Republican National Convention - A Meltdown in Progress?

Things were not going well already for the Romney campaign, locked in a seemingly unbreakable three point deficit in the polls and worse in the electoral college, and the addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket did little or nothing to move those numbers.

The one bright spot the Republicans had was that Ryan had shifted the debate on to the economy, which is where Romney had desperately wanted it to be all the time, rather than on his wife’s horse, his tax returns, his religion and his invention of Obamacare while in Massachusetts.

That was working well - until yesterday. Senate candidate Paul Akin and his “legitimate rape” comments have brought the national conversation back on to social issues and the seeming inability of Republicans to handle women’s issues without sounding like neanderthals. Akin’s now likely withdrawal from the Senate race isn’t gong to help anything as it just keeps the topic hot just days before the convention starts.

If Akin does resign, the Tea Party and the Religious Right lose their one candidate that they handpicked against the wishes of the establishment and managed to get him nominated. They will not be happy.

The Religious Right, while not ever getting their preferred candidate nominated, have usually been placated by getting some of their more extreme positions included in the Republican Platform, like support for a Human Life Amendment, which Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have previously implicitly or explicitly endorsed, but suddenly repudiated yesterday. These things are usually ignored by almost everyone including the media, but will be scrutinized and discussed next week.

Oh, and a hurricane hitting the Tampa area during the Convention is a distinct possibility.

So, the debate is, can the Republicans pull this off? Do they have enough ammo to put the debate back on their preferred track again? Can they make the social issues go away or should they just wholeheartedly embrace them? Will the average five point convention bounce occur this year?

P.S. Please note that I refrained from using the phrase “Perfect Storm” in a difficult decision.

P.S.S. I realize that some will see this as a rant, but I tried to avoid that while setting up the current situation accurately. Ryan didn’t close the gap with Obama/Biden to any expected degree. The conversation has been changed due to Mr. Akin’s comments. The support for Romney from the Tea Party and the Religious Right has been at best lukewarm, and the current issue scratches that scab.

I frankly don’t see much positive momentum going into the Convention for Republicans, so I just described it as I see it.

In the time between beginning writing this and posting it, Akin has issued a statement vowing to stay in the race and Religious pro-life groups have been coming to his defense.

What was the final call on the hand guns at the convention? In light of the potential hurricane, I think they should all be allowed to carry their guns. I’m betting on gun shots fired before the 50% mark of the convention.

Nitpick - Todd Akin.

The opportunity that a convention presents is to give the party involved a week long commercial. They can control the content and the delivery of the content. The media and the opposition will be sniping from the sidelines, but it is essentially the hosting party’s show.

They will put rousing speakers (Christie, etc.) up front to do the heavy lifting and ideological firebranding. Since there is no dispute as to the candidate, that leaves Romney to graciously accepts the coronation. He will likely avoid making strong platform statements himself - as he has all along.

Any of this meltdown you are predicting will not happen - it’s not in the script. Sure, some true believers will be grumbling in their beer but you won’t see them on camera.

If a hurricane hits Tampa during the convention, will the Republican faithful finally realize God is punishing them for their hateful treatment of gay people?

More cracks appearing in the “No Enemies To The Right” coalition . . .

This flap du jour isn’t going to affect the convention. Akin has offered a real apology (not just a “I’m sorry if people were offended” apology), and we’ll move on to the next flap-- which might come from either the GOP or the Dems.

That depends whether he’s believed when he said he “misspoke,” and who believes it. Frankly, I’m personally not so sure it’s NOT what he really believes.

Actually his being this close despite the amount if money spent by Obama is likely giving the campaign hope. Sill Obama’s to lose but the cracks are showing.

They’d spin the hurricane, no pun intended, to good effect.

Of course, he’s just replaced the word ‘legitimate’ with ‘forcible’ - so I’m not sure he’s made things any better -

Unless there was another apology that I missed today, I don’t see where he offered a “real” apology. On Mike Huckabee’s show, he said this:

*Huckabee asked Akin whether he was talking about “forcible rape” when he used the term “legitimate rape.”

“I was talking about forcible rape, and it was absolutely the wrong word,” Akin said.

Akin said he understands that women can become pregnant from rape. “I didn’t mean to imply that wasn’t the case,” he said. “That does happen.”*

He never said that he was wrong about women’s bodies being able to distinguish rape sperm from regular sperm, he just changed one word from “legitimate” to “forcible”. What does that even mean? He meant that women’s bodies offer special protection in the case of “forcible” rape? He stands by that story as long as a slightly different word is used? The only type of rape a woman is likely to get pregnant from is consensual, statutory rape?

Then he ends it by saying “What I said was ill-conceived, and it was wrong,” Akin said on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show Monday. “I really just want to apologize to those that I’ve hurt.

As for not affecting the convention, I’d wager that 90% of the Republican leadership would disagree with you, and say that it already has.

I wonder why the Republican Party even cottons to religious nuttery. They’re just an embarassing association and, frankly, if the Repubs turn them a deaf ear it’s not like they’d find anyone else to pander to them–they’ll still get God’s votes. Seems like the smartest thing the R party could do would be to start/return to espousing simple and rational social conservatism and marginalize the fundamentalist crazies.

Why on earth would they turn away reliable voters?

We’re talking about a guy who opposed a national sex-offender database and pushed for a no-rape-in-marriage law. He’s a f**king neanderthal and his “legitimate rape” line is PRECISELY his genuine belief. His only true regret is that he damaged his chances for getting elected. (Assuming Missouri isn’t TOTALLY intelectually backward.)

Which candidate do you think has been the beneficiary of the most spending, whether by his own campaign, his party, or by outside interest groups?

Actually neither. The pro-Romney PACS haven’t done much for him and Obama has spent a lot of money to sort of maintain the status quo. In the literal sense according to today’s WSJ the pro-Romney PACS have spent more but there is another 160M coming online for Romney.

My own belief is that Obama will win unless the economy continues to struggle. Then Romney has a chance.

And conventions are as stage managed as a play in Broadwayn. There will be no meltdown.

Or as Fox News puts it: Todd Akin (D)

Which few people, unlike the Super Bowl commericals, actually watch.

It’s not about watching the Convention - whether the Republican National Covention or the Democratic National Convention - it’s about being there. I’ve been to a Democratic National Convention and I’m going to the Republican National Convention (mainly because I’ll be in Florida on vacation next week and partly because I just want to go to a Republican National Convention if only to participate in the Occupy Tampa protests :D).

For most Americans (who aren’t there and don’t watch) the Conventions set the tone the of the election and it is arguably important which Convention precedes which. More American watch the debates. Less Americans watch the Conventions because they are abstract. The debates are two people arguing with each other (sometimes at each other). The Conventions are speeches by a parade of people, performances, procedure, pomp, and precision.

In the preview in today’s NYT, it looks like the RNC will have alot of choreography, lighting, and staging. They are trying to make the stage look more like a living room, whatever that means. They will have large screens showing images and text in a Bushesqe manner. They want to show the “real” Romney. They will highlight his religion, his business “experience”, his governorship and his running of the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Plus, special underwear for everybody!
And a planet. Everybody gets a planet.