month after month, year after year. They pick out clichés, tune out flowery rhetoric, scoff at awkward metaphors, and seek out novelty. (I’m probably as guilty of this as anyone.) The vast majority of the television audience sees relatively few political speeches in a year. Seeing a confident figure give an energetic speech, with pauses for roaring applause, and perhaps most importantly, saying things the listener agrees with, is going to get a positive response, even if the written text is nothing special.

Two: The reaction within the convention hall may be quite different from the reaction of the television audience. A reviewer may see the enthusiastic reaction of delegates and overestimate its appeal; also, I’ve heard that the acoustics in the hall are tough in some corners.

Three: People who do not like to hear speeches from Republicans do not watch Republican convention speeches, and the same is true for the Democrats. Thus, very few people will watch the speeches and not like them.

Four: Among the pundit class, there is a growing inclination to rate speeches as either really, really good, or really really bad. For example, this response to Chris Christie’s speech last night from Politico seems baffling to me:

There is no mistaking what a successful keynote speech for Chris Christie would have looked and sounded like. There would have been an electric reaction from the crowd in the convention hall. It would have been followed by waves of effusive media commentary about how people had just heard the future of the Republican Party.

Judged by these standards, there is also no mistaking what the New Jersey governor delivered instead: A primetime belly-flop, one that notably failed to clear either of those two high bars.

Really? A belly-flop? (Maybe they just wanted to use the word “belly” to describe the performance of the rotund governor.)

Sure, Christie began in a quite personal fashion, in a way we’re used to hearing from the nominee. Sure, he didn’t say much about Romney until well into the speech. Sure, there are signs he spoke a bit faster than normal towards the end, aiming to hit the 11 p.m. deadline precisely. But was it a bad speech? Would anyone argue that it was really that badly delivered? Didn’t he speak with a lot of passion and energy, didn’t his jokes generate actual laughs — “in the automobile of life, dad was just a passenger; Mom was the driver” — and didn’t the applause lines generate genuine applause?

Politico is at least self-aware enough to write:

What Christie is facing may be something close to what Clinton faced at the Atlanta convention. That speech was a perfectly fluent summons to Democrats. But, like Christie’s, it had been preceded by great anticipation because Clinton, then 42, had been widely touted as the future of the party. But it was clear that his words bored delegates in the convention hall, who were shown on TV paying no attention as Clinton droned on (for 33 minutes but it felt far longer) and mocked him with his only sustained applause line when he announced “in conclusion.”

Christie may be facing something similar to Clinton. The commentary about how poorly he did grew louder and more scathing as the media echo chamber, including late-night comedians, roared into high gear. He rescued himself from flames with a sterling performance on “The Tonight Show” in which he joked that the keynote speech “wasn’t my finest hour—it wasn’t even my finest hour-and-a-half.” In Tampa, it is clear the echo chamber is once again kicking into gear.

I cannot help but suspect that the last thing any pundit or analyst wants to say when asked about a speech is to respond, “It was pretty good.” Except that some speeches are “pretty good.” Some people will watch Christie and say it was excellent, just what they wanted to hear. Others will say they wanted to hear a bit more of this or that. But because an assessment of “pretty good” fades quickly in our noisy and cacophonous political environment, every speech is increasingly labeled as greatness or failure on a grand scale.

Tags: Chris Christie , Republican National Convention

The Valiant Valenzuela



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In the 9 p.m. hour Tuesday night, in between Nevada governor Brian Sandoval and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Delaware, Sher Valenzuela, will speak. If you’re wondering why an unknown candidate is speaking in such a plum spot tonight, check out my profile of her on the home page today.

Tags: Republican National Convention , Sher Valenzuela

A Mystery Speaker for Thursday? . . . Could It Be
. . . Her?



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From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt, now in the hands of the editors, and soon on its way to you . . .

A Mystery Speaker for Thursday?

The Wall Street Journal gives us something to talk about for the next three days:

Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night.

Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.

By then, speakers from Mitt Romney’s church will have taken the stage that night. The co-founder of Staples office-supply chain will have spoken about working with Mr. Romney during his time at Bain Capital. State officials from Massachusetts will have talked about the former governor. Olympians will have already thanked the presidential candidate for leading the 2002 Winter Games.

The only other speakers to follow “To Be Announced” will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Romney himself, suggesting that the unnamed guest may appear during the 10 p.m. hour when the networks all will be broadcasting the convention.

The good folks at the Journal offer a poll of potential mystery guests, but most are unrealistic: former Georgia Democratic senator Zell Miller, well-armed rocker Ted Nugent, CIA Director David Petraeus, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, heroic pilot Chesley Sullenberger . . .

. . . or Sarah Palin.

As they used to sing on Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other, most of these things are kinda the same . . .”

I have no inside information (yet), but at dinner with my NR colleagues, last night, I pointed out that Palin is glaring by her absence from the program — I mean Huckabee’s speaking, and it’s been longer since his name appeared on a ballot — and that a surprise appearance would probably make the assembled delegates go nuts.

Of course, Nick Schultz came up with the only idea that could excite the crowd even more: “Hologram Reagan a la Tupac?”

(If you don’t understand the reference, the deceased rapper appeared to “perform” at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival through the use of a hologram. Details here.)

The more you think about the idea, the more it makes sense — whatever controversy and intense reactions Sarah Palin may bring to whatever she does, if there is one thing we know she does exceptionally well, it is give convention speeches! This wouldn’t mean turning her into an official Romney surrogate or putting her in a Romney cabinet or anything like that — just giving one of the Republican figures most beloved by the grassroots — or at least a large and vocal segment of the grassroots — a chance to fire up the base and discuss why it is so important that everyone pull out all the stops for Romney.

Tags: Republican National Convention , Sarah Palin

Priebus: No Schedule Changes Planned, but ‘We Have to Be Nimble’



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I just completed a quick interview with RNC chair Reince Priebus.

NRO: Isaac’s threat to Tampa appears to be passing, but there may be a serious threat to some other states. Do you have any worries or thoughts about changing the schedule if there’s a severe threat to New Orleans or to the Gulf Coast?

Priebus: Right now, I have not had a single discussion about doing anything other than going forward with the events and the schedule that we have planned. I will say, though, that we have to be nimble. And everyone can see that we can be nimble if we need to be. We have the ability to make alternative plans if we have to, but right now we feel that our message of the American dream and fixing this economy and putting ourselves on the right track for the future of this country — I think it’s a positive message and it’s a message that will always be good. When we’re optimistic about the future and how we’re going to fix this great country and put people back to work, it’s a message that works all the time.

Certainly, we have to be mindful of the effects of the hurricane and what that means to people who are pretty close by here.

NRO: This is traditionally one of the points of the year when the candidate really gets his chance to make his sales pitch to the American people. Any worries about a split screen on the cable news networks, or other big news events going on and getting in the way of the candidate getting to make his pitch to the people?

Priebus: It is what it is, right? So we have a hurricane, and we have three days to have this convention and nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. We understand completely — they’re all newsworthy events. Competition among events is not uncommon, and we think it’s important for people to stay informed about the storm as well.

It’s just a balance. I think tone is important, but when you see how we’re operating at the convention, you’ll see we have a very respectful tone. Obviously, the message is about how we can provide a better future for America, and that’s a tone that works with everything.

NRO: You said at a briefing a few moments ago that [former Gov. Mike] Huckabee will be speaking Wednesday night. Were there ever any discussions about removing him from the speaker’s list for the controversy and his defense of Akin?

Priebus: No. It’s one thing to have a dispute with Congressman Akin. That’s one thing. Akin’s the one who put himself in this place. That’s one level of argument. But then to say that because you think that we should just move on, as opposed to me thinking he should step down and let someone else carry the water, that’s sort of a couple steps removed from the issue. I think that’s a little bit different.

NRO: Had you read his e-mail defending Akin?

Priebus: Sure, I read it. He’s entitled. Having an opinion — Mike Huckabee’s not the one who said the biologically stupid things. So it’s different.

NRO: One of the discussions here at the convention is people wondering about the bump that Romney will get, and whether it will be up to the traditional levels.  Some folks are wondering if it’s possible to get the traditional bump, with such a polarized electorate and so few undecided voters left. Are you expecting a bump, and if so, how large?

Priebus: I think we’re going to have a base that is energized and motivated. I think the convention is going to be great in telling the Mitt Romney story. Getting Americans to understand more about Mitt as a person and what his plans are for this country can only help us.

As far as assessing the bump and what percent, you know, the media cycle is so different nowadays. We’re just so saturated these days, and because the media is constant nowadays . . . Conventions of the past had a four-day event that was the only huge political news for the summer. I think it’s a different time now . . .

I think we’re going to be motivated, I think it’s great for our base, it’s a great opportunity to tell people who Mitt Romney is, introduce him to people who don’t know him yet, and I’m optimistic that we’ll have a good result.

NRO: I realize the decision to hold the convention in Tampa was made by your predecessor, but first, is it possible this is the last convention on the coast in the Southeast for a while, and second — let me guess, your first choice for the 2016 convention would be Milwaukee, right?

Priebus: (laughing) Milwaukee sounds great! But I’ll say this, in a rare defense of Michael Steele — we’ve had conventions in New Orleans, Houston, Miami, now we’re in Tampa — actually, New York could have had a hurricane. You could just eliminate so many places. This is just such an odd situation. I don’t blame him. The fact of the matter is, we’re happy to be here, the people of Tampa have been so hospitable . . .

And quite frankly, we’ve got to win Florida. And there’s no better place for us to spend our time and our money and our energy than Florida. So I’m happy we’re here.

Tags: Reince Priebus , Republican National Convention , RNC

If Isaac Worsens, Why Not an RNC Aid Telethon?



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If the Boston Globe is accurately reporting that “conversations with a series of top advisers” indicate that top Republicans are considering the cancellation of the entire convention — fearful that Isaac will be wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast while they attempt to communicate their message to the country . . .

. . . and if, indeed, Isaac is as bad as some fear . . .

. . . then instead of canceling the convention, why not turn the televised proceedings into a telethon of sorts, urging viewers to send donations to the Red Cross and other organizations that will be handling relief for any hurricane victims?

Tags: Republican National Convention

The Grand Scale of Our Political Conventions



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Subscribers have already received the first Morning Jolt of the week, full of new poll results, an examination of why we still have conventions, and then these observations from on the ground in Tampa . . .

Rain, Rain, Go Away . . .

TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. — The 2012 Republican National Convention is not a mess . . . yet. But the story of this year’s gathering of Republicans from near and far is a bit more complicated than we expected, with tonight’s events canceled. Briefly Sunday afternoon there was a rumor of some events moving to Friday — but because Romney’s speech will not move from Thursday, any parties, events or party activities held afterwards will be afterthoughts — and with almost all of the convention-goers scheduled to fly out on Friday, probably sparsely attended as well.

The other complication is that Isaac may make landfall Tuesday evening, right in the Gulf Coast. The states of Louisiana and Alabama and the city of Biloxi, Mississippi, have declared states of emergency; some evacuations are in effect in Florida and Alabama is considering them. While I have absolute faith that Governor Jindal and the state of Louisiana, National Guardsmen, etc., will pull out all the stops for preparation, the eyes and minds of the nation may be more focused on the drama of the hurricane than the goings-on at the convention. But it’s hard to begrudge RNC Reince Priebus and the rest of the convention organizers their caution. While most of the country is still dealing with drought, this part of Florida has been drenched in recent months; the local coverage suggests that one of the biggest worries around here is flooding — the local ground just can’t absorb much more. The last thing the Republicans need is some bus full of delegates getting stuck in a ditch somewhere – if for no other reason, it would trigger another round of insufferably unfunny drinking-a-Slurpee metaphors in Obama speeches.

A few more observations from Tampa . . .

Security: It is a depressing statement on our age how the perimeter of a national convention site has to look like a war zone: chain-link fence after chain-link fence, concrete barrier after concrete barrier, armed guard after armed guard. Don’t get me wrong, all of the security personnel are exceptionally polite and professional so far. It’s just a bit dispiriting to arrive at a site where you hope to witness political history being made, and the first landscape you encounter resembles the DMZ* between North and South Korea.

The Scale of It All: I keep hearing how my profession is dying, and that the need to generate healthy profits in an increasingly web-dominated world is corroding and squeezing the life out of journalism. Year by year, we hear about the end of various newspapers and magazines . . . and then you come to a convention like this, and find yourself squeezing through the crowds made up of the other 14,999 journalists here. The acreage of the workspaces, Google’s lounge in the media center, the sheer number of workspaces set up for wire services, the networks, etc. is all pretty jaw-dropping. You will be pretty surprised who’s here, too; I’m fairly certain I saw a sign for Cuban state television. Maybe they feel at home with all of the chain-link fences and armed guards.

The economics of covering conventions elude me, at least for a massive operation like the networks. Almost all of the national television news networks have affiliates in a city like Tampa or Charlotte year round, so if they had to cover breaking news in one of those cities, they could do so. For the conventions, however, the networks bring in almost their entire Washington staff, and mobilize almost literal small armies of technicians, planners, movers, producers, go-fers, runners, event coordinators, etc. to create several sets, run miles of cable, etc. All of this for four nights of live coverage — well, now three, I guess. Then they’ll pack everything up and move it all to Charlotte for another week or so. I’m not complaining, I’m just marveling at the enormity of the effort. I suppose the networks see this as one of the truly memorable television moments of a presidential campaign, and there’s probably some one-upmanship – every network wants to show off that they have the most complete coverage. Of course, that raises the question of how many hours they televise, which we’ll reexamine in item three . . .

Photojournalism!

And now, the very finest photography of the Sunday night preparations that you will find, at least while using a Samsung camera phone:

Tuesday night will feature a tribute to Neil Armstrong:

For three nights, the balloons will just tease us from above:

The VIP seats.

* In the version of the Jolt that went out to readers, “DMZ” was originally “DMV.” You know, there are long lines here, too . . .

Tags: Republican National Convention

First Night of GOP Convention Canceled



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Word is breaking that the first night of the Republican Convention is effectively canceled due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

A memo from the RNC chairman, just released:

DATE: August 25, 2012

FROM: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus @Reince

TO: Interested Parties

RE: RNC Convention

Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th, exact time to follow.

Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area. RNC Convention officials and the Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida’s emergency management resources. Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.

The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address. We also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make additional schedule alterations as needed.

The Convention staff is working around-the-clock to ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed. The Committee on Arrangements will provide additional information to delegates and alternate delegates who are affected by Isaac by Sunday morning. We will also provide guidance to those delegates and alternate delegates who may encounter travel difficulties due to the storm.

We will begin issuing revised convention programming as early as Sunday.

We have an experienced team that will ensure changes are operationally smooth and create as little disruption as possible.  The most important concern is safety, but our Convention program will proceed.

On a conference call, Priebus said the precise start time on Tuesday will be determined shortly. He said the primary concern was “severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.”

The hope is that every speaker scheduled for four nights will be able to fit into three nights; the event program may start earlier on the remaining nights.

While it’s not unthinkable that some other coastal city will host a national party convention in the coming cycles, my guess is that the two parties will be avoiding the Gulf and Southeastern coasts for their late summer gatherings in the years to come . . .

Ironically, the United States has avoided “major” hurricanes for a long stretch:

Six years, nine months and 30 days have passed since Hurricane Wilma came ashore with 125-mph winds near Naples, Fla. — the longest period the nation has gone without a hit from a major hurricane since the government began keeping records in 1851.

If you’re wondering about Hurricane Gustav, which forced the cancellation of the first night of the Republican national convention four years ago, it was a category 2 at landfall. It did force the largest evacuation in U.S. history.

Tags: Republican National Convention

Obama Campaign Plans ‘Assault’ During GOP Convention



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The final Morning Jolt before a (potentially quite soggy) Republican convention week includes a look at the Democrats’ counter-programming:

Obama: We Cannot Let Republicans Communicate Their Message for a Week!

Yeah, this screams confidence:

Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.

Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.

Even first lady Michelle Obama is in on the act, scheduling an appearance on the “David Letterman Show” smack in the middle of Romney’s nominating bash.

Political historians say the high stakes of this year’s elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive.

“Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

But that “gentlemen’s agreement,” Baker said, has been largely abandoned as “a consequence of the polarization of American politics.” He characterized the old tradition as a “quaint code of etiquette” destined to become a “remnant of the 20th century.”

Or, you know, this is who they are. This is the way they see the world. It may be that they fear Republicans laying out their views and ideas for four nights, unimpeded . . . or it may merely offend them that someone dares disagree with them.

Our old friend Mark Hemingway sees trouble for the Democrats, although they’re unlikely to heed his warnings:

Let’s look at the calendar. The Democratic convention is being held in Charlotte, September 3 through September 6, with Obama accepting the nomination that final night. Unemployment reports are released the first Friday of every month, so next unemployment report comes out . . . the morning of September 7. If it’s another dismal report—and again, the odds are that it will be nothing to celebrate—it could step all over the news coming out of the convention.

This could be particularly bad if the Democrats spend the entire week tearing down Mitt Romney and talking about abortion. Since Paul Ryan has been added to the GOP ticket, there’s little question that the Romney-Ryan ticket had shifted their campaign theme to a big picture economic debate. Thus far, the Obama and Democrats haven’t been terribly willing to engage the issue beyond Mediscare attacks on Paul Ryan. And the recent news that the DNC is reshuffling the speakers at the convention to highlight pro-abortion activists following the controversy over Missouri GOP Senate Candidate Todd Akin doesn’t suggest that they’re going to have a substantive discussion of what they plan to do about the economy at the convention, either.

I remember the Bush campaign having a small but noticeable communications presence in Boston in 2004. I also remember John Kerry giving a speech either immediately before, or immediately after, Bush’s convention address that had little impact. McCain was quiet during Obama’s week in Denver, but he also had his Sarah Palin unveiling ready to go the following morning, a strategy to nullify Obama’s convention bump that worked well at the time.

I’m not so sure many of these counter-programming efforts make much of a difference, once we look back on the election . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Republican National Convention

Batten Down the Hatches for a Storm of Tasteless Jokes



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Batten Down the Hatches for a Storm of Tasteless Jokes

The notion of Tropical Storm/Potential Hurricane Isaac inflicting another round of mass suffering on Haiti may make snickering like this bit from Dana Milbank look more than a little tasteless:

Has God forsaken the Republican Party?

Well, sit in judgment of what’s happened in the past few days:

— A report comes out that a couple dozen House Republicans engaged in an alcohol-induced frolic, in one case nude, in the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is believed to have walked on water, calmed the storm and, nearby, turned water into wine and performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

—Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri’s Republican nominee for Senate, suggests there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” and purports that women’s bodies have mysterious ways to repel the seed of rapists. He spends the next 48 hours rejecting GOP leaders’ demands that he quit the race.

—Weather forecasts show that a storm, likely to grow into Hurricane Isaac, may be chugging toward . . . Tampa, where Republicans will open their quadrennial nominating convention on Monday.

Coincidence? Or part of some Intelligent Design?

He leaves Ann Althouse rolling her eyes: “If God controls the weather, let’s not worry about global warming. Or are you going to say He controls the weather but not the climate? We’re talking omnipotence, or do you think that’s some kind of joke?”

It’s an easy layup for Glenn Reynolds: “They told me if I voted for John McCain, crazed theocrats in Washington would be reading theological implications into everyday events. And they were right!”

But wait, let’s look at another of the Post’s columnists, Joel Achenbach:

The elites of the Republican Party are praying that Tropical Storm Isaac will gather strength and slam into Tampa. The sober party bosses need a cyclonic distraction. They need a hurricane to wipe the Todd Akin disaster off the front pages.

Achenbach can be a great writer when he wants to be, with a book about the response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But that opening is just crass, snide, and stupid in an effort to make a pedestrian point: Boy, Todd Akin has created a headache for the GOP.

Elsewhere, you see the usual folks making the usual points — a Daily Kos diary entitled, “Does God hate the GOP? Hurricane Isaac seems to say, ‘YES!’” But we’ve come to expect that sort of thing from those corners of the Internet.

The word on Isaac, as of last night:

Isaac’s path remains uncertain, but some computer models show the storm slicing its way up Florida’s peninsula. Others send it farther west, into the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials are taking the threat seriously.

Gov. Rick Scott will talk about Florida’s preparations for the storm at a media briefing Thursday morning at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said his city is prepared for the 50,000 people headed to his city for the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday.

The latest forecast map from the National Hurricane Center in Miami shows Isaac passing near south Florida late Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane and northwest of Tampa by Monday evening.

“We have contingency plan after contingency plan,” Buckhorn said. “We are ready in the event that it happens. I don’t think it’s going to be a factor in this particular convention. But we are prepared in the event that it is.”

Convention spokesman Kyle Downey said the situation is being monitored “very closely.”

Possibly complicating matters, the convention site — The Tampa Bay Times Forum — is a mandatory evacuation zone once storms reach 96 mph or a Category 2 hurricane, according to the Hillsborough County Hurricane Guide. The current forecast doesn’t have Isaac reaching that status.

Tags: Hurricane Isaac , Republican National Convention

An Unexpected Guest in Tampa Monday Named Isaac?



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Well, that’s not good . . .

Map courtesy Weather Underground. In case you’ve forgotten, the Republican National Convention is slated to begin in Tampa on Monday.

UPDATE: Kyle Downey, spokesman for the GOP Convention, just issued a brief statement:

The convention is working closely with our partners at the federal, state and local levels to monitor the weather — and we have contingency plans in place to ensure the health and safety of convention delegates, guests and visitors, and the Tampa Bay community. We are looking forward to a great convention.

Tags: Republican National Convention

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