TAMPA — The big Republican show, scheduled to get underway here tomorrow after Isaac has passed us by on a course to Louisiana, is costing a bundle to put on. This includes $50 million in federal tax dollars spent on security by the party that wants government to stop spending money it doesn’t have. (The Dems will raid the federal treasury for the same amount for their séance next week in Charlotte.) No one knows what the total tab will be, except that it will be in nine figures.
The idea behind this gaudy spending by both parties is that the conventions will give the parties’ presidential tickets big send-offs into the final two-plus months of the campaign. Both parties hope to use the three days of their conventions to define their candidates in ways that voters will find attractive. And by wide agreement a great deal is at stake in this presidential election. But will anybody be watching the parties’ parties?
A survey released today by Rasmussen suggests that $100 million parties may not get as much attention as the folks putting them on would like. Just 11 percent of likely voters told Rasmussen they would be watching all of the GOP convention. Another 16 percent say they’ll watch most of it. A plurality of 44 percent claim they’ll watch some, and 24 percent say they won’t watch any.
All my life I’ve heard, as most TAS readers have as well, advocates for one presidential candidate or another saying, “This is the most important presidential election in our history.” Finally this long-standing hyperbole is true. This one really matters. But as important as this election is, politicians, even the ones I agree with, can drone on so. And the Rays will be playing an important series with the Rangers at the same time the speechifying is going on. The remote will be right there in front of me. I’m not saying I will weaken and reach for it. But the temptation will have to be dealt with firmly.