New Castle News

John K. Manna

September 8, 2012

John K. Manna: There’s little reason to expect great results from conventions

NEW CASTLE — Why do we expect so much when we anticipate so little?

That’s basically how the media look at the national political conventions, questioning why they continue to be held.

I’ve even been critical of them, saying they don’t have the significance or importance they once had since the two presidential candidates win their parties’ nominations months in advance of the conventions.

But once the conventions are under way the media analyze every word that the speakers deliver as if it’s the last speech they’ll ever give.

One columnist, for example, said President Obama failed to close the deal in his speech to the Democratic convention Thursday night and that he wasn’t specific enough.

Depending on which poll you want to consider, Obama holds a slim lead over Mitt Romney with about 6 to 7 percent of voters undecided.

What that says is most voters — if we can believe the polls — have their minds made up. So, the speeches by Romney and Obama at their respective conventions probably didn’t sway most voters one way or the other.

It’s also questionable whether everyone who says they haven’t made up their minds are really undecided.

Nonetheless, while speeches tend to stir the emotions of both supporters and opponents of any candidate, I doubt whether they have any lasting effect. I’ve never encountered anyone who said they voted for a presidential candidate because of what he said at a party convention.

The fact is voters judge candidates on their records. In this case, the election will come down to how voters feel about Obama’s job performance over the last three-plus years. If they are negative, do they believe Romney can do a better job?

That’s the way it is in any election whether local, state or national.

I love great speeches, but they shouldn’t be confused with great policy.


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John K. Manna
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