Now we’re at the mid-point of the political-convention season.
That’s when one party starts its event and the other celebrates what it considers a triumph. That’s always the case, Rick Santorum (shown here) said.
“You always come out of the convention thinking it was great,” he said. “You always leave on a high” … especially if you were one of the speakers. “Everyone loves to hear their voice.”
He’s seen that from several sides, as a two-term senator from Pennsylvania, as runner-up (to Mitt Romney) for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and now as a CNN commentator. At a press session, several CNN people pondered what had happened in the Democratic convention and what’s ahead (Aug. 24-27) for the Republicans.
And yes, commentators with Democraticroots were quite pleased … with reservations.”It’s been a splendid week,” said David Axelrod. “But I don’t think the economy should ba a 10-minute blip.”
When he was chief strategist for the Barack Obama campaigns, Axelrod said, the emphasis was firmly on the economy. At this convention?
Joe Biden did briefly talk about jobs-creation as it relates to climate-change (jobs in alternative energy) and economic-recovery (jobs rebuilding the infrastructure). But the convention kept returning to COVID and, especially, to praising Biden’s character.
“That’s not how Donald Trump won” in 2016, Santorum said. “Very few people said anything good about him, including myself.”
This time, the attacks at the Democratic convention were unrelenting. David Chalian, CNN’s political director, points to “a sort of astounding one-two punch”: One night, Michelle Obama; another, Barack Obama, who described his successor Chalian said, “in a way no former president has ever done.”
That sets up what the Republicans need to do, Santorum said. If this is “a referendum on Donald Trump,” they lose; they must “make this a two-person race, not aone-person.”
In short, go after Biden. As one commentator put it: “He’ll be a pinata from day one.”
Van Jones, a CNN correspondent (and former Obama advisor) had another prediction about Republican convention-organizers: Viewers will be surprised, he said, “to see just how diverse they make the Republicans look.”
That seemed true as the names of some of the speakers surfaced. Among the first five names to appear, only one (Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader) is a white male. Others are senators Tim Scott (South Dakota) and Joni Ernst (Iowa), Gov. Kristi Noem (South Dakota) and Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador.
There will also be lots of Trump. Breaking tradition (something he does quite often) he reportedly will show up on each of the four nights. He’ll give his nomination-acceptance speech Thursday, with his wife Melania and adult children speaking on Tueday. On Wednesday, Mike Pence will accept the vice-presidential nomination from Fort McHenry, where the “Star Spangled Banner” was born.
There will also be some non-politicians – the St. Louis couple that brandished guns in front of Black Lives Matter protesters … the widow of a retired policesman who was killed during those protests … a Montana coffeeshop oner who received a COVID-relief loan …the father of one of the Parkland school shooting victings… and the parents orf Kayla Mueller, the American humanitarian worker who died after 18 months of ISIS captivity in Syria.
–The Republican program: 9-11 p.m. ET Monday, including the formal nominating process. Then 8:30 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
– The coverage: 8-11 p.m. ET each day, PBS; 10-11 p.m., ABC ,CBS, NBC; all day, cable news channels