Look, I know speechwriting is hard. Gathering those dozens of advisers and having witty sayings filtered through focus groups can take time. And you really did put a huge amount of effort into that acceptance speech the other day.
But 37 million people watched that speech. One would assume that includes the few hundred hard-core supporters you’re speaking in front of today, as well as the thousands of loser couch potatoes like myself who have nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than watch CNN.
So why are you repeating your speech verbatim? Why are you using the exact same lines that have been replayed over the news networks since? And why, oh why, are you repeating the same jokes you gave then, as if your crowd hadn’t heard them before? You know, the joke about your kids missing the chef you fired? Or the one about selling the governor’s private jet on eBay (even though you didn’t)?
People aren’t laughing at your jokes, because they’ve all heard them before. They’re applauding, because they liked it the first time and are so awed by your presence that they don’t mind not seeing anything new.
I admit, I get a perverse pleasure out of people who are the creators of their own misfortune. Tragedies in the classical sense. Not necessarily causing death, but at least causing inconvenience. Hurricane Gustav created two examples of this, and the victims are our favourite punching bags: politicians and the media.
Of course, there was no rain the night of Obama’s acceptance speech, and the Democratic convention went off without a hitch. But the day after, as John McCain was announcing his vice-presidential pick, we start hearing about this hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast. Toward New Orleans. Three years almost to the day that Katrina struck.
The second example comes from our good friends at CNN. When Barack Obama announced his VP pick, CNN filled the airwaves with news and analysis. Responding to a viewer comment via Facebook (oh how the media has changed, folks), anchor Rick Sanchez says this on air:
By the way, I have to share this with you. It is from Sam. He says, Rick — this is on Facebook — I’m counting on you to do the same kind of coverage when McCain announces his vice president as you’re doing tonight when Barack Obama has announced his vice president. Sam, we’ve already made that decision. I can guarantee you we will.
No caveats, no ifs or buts, just a bold guarantee. Of course, neither CNN nor the other news networks are coming close to meeting that guarantee for the convention. Half the news about Sarah Palin was surrounded (literally) by hurricane updates, and the convention coverage is being threatened by it. Even the convention itself is changing plans at the last minute to deal with people (like President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal) who can’t speak.
I actually feel a bit bad for the Republicans. It’s not their fault this hurricane hit with such horrible timing, nor is it their fault that Bristol Palin got pregnant. If they lose in November, it should be because of the issues, not because the campaign was derailed by … well, acts of God.