Because of what I do — and my lifelong personal and professional interest in politics and public policy — I have always had the ability to stay awake through even the longest political speeches and spectacles. Well … the Democratic National Convention has exceeded my cognitive abilities.
Trying to stay attuned to the Democrats’ quadrennial game show was not easy. In fact, it was painful. Then it dawned on me. The problem. The feeling I had – you know, to want to grab the remote and jump to the History Channel. It was not my natural disagreement with much of what was said and claimed. No. No. No. It was just painfully repetitious and boring. It was like being tied to a chair and forced to watch nothing but public television’s fundraising campaigns.
Consider this. What if your favorite television channel had suddenly abandoned all programming and ran nothing by commercials – and you had to watch them. That was it. That was the feeling I had. I had seen and heard it all before – many times. It was like being stuck watching the ubiquitous ads with Joe Namath selling health insurance or the Pillow Man peddling Giza bedsheets.
Now to be fair, Covid-19 required an abandonment of the traditional convention format. But couldn’t all those media geniuses come up with something better than talking head commercials wedged between talking-head news reports that peddle the same political messages? Something … anything … better than what the Democrats put us through for four Looooooong days?
Of course, media bias was a factor in downgrading the Democrats’ performance. One might even say that they undermined the Party’s effort because we have been seeing those same talking-head commercials for months already – selling the same goods in the same virtual format. Could Senator Kamala Harris, former Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren way anything we had not heard them say many times? Democrats simply took the MSNBC political programming and changed the sets and a few panelists.
I began to realize the problem when a Biden/Harris paid political ad came on and I momentarily thought it was just another segment of the official convention program. The paid ad had included some of the same (or very similar) images that I was seeing repeatedly during the official proceedings.
Conversely, the so-called news media was carrying the same themes as the convention. During the convention, Democrat strategists launched their get-out-the-vote message with the theme – “Plan Your Vote.” They repeated it often and even offered a contact point where the Party could help you do so.
Almost simultaneously, MSNBC went on-air with their own public service advertisement with the very same Plan Your Vote title. Collusion? Imagine the converse – that a news network would produce a supposedly generic public-service get-out-the-vote ad with at theme like … oh, I don’t know …. maybe … “Make American Great Again.”
As a matter of fact, “plans” was a reoccurring theme. Borrowing from former presidential candidate Senator Elisabeth Warren – peddling herself as the lady with the plans – one of the most repeated assertions – excluding negative statements about President Trump – was that Biden had “plans” – plans for everything. Plans to end the pandemic. Plans to end unemployment. Plans to bring about world peace. Plans to cure cancer. Plans to end all economic hardship. Plans to produce more plans. As far as the details on any of those plans, they were about as extensive as a litany of Biden’s past accomplishments.
In a sense, this year’s conventions are like a reality show – made exclusively for television. Democrats failed to put on the show and just replaced programming with a contiguous series of infomercials – and boring ones, at that. But to understand just how ridiculously far the Democrat-loving media will go to spin their praise machine, the Washington Post’s Peter Marks penned a column headlined, “The convention isn’t just efficient. It’s award-worthy television.” Award-worthy? Not unless there is one for banality.
The Republicans face the same challenge as the Democrats in planning their “convention” in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic. But they have several advantages. They will have the last word in terms of conventions. They will have the opportunity to learn from the Democrats’ mistakes. Republican voters are more enthused by a considerable margin according to the polls. And because Donald Trump is Donald Trump, they will more than likely have a considerably larger audience. They have the curiosity and anticipation factors on their side. It is almost certain that the Republicans will produce something a lot more interesting, entertaining and informative – and viewed by a much larger audience.
Their only disadvantage is that the anti-Trump media cabal will not be playing the supportive role they do for the Democrats. You can rest assured no matter what is said or done, the post-convention analysis will be overwhelmingly and preposterously negative.
After a short intermission, we will see if Act II is better than Act I – and that would not take much.
So, there ‘tis.