How Political Handlers Create the Convention Movie

Welcome back....
Having taken a month off from this blog, it's good to be back. Although we didn't go too far afield, Laura and I managed to have a few days in East Hampton, a couple of days on the Jersey Shore and a number of days.... in the backyard. Oh yeah, we managed to do about a dozen seminars in Ottawa, Washington, Mt. Laurel NJ, Montebello, Quebec and a few points in between. Although, with the hottest summer on record, it was a joy to slow down the pace of our lives and watch the grass burn turn yellow.
How Political Handlers Create the Convention Movie
The Republicans have had a rocky week - begun with the Todd Aiken fiasco, and if that disaster wasn't bad enough, a natural disaster in the form of Hurricane Isaac chose Convention week to come ashore in New Orleans - on the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Would that movie pitch be believable in Hollywood?
Political managers work hard to choreograph these conventions like a screenwriter and director creating a feature film. Just as in a movie, the politicos have to understand what the story is that they need to tell. There has to be a clear narrative - brought to life by the cast of characters. They need to have drama. To entertain. To create a sense of excitement and buzz, so that those who attend and who view it on their flat-panels, laptops and smart-phones will share it in new media to their networks of friends. Oh yeah, it's also about politics.

Santorum's Performance Appeases the Disenchanted

Former candidate Rick Santorum was brought out to appease the disenchanted, the bruised and the reluctant. In Sen. Santorum's case, it was vintage tonic to the party's base. He evoked emotion and passion with core conservative beliefs. His strong endorsement of the Romney/Ryan ticket came right at the end. It would have helped the leader if that had been woven throughout his speech. However, given the vitriol of the primary campaign, it was probably the most that he could expect from his former rival.

Ann Romney Takes a Starring Role

The spouse - in this case Ann Romney - is a star of this picture. She was brought out to introduce the human side - to help close the gender gap and to reshape the public image of her husband.  How did she do? In a word, she was terrific. Poised, warm, genuine in her feelings, she spoke to the values of her family and -she hopes- of the American people. She hit a chord with those at the Convention, and one, suspects, with the soccer moms and middle class voters that the ticket has to win over. She exceeded expectations, without a doubt. When she was joined onstage by her husband, you could see the tears welling up in his eyes as he realized how truly lucky he is to have her in this movie - and in his life.
Best Supporting Actor Chris Christie Almost Steals the Movie

Gov. Chris Christie revelled in his supporting actor role as a "New Jersey Republican". In a performance worthy of John Candy, he gave a highly personal performance with humor, sentimentality and - most importantly - connection to his audience. Again, it took him a long, long time to mention the name 'Mitt Romney'. It should have been caught in the read-through,  prior to principal photography. Mr. Romney sat in on his speech, but didn't look exactly animated as the cameras panned to him throughout. Governor Christie worked himself up into a powerful ending - inviting the audience to stand up and join him - and with Mitt Romney. One got the impression that the Governor was working to get star billing in the next big feature going into production in 2016. He may be on his way. Was it on a par with Ted Kennedy's in 1980 or Barack Obama's Barack Obama's in 2004? No, but powerful nonetheless in its own way. It was infinitely better than Bill Clinton's notoriously disastrous keynote at the 1988 Convention, but he turned that disaster into a triumph, by appearing on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show a few days later to poke fun at himself.
Waiting for Romney's Star Billing Performance
Mitt Romney now must give the speech of his lifetime. He cannot play it safe. He must break through the barriers that still remain between him and the switch voters. He needs to come across as real and with a plan to turn the economy around. People need to see in his performance a leader that understands them and their families.  The Republicans have a lot riding on it. If it doesn't get the box office the producers need, there's always the Democrat version due out next week!
Saying Goodbye to a True Hero
The world lost someone this past week whose name will be known the world over a millennium from now. That, of course, is Neil Armstrong, a reluctant and humble man who was the first to set foot on the moon. In my household, I recall vividly our family's excitement at that historic moment. One of my treasured keepsakes is a photograph that my father took of the television picture at that moment. It signified an incredible moment of human courage, scientific brilliance and a vision that pulled the world together. One of my favorite singer-songwriters was the late John Stewart and his song 'Armstrong' popped into my head when I heard the news of his passing.
"The rivers are getting dirty
The wind 
is getting bad
War and hate are killing off
The only earth we have
But the world all stopped to watch it
On that July afternoon
To watch a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon
To watch a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon."

-John Stewart, 1969.

With all the superficial stuff that occupies us, it sure puts what's truly important in life into perspective.
Until next time........