We now enter the traditional "slow" phase of a presidential and natioonal
campaign. The two nominees are known. The challenger now slowly proceeds
to the auditioning and vetting of a vice presidential choice (the media makes
too much noise about this; vice presidential choices are rarely dispositive).
The final nominees are selected for various competitive U.S. house and senate
races. First ads are run by both sides, and speeches made by both candidates,
attempting to establish campaign themes for the November campaign. The
close watch of economic conditions in the nation increases as unemployment,
stock market prices, consumer sales, manufacturing production numbers
and real estate values take on more and more importance. The likelihood that
dramatic and surprising international events is heightened.
This phase will likely last until the two national conventions. The Republican
convention will begin in Tampa in late August. The Democratic convention
opens in Charlotte in early September. The conventions themselves no longer
provide much news and drama. They are elaborate public relations tableaux
by each party to influence voters after the political doldrums of the summer.
The media will labor mightily to produce "breaking news," and both liberal and
conservative pundits will stretch their imaginations to provide some interest in
their columns, but barring the unforeseen (always possible in our 24/7 world),
it will be fairly boring over the next four months.
Important matters will be attended to, of course, as the two national presidential
campaigns and the two national committees furiously attempt to raise money for
their efforts. Both parties will also be acquiring and building voter lists, and
preparing for the onslaught of advertising and political propaganda which they
will unleash on the public in September and October
The political skills of the Obama team were established in their successful
campaign of 2008. The political skills of the Romney team have yet to be seen,
although they have acted promptly and well in the opportunities presented to
them since Mr, Romney clinched his party's nomination.
It would seem to me that the entire presidential campaign season is too long
these days, but it was shorter this year than in 2007-08 when the campaign
seemed interminable. (At least in that cycle there was genuine suspense
in the choice of nominees of both parties since no incumbent was running.)
The "slow" phase of the campaign may also appear too long, and during it
many of the headlines will be faux efforts, but the stakes are always high in a
race for president and for control of the Congress.
The latter may seem to get less attention in a presidential year, but the stakes
are almost always no less than the contest for the White House, This year in
particular, control of the Congress and the choice of the person who will
function in the Oval Office in January, 2013, will perhaps be of more
consequence than in other cycles. By the time we have concluded the "slow"
phase of 2012, this should become more and more obvious.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.