A Pacific Time Convention in an Eastern Time Election

I question the timing of the Republican Convention.

Despite the Republican convention being truncated to three days, they managed to lose my interest last night within the first ten minutes of prime time and hadn’t gotten to the headliners yet before I went to bed. With all of the swing states in either the Eastern or Central time zones, why is this thing being staged for those on Pacific time?

Even having lopped off the opening night, it’s not as if the remaining schedule was action-packed. Here’s the line-up up speakers for prime time (all times Central):

7:00 p.m. Reconvene
Remarks by Speaker John Boehner
Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate
Remarks by Janine Turner
Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
8:00 p.m. Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist
Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)
Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)
Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray
Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)
9:00 p.m. Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)
Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)
Remarks by Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)
Remarks by Artur Davis
Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)
10:00 p.m. Remarks by Mrs. Luce’ Vela Fortuño
Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney
Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)
Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez
Adjournment

I follow politics much, much more closely than most and I don’t know who half those people are. Now, okay, a lot of them are from swing states. That makes some sense. But the candidate for lieutenant governor of Delaware?! A congressional candidate from Saratoga Springs, Utah, where the Republican nominee automatically wins? 

Let’s stipulate that I’m an unusual case. It’s a good night for me if I get awakened only once, and I’m seldom up much past 10 accordingly. But I nonetheless tuned in at 8 to CNN’s coverage (I’ll be tuning in to C-SPAN from now on) and was treated to the Oak Ridge Boys singing “Amazing Grace” and several other annoying time-wasters as the prime time opener. Fifteen minutes in, they still hadn’t gotten to anything interesting and I decided to watch the season finale of “The Newsroom” via DVR-delay instead. And it’s not even a particularly good show. (The characters are getting better but the idyllic “news” program that’s at the heart of the show remains farcical.)

The RNC has been given three hours of prime time for three nights to target their message to undecided voters and they give us . . . the Oak Ridge Boys? At precisely whom is this being aimed? How many voters in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia were thinking to themselves, “If they start right in with the speechifying, I’m voting for Obama! Give me some of that old time Gospel music!”  And how better to send a subliminal message about the Grand Old Party than using a singing group whose last hit was the year Ronald Reagan was inaugurated?

Anyway, after my DVR interlude, I flipped back to the convention. Rick Santorum was on, so I hit mute and went to check email. After a while, I went up to read before turning in and flipped it on to see if Ann Romney was on yet; I was instead treated to a fellow with a high-pitched voice and an MC Hammer haircut called Artur Davis, who’s actually a rather impressive fellow but not much of a speechmaker. I went back to ESPN the Magazine for a bit and turned up to see Nikki Haley who, while a nice looking lady, wasn’t worth staying up for and I turned off the TV.

By this point, it was well past 10 pm on the East Coast. Granted, people have been known to stay up well past that. Once football season mercifully rolls around this weekend, I’ll stay up past midnight occasionally for a game involving my Crimson Tide or Cowboys. But what percentage of the people who might have been interested in hearing Ann Romney’s speech—much less Chris Christie’s keynote, which presumably ended after 11—had given up by the time they came up?

Of course, people living out in California were still at work during “Amazing Grace” and the boring speeches. But I don’t think they even bother holding elections out there, since a Republican hasn’t won an electoral vote from that time zone in a quarter century.*

___________________
*That’s a bit tongue in cheek. In fact, Nevada went Republican once.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Andre Kenji says:

    Mia Love is not only the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. She also happens to be a Black Woman.

  2. Mark says:

    I think all of your points get to the most important questions for me – who is this convention for? Who is their target audience? Does any of this matter to anyone?

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Andre Kenji: Ah. A common theme: Really, some of our best candidates are black! I get the impulse but . . . sigh.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Is this surprising? It shouldn’t be. The GOP/RNC really don’t get this whole politics thing. These sorts of details are like quantum physics for them. The same holds true for Team Romney. Shit, the latter rolled out Ryan as veep early in the a.m. on a Saturday while the Olympics still were in full force. You’d actually have to explain to them why that didn’t make any sense.

    There are a lot of differences between Republicans and Democrats and one of the most striking is pure political skill. The former are inept and often approach election cycles in the mode of “principles over politics,” which is the political oxymoron of all time. The latter are ruthless and cunning and ever since the Tammany Hall days have lived, ate, slept, breathed and even crapped politics.

  5. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Except the Democratic scheduling will be pretty much the same. The big speeches will be late in the evening and the rest of the program will be filled with the also-rans. It’s just more proof that the conventions themselves are pointless, at least in their current format.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Wow…a night of bald-faced lies and poaturing for 2016 and all you have to comment on is that you had to stay up late to watch it?
    I guess it’s getting harder and harder for you to find anything good to say about these nut-cases, eh?

  7. I guess it worked, if the goal was my California convenience. I got in my car yesterday evening, and found myself listening to an enthusiastic guy with kind of a high voice. It took me a little while to figure out that it was Chris Christie.

    I guess the goal for that speech and from here on is mobilization for turnout.

  8. mattb says:

    Intentionaly or not, the grumpy, indignant frustration of this write-up (while spot on) is worthy of Andy Rooney.

    More Old Man Joyner complains articles please!

  9. C. Clavin says:
  10. James Joyner says:

    @C. Clavin: First, every blog post isn’t about every thing. Indeed, most are about just one thing. Second, as I’d thought I’d made clear, I watched a grand total of 15 minutes of this spread out over 2-1/2 hours. The point of the piece was that even a dedicated watcher like myself was turned away.

    @mattb: I suspect that’ll happen naturally. I’m feeling more Andy Rooney-ish all the time.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    James, you’re a little young to be Andy-Rooneying out on us.

  12. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: Probably. But two things are at work here. First, with two small kids, I’m not getting enough sleep and go to bed early both out of exhaustion and to increase the chances of getting in a decent stretch before the first wake-up. Second, spending so much time each day online has simply sapped my patience for poorly orchestrated live-casts. In the old days, it was somewhat novel to see these people and hear the speeches. Now, though, I’m already annoyed by 8:03 if they haven’t gotten to something interesting. I’m sure that a lot of viewers are the same way: Get to the good stuff. Now.

  13. Murray says:

    If you can only stand it for 15 minutes, I guess I am sensible in restricting myself to the Daily Show coverage of the “even”.

  14. It is a pretty obvious flub not to time the headliners for the swing states. Worse yet to time them for blue states.

  15. @Murray:

    Oh oh, I think maybe my DVR is rejecting Comedy Central coverage as not “TDS” … I’ll have to check.

  16. PJ says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Mia Love is not only the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. She also happens to be a Black Woman.

    Did someone throw peanuts at her too?

    CNN refused, at first, to write about it. It probably just was a he said, she said story anyway, the nice attendees just wanted to offer her some food.

    Romney will race-bait and CNN will be quiet about it, because both sides are equally true.

  17. @PJ:

    The he said, she said, story involves a camera woman. The world would be a different place today if she’d gotten that thing turned on and in the right direction.

  18. al-Ameda says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Mia Love is not only the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. She also happens to be a Black Woman.

    Okay, so it’s Clarence Thomas, Allen West, Herman Cain, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Mia Love. That should result Romney winning the Black vote.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna: according to TPM, the RNC has kicked the 2 offending attendees out.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Okay, so it’s Clarence Thomas, Allen West, Herman Cain, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Mia Love. That should result Romney winning the Black vote.

    The only result will be the GOP’s continued insistence that “SEE! We aren’t racist just because we want to limit the Black and Hispanic vote!”

  21. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I just saw that. What a world.

  22. PJ says:

    @john personna:

    The he said, she said, story involves a camera woman. The world would be a different place today if she’d gotten that thing turned on and in the right direction.

    Nope, CNN would have just deleted the tapes.
    Fairness and all.
    For all we know, there may actually be video of it, or there was.

  23. PJ says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    according to TPM, the RNC has kicked the 2 offending attendees out.

    The RNC obviously caved to some partisan reporter trying to make Republicans look racist, if only all news networks were as fair as CNN.

  24. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    I suspect that’ll happen naturally. I’m feeling more Andy Rooney-ish all the time.

    Not for nothing, but if you and Michael Reynolds were to do a “Grumpy Old Pundits” thing (embracing your inner curmudgeons) I would no be able to push dollars into my computer fast enough!

    On a more serious note, given everything you and your family has gone through in the past year, you’re more than entitled to be a little “Andy Rooney-ish.” Frankly it amazes me that you’ve been able to continue to blog at the level you have!

  25. Anderson says:

    Weird thread. Of course JJ is right — it’s stupid to hold the main speeches at 10:00 and after.

    Of course, if the GOP would prefer for voters to *read* about what Ann Romney and Chris Christie said, rather than hear the actual words, then maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

    I hope the Dems pick up on this fail and adjust their schedule accordingly.

  26. dennis says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    The latter are ruthless and cunning and ever since the Tammany Hall days have lived, ate, slept, breathed and even crapped politics

    I don’t know why you guys are smoking T.Nic on this; he’s pretty much correct. I wouldn’t go so far as calling the DNC ruthless and cunning; let’s face it: they could attack in a much worse, more effective fashion. But the comparison is accurate. Hell, compare the RNC and GWB 2000 campaign to the RNC today. The ineptness of Romney’s team is clear, as is the inability of the RNC to correct it.

  27. dennis says:

    @ James Joyner

    Another thing, James. I’ve heard, several times over the past week, that the Ryan pick and the convention speaker lineup were designed to “mobilize the base.” I thought the base WAS mobilized?!?!?! Shouldn’t they be past that? Can you explain why they’re still in that mode, rather than on the way to bringing it home?

  28. Jeremy R says:

    @PJ:

    Did someone throw peanuts at her too?

    CNN refused, at first, to write about it. It probably just was a he said, she said story anyway, the nice attendees just wanted to offer her some food.

    Romney will race-bait and CNN will be quiet about it, because both sides are equally true.

    They actually finally put something up confirming it:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/29/two-people-removed-from-rnc-after-taunting-black-camera-operator/

    Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, “This is how we feed animals.”

    Multiple witnesses observed the exchange and RNC security and police immediately removed the two people from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

  29. James Joyner says:

    @dennis: I gather that both parties have decided that there are so few undecideds out there who will actually vote that the key this year is getting out the vote. That means it’s a motivate the troops election rather than a convince the middle election.

  30. Jeremy R says:

    Kessler upgrades the “didn’t build it” idiocy to the max 4 Pinocchios after the GOP builds their entire convention around the phrase; also gives the welfare claims in various convention speeches 4 Pinnochios too:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/fact-checking-the-gop-conventions-opening-night/2012/08/29/ee54a05c-f18b-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_blog.html#pagebreak

  31. dennis says:

    @James Joyner:

    Aahhh, ok. Thanks, James.

  32. swbarnes2 says:

    @James Joyner:

    I gather that both parties have decided that there are so few undecideds out there who will actually vote that the key this year is getting out the vote. That means it’s a motivate the troops election rather than a convince the middle election.

    So you figured this out the week after Romney makes a birther joke, which you found totally inexplicable at the time.

    Does this revelation mean that in the coming months, when major Republicans say blatently racist things about Obama, you’ll makes posts explaining that they did that to excite their racist base, rather than playing dumb, and insisting that saying offensive lies the base loves is a mistake?

    I’m a little thrown by the “both parties” thing. You must have a few examples in your head of Democrats making the equivelent of birther jokes to make liberals excited, but what are those examples?

  33. An Interested Party says:

    The former are inept and often approach election cycles in the mode of “principles over politics,” which is the political oxymoron of all time.

    Yet more bull$hit from the reality-challenged one…

  34. Andre Kenji says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Okay, so it’s Clarence Thomas, Allen West, Herman Cain, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Mia Love. That should result Romney winning the Black vote.

    Yes.

    Anyway, both Mia Love(And all the names that you mentioned) and Arthur Davis shows how difficult it is to be a Black Republican in the United States. A Black politician is only accepted among Republicans if he assumes the most extreme positions on the conservative side, way more conservative than most Blacks or normal people. A Black politician is only accepted among Democrats if he is the most reliable liberal possible: that kills any possibilty of being ellected to a governorship or to the Senate in most states.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    A Black politician is only accepted among Democrats if he is the most reliable liberal possible…

    Umm, in case you didn’t know, the current President of the United States is hardly “the most reliable liberal possible”…

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    A Black politician is only accepted among Democrats if he is the most reliable liberal possible: that kills any possibilty of being ellected to a governorship or to the Senate in most states.

    I’m not sure where this comes from, but I can’t even think of a “most reliable liberal possible” Black politician that holds any kind of state wide or national office. Blacks that get elected in even the most Blue states tend to be pragmatic, fiscally moderate-to-conservative and socially liberal. Obama, Brooks, Patrick? Unless you are categorizing these guys as exteme liberals?

  37. Andre Kenji says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Blacks that get elected in even the most Blue states tend to be pragmatic, fiscally moderate-to-conservative and socially liberal. Obama, Brooks, Patrick? Unless you are categorizing these guys as exteme liberals?

    No, these are the exceptions. There are more people of Indian descent elected as Senator or Governor than Blacks. Patrick did not came from traditional Black politics, and 90% of the CBC would never be elected to statewide office.

    Take Arthur Davis as a exemple. It´s impossible to deal with Jesse Jackson and the people of Alabama at the same time.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Andre Kenji: I still don’t get your point. Arthur Davis is an extremist. Jesse Jackson is, well, I’m not sure what he is, but he’s never been elected to any office, much less a statewide or national office.

    So – can you name a single statewide or national office holder that is both black and “the most reliable of liberals”? Or did I misunderstand what you were saying?