Our view: GOP sees its message go off topic
August 24, 2012 4:52PM
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: September 28, 2012 6:05AM
The modern political convention is a slickly packaged, tightly scripted, controversy-free commercial for the party, culminating in a rousing acceptance speech by the nominee.
The Republicans, who gather in Tampa on Monday, are generally better at this than the Democrats. But this time, the Republicans face a peculiar set of problems.
Most of the speeches will feature denunciations of President Barack Obama and detail-free rhetoric about how the country would be much better off under the Republicans. Do not look for any modern historical context.
Instead, organizers had planned to focus the convention on Obama’s record on jobs and the economy, and there is a certain urgency to this because key sectors of the economy, like housing, suddenly have begun to improve.
Unexpectedly, events, including even the weather, have conspired to have the delegates and the country talking about everything but the convention.
No word will be said on the convention floor, but the hallways will be buzzing about Rep. Todd Akin, the party’s Senate candidate in Missouri. Akin made himself unelectable, and may have cost the GOP control of the Senate, with coarse remarks about rape and an ignorance of the female anatomy.
Akin resisted calls from every major Republican to get out of the race, thus making the GOP leadership appear ineffectual.
The GOP strongly hoped to keep social issues out of the convention, but the Akin fracas spotlighted the fact that his views on abortion are solely aligned with those of Mitt Romney running mate Paul Ryan.
Meanwhile, the platform committee drafted a plank outlawing abortion, with no exceptions for rape and incest.
The organizers are glued to the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tracking the path of Isaac and another tropical storm behind it, hoping the weather cooperates. Not much else has so far.
Scripps Howard News Service