Has Denver suffered through organic fanny-packs and color-diverse food just to get shortchanged by the Democrats? According to the Los Angeles Times, the DNC may lop off a full day from the convention, opting for only three days rather than four. Ostensibly, this is to give Obama more of a bounce at the end, but the motivation more likely comes from worries of another kind of bounce altogether:
Barack Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee are toying with a convention scheduling change that has been broached before in theory but never seriously considered: cutting the party’s conclave in Denver short by one day to give Obama an extra day of post-nomination bounce in the crowded August calendar.
For the last several decades — when conventions became forums that merely rubber-stamp a presumptive nominee — they have traditionally run from Monday through Thursday. Increasingly, both parties have struggled to offer something of interest during the first couple of convention nights, and the television networks have responded by dramatically reducing live coverage. The only truly significant event has been the nominee’s acceptance speech, delivered during prime time on Thursday evening.
But Obama aides have floated the idea of ending the Denver convention on Wednesday, Aug. 27, instead of Thursday, Aug. 28.
The reason is the calendar. This year — unlike in the past, when there was some separation between the two gatherings — the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul is scheduled to begin four days later, on Monday, Sept. 1. The result, many Democrats believe, could be that Obama would not get the poll number bounce that nominees usually get immediately after being officially anointed.
Can you smell the desperation? They want to cut off 25% of their national convention in a year when the party has struggled to find unity, just so they can get one extra day of bounce between their convention and the start of the RNC’s convention in St. Paul. The dead-cat bounce that Obama generated from the end of the primaries has the Democrats worried about how much more bounce he can generate — and how long he can sustain it — when the Republicans command national attention less than a week later.
This all started with the foolish scheduling of the convention itself. The post-convention bounce is critical for Democrats, although it hasn’t been enough in most cycles. The DNC left itself with a whopping three days to experience it this year, rather than the six weeks it had in 2004. And even if they add a fourth, John McCain can trump it with a VP announcement the day after their convention closes, sucking all of the political oxygen out of the media for Obama.
However, that may only be a secondary consideration. The real bounce has come from Democratic checks that are supposed to fund this Denver shindig. The Democrats haven’t come close to their fundraising numbers for the convention and have begun paring it back already. They have canceled the auxiliary events normally staged at conventions, including two dozen welcoming parties. The DNC abruptly canceled its media walkthrough amid reports that it hadn’t had the funds to finalize its preparations.
Now the DNC wants to cut off a quarter of its convention. It sounds like a desperate way to save money more than a boost for its candidate, and it will come at the expense of the host city, and its venues and hotels. The Democrats believe they can make a play for Colorado, but that will be difficult if they pull a dine-and-dash on its Mile High city.