It’s Spring, and as the saying (sorta) goes, (in an even-numbered year) a politicians thoughts turn to getting re-elected. Feh. So it’s no surprise that the usual suspects turn out to pay homage to the party faithful at the NRA confab. What is a surprise, however, is how many pols phone it in.
Now if you were doing one of those circle charts that are so popular in efficiency expert meetings, the circle that represents the NRA membership and the circle that represents the people likely to vote GOP would most closely resemble the logo for Target stores. In other words, if you wanna talk to a friendly audience, with a near (stasticially-improbable) 100% match to your market demo, head to the NRA conference, mount the stage, and deliver some red meat to the membership.
It’s April, and the party caucuses, early primaries, and other things designed to Make You Fed Up With The Entire Process are still months away. So, (as the theory goes, anywho) the market is hungry for some facetime with candidates, potential candidates, and party elders. So it’s with a certain degree of inquisitive speculation I speculate on why some people showed, and some people sent videos.
Now I can give Haley Barbour a pass. As Gov. of MS, he’s got his hands full with storm damage (not as much as the Governors of Alabama and Georgia), and he recently announced he wouldn’t be running for President in 2012. And I can understand why Newt would show. Even with as well known as Gingrich is, I don’t know of any Conservative that is dying for him to be the front-runner. Secretary of State? Natch. Commander in Chief? Um…no.
Some guys showed. You’d expect the PA guys to be here. Representatives, current Senator, former Senator, et cetera, they all paid their respects to LaPierre, Cox, et all. John Bolton? Present and accounted for. The always-reliable Ollie North? Reliable as always.
But the list of who didn’t show is more telling. Trump – a no-show. (And given the egg on his face from Obama’s Birth Certificate Boogie, he probably needed a little boost in the polls.) Romney – phoned it in. So a video visit is good enough? I think not. Michelle Bachmann? Direct to DVD.
So my question is…why? I mean, it’s a little too early for any of the candidates to think “I’ve got this in the bag.” And by the time next year’s NRA show comes around, we’ll be talking about either an heir-apparent, or a couple of pols duking it out for the big prize, right? For Romney, Bachmann, and the others who phoned it in, I’m wondering what kinda prom date would be that much better to cause them to jilt the NRA.
Now, thinking back to ’08, showing up at the NRA confab is not an automatic “impress your friends/intimidate your enemies” thing you might presume it to be. Just ask Rudy Giuliani, who’s cell phone stunt with his wife got a response that sounded like crickets chirping, and left the rest of the country wondering what he was thinking. Also keep in mind that in ’07, the conventional wisdom was that it would be Giuliani vs. Clinton in a battle to the finish. Not so much. Which I think points to the advisability of kissing a little NRA patootie when you can, if you’re seeking the highest office in the land.