Man Without Qualities

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Shock (and Bounce) Of The New

Spinmeisters can twirl to their heart's content, but the clear fact is that the Democratic Convention was a dud in the bounce department. Will that also be true for the 2004 Republican National Convention, to be held in New York City at Madison Square Garden from August 30 through September 2, 2004?

In a prior post I noted some reasons why it is likely that the Republican Convention will have more bounce than the Democratic version: Better timing of the Convention (avoiding the late-July-August political black hole) and disclosure of new information not aggressively disseminated by the media (I'm watching Mr. Rasmussen on television right now argue that there was "no news" emanating from the Democratic Convention - a point with which I partially agree, at least with respect to positive information). As noted in that post, "new information" (in a weak sense) which will emanate from the Republican Convention will include the Republican version of fairly well known event. But there also a great opportunity for new programs to be proposed. In this sense, the President might propose studying elimination of the income tax in favor of "consumption" taxes, some specific proposals based on (but not slavishly following) the September 11 Commission recommendations - even a new plan for flex time for workers so parents can go to Little League games (not that I think that last one would be a good idea).

My guess is that there will be a lot more "newness" to come. Some will be really new and some ... well, even Madonna sang about feeling "all shiny and new, like a virgin" pretty late in the game.

Mr. Rasmussen says he expects no substantial bounce from the Republican Convention (although he says it is theoretically possible). That's possible, but I think the probabilities are on the other side. Time will tell.

But, of course, the debates will tell a lot more.

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