Arizona Daily Wildcat
Illustration by Holly Randall
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
The delegates have converged, protesters have wracked their brains for a witty chant that rhymes with Iraq, and thousands of red, white and blue balloons have been blown up for this week's Republican National Convention. With this being a close presidential campaign, the RNC will no doubt add to the spectacle of this year's election. The question is, what effect, if any, will this bring?
No undecideds means no effect
Despite the Republican Party's best efforts, this week's Republican National Convention will have little real effect on November's election. No one's perceptions of the candidates are going to change.
Waving signs that read "Support our Troops" will not implicitly convince people that Dubya supports the troops and Kerry does not. Wearing small Band-Aids with little purple hearts painted on them at the convention won't convince people that Kerry's Vietnam injuries were just little boo-boos. People have already chosen their side. Everybody already knows what they believe and how they feel about the candidates. A scripted live-action advertisement isn't going to change their mind.
This election race is so tight, and with so few undecided voters, that there's really no ground that can be gained among voters. Everyone has already decided for whom they plan to vote. Just as it was for Kerry and the Democrats, there's going to be no real tangible benefit from this convention in regards to convincing undecided voters that their side is best.
In reality, the only goal of the RNC is to rally the base (as if they needed rallying) without screwing up so badly that it hurts the campaign. Ultimately, though, this convention doesn't really mean much to the election. It isn't going to change anyone's mind. At the end of the day, both parties' conventions really are, to paraphrase Ralph Nader, just one big expensive display of narcissism.
Brett Berry is a regional development junior. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Protesters are wasting their time
After several months of planning, protests have erupted in New York City in response to the Republican National Convention. These demonstrations, ranging from organized marches to the heckling of delegates, attempt to show the solidarity of those who hate President Bush's administration. But if they are endeavoring to change anyone's opinion - whether that of the RNC or undecided voters - the protesters are being rather hopeful.
While chants are fun to shout (who doesn't love the classic "Hey, hey! Ho, ho!"), protests provide little else but rhetoric and, consequently, hardly anyone will be convinced by these protests of the evils of the Bush administration. If they haven't made up their minds after dozens of similar protests that George Bush has got to go, what is one more protest with the same hackneyed shibboleths?
And if the demonstrations won't affect the opinions of the undecided voters, do the protesters really expect to influence the outcome of the convention by somehow convincing the GOP not to offer Bush the nomination? Since Bush has yet to change his international policies after previous protests, he is even less likely to reject the nomination just because some people protested.
Although protesting blows off a lot of steam, the protests this week will accomplish nothing more. If the protesters hoped for a different result at the RNC, they should keep dreaming.
Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are the issues?
Predictable. No word better sums up what has become of the presidential nominating conventions. This week is no different. Republicans dash to the center to appeal to swing voters in a highly choreographed event. The religious right is kept quiet while moderates have prominent speaking spots.
Words such as "Sudan" and "visas" are seldom heard, but empty references to "values" and "character" come up repeatedly. Discussion of past mistakes? Of course not. For this week it's nothing but a rosy future. That mixed with repeated references to Sept. 11.
Behind the cameras are some interesting plot lines, however. The smart money was on Cheney developing sudden health problems and being replaced with a popular veep such as Rudy Giuliani. And not even the most pessimistic Republican could have imagined Bush's term being such a failure. The party faithful are left wishing they had elected John McCain the first time around.
He would be a shoo-in against Kerry.
But there will be none of that at the RNC. It's all cameras, donors and BS.
Ryan Johnson is an economics and international studies junior. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Bush's re-election bid will be solidified
The Republican National Convention is going to give the president the opportunity to fend off the attacks he's been under for months. It's going to give the American people an opportunity to have a lot of information presented to them about what the administration has done and intends to do if re-elected. It also should make activists, from both the left and the right, realize that the Republican convention truly enabled, and even encouraged, peaceful demonstrations (unlike the cages they were held in at Boston during the Democratic National Convention).
The parade of nationally-recognized and respected figures like John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani will be helpful for the campaign in terms of offering appeal to moderate voters who may find Bush to be too far to the right. A large bounce for the Bush camp is not likely to come from the convention since most of the public seems to know who they are voting for already, but with support for Kerry starting to wane even before the convention, I would think that Bush will come out with a more stable lead, even if it's only a few points. The Republican National Convention is going to mark the start of the home stretch of the campaign season and the period where the public is going to realize that Kerry will not be a good president and that re-electing Bush is exactly what the country needs.
Aaron Okin is a regional development and political science senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RNC gains no new ground for Bush
As the 38th Republican National Convention rolls on through New York, people of all backgrounds are going to be asking one question: Why do protesters get special incentive discounts while the law-abiding citizens get the shaft?
Protesters at the RNC can get discounts at hotels, restaurants and shops if they wear a button that says, "Peaceful protest activist." What the hell? People can only get a special discount if they complain about Bush? Looks to me as New York Mayor Bloomberg did not think this one all the way through.
The RNC is going to bring out all the cheap individuals to protest against the Republican Party. This incentive is essentially going to bring about more protesters than there initially would have been.
As for the convention itself, Bush and Cheney should be all right as long as they follow the subsequent parameters. By "all right," I mean they should not lose any ground, but they should not look to gain any ground either.
The Democratic National Convention did nothing to improve Kerry's campaign, and there is no concrete reason that the RNC will be a powerful driving force to increase support for Bush. As long as Bush doesn't stutter and pronounces his words correctly, he gives nothing to the media to make fun of him for. And as long as Cheney doesn't pass out or die, the dynamic duo is posed to finish the final stretch neck and neck with Kerry and Edwards.
Moe Naqvi is a physiological sciences freshman. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Protesters invaluable for stimulating debate
Poor, poor New York City. It's been through far too much. However, despite all the tragedies it has experienced, it has proven to be a resilient city, bouncing back with as much attitude and chutzpah that only a true New Yorker possesses.
Yet, this week New York will face another hardship in the form of the Republican National Convention and the obligatory mass protests across town.
Despite the fact that conventions (both Democratic and Republican) are little more than a tightly scripted pep rally with no real surprises or new developments, there is a high level of fervor and excitement surrounding it.
Sure, there might be something totally unplanned like Condoleezza Rice cracking a smile or discovering that the First Lady can do more than just stare lovingly at her husband in complete silence, that she can, gasp, actually speak.
The real excitement, however, lies with the protesters. Though others may view them as hooligans or hopelessly angry people who have nothing better to do than to make placards, they are the ones who are bringing to light the issues that the candidates fail to address while they bicker and participate in the mudslinging that is inherent in campaigning. The protesters are the only real force behind debate right now. Bush and Kerry can argue over service records and flip-flopping all they want, but it's the people in the street who are reminding the public that we need to be mindful of the direction this country is taking.
Susan Bonicillo is a junior majoring in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.