Politics As Entertainment


As the old saying goes, politics is show business for ugly people. The Republican and Democratic conventions showed that maybe speechmaking can rise to the level of show business.

The entrances of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were preceded by speeches by their wives, Ann Romney and Michelle Obama. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, spoke at the Democratic convention, but Jenna Ryan, wife of Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, did not speak at the Republican convention. Paul Ryan delivered a speech the night before Romney accepted the nomination. Ryan had been chosen as Romney’s running mate just three weeks earlier.

Before Mitt Romney took the stage in Tampa, the big speeches were given by his wife Ann and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Ann was a typically sincere political wife, and Christie was bombastic. When the list of speakers was publicized, it included a “mystery speaker.” It turned out to be Clint Eastwood, who spoke not just to the audience but also to an empty chair, supposedly the President. The speech received applause and laughter, but Clint suffered next-day blasts from the media.

Romney’s speech revved up the delegates, but a Gallup poll later gave results that the convention made Republicans still likely to vote for Romney, the Democrats less likely, and Independents split 36 percent to 33 percent likely to unlikely. Huffington Post called the response to his speech “tepid.”

The Democratic Convention in Charlotte featured top speakers Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden, following his wife Jill. Before their speeches, one pundit said that the second most popular person in politics is Michelle Obama. The first is Bill Clinton. (It was hard to find confirmation of this comment.) It’s possible he was right. Both delivered outstanding speeches that met with exaltation the next day.

The convention closed with President Obama’s acceptance of the nomination. Of course the delegates roared. The next day’s Gallup poll revealed a substantial jump in his approval rating.

Now it’s time for TV commercials, volunteers on phone banks, and campaigning around the country. One Vice Presidential debate is scheduled, and three Presidential debates will take place.

So is politics a mirror of show business? Can important speeches be compared to movie and TV scripts? Even politicians’ hair has been seen as a portent to election. Celebrities don’t exactly go “on the stump” to visit plants and offices and wave from cars, but they do go on book tours and appear on talk shows.

The comment at the top is meant as a joke, but many found national conventions at least as entertaining as reality shows. Debates can be seen as even more entertaining! Can they be compared to reality show families arguing and slamming doors? Or housewives fighting it out and flipping tables?

Elections also hold an amazing suspense factor, especially when it’s a close one. Will your candidate be the winner?

Source by Kit Gillson

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