Yesterday, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times discussed the timing each campaign will consider to announce their respective Vice Presidential selections. He states:
“…the calendar also presents an opportunity for Mr. McCain. The Democratic convention ends on Thursday Aug. 28, and the Republican convention begins the following Monday. What better way for Mr. McCain to squash whatever lift Mr. Obama receives from his convention than to announce his choice for running mate just as Democrats are folding their tent in Denver? It would knock Mr. Obama to the back of the stage and give Mr. McCain a nice little lift going into his own convention. And yes, Republicans say that is something that is under very serious consideration in the McCain camp.”
Nagourney’s guess seems to make the most sense for McCain: Stop the bounce and gain the benefit of selecting someone that can counter Obama’s selection.
But what other option does McCain really have? Due to the Summer Olympics, the only alternative would be to make the selection in early August/late July. In terms of days before the Convention, a selection at this time would be much earlier than any of the previous selections from either Party over the past 20 years.
Would that be so bad?
Well, let’s consider the negatives…the most glaring would be that McCain could not select someone to counter Obama’s pick, and in turn, would give that advantage to Obama. The other negative is missing the opportunity to negate the Obama post-convention bounce, as described by Nagourney. But, is that really the case? Is coverage of the beginning of the National GOP Convention really that much less than that of the VP selection if both are at the same time? It would seem that the coverage of both would lessen the impact of each. In other words, coverage of the beginning of the GOP convention should have enough of an impact on Obama’s post-convention bounce in order to enable McCain to make their selection earlier.
So what are the benefits of selecting the GOP Vice Presidential candidate before the Summer Olympics? Well, provided the timing is right, it could be the last major political story before coverage of the Olympics commences and the public tunes out due to an obsession with women’s gymnastics or their own personal vacations to wherever people go before school starts.
Now if we assume that McCain will make a solid selection :cough: SARAH PALIN! :cough: then McCain will go into this downtime on a likely poll upswing. Public opinion is unlikely to sway in any major way over the course of the Olympics and McCain can enjoy higher than usual poll numbers for 16 days. Upon the completion of the American ass-kicking of the world(yay Women’s gymnastics!), we have the bounce for Obama with his convention which is quickly muted by the GOP convention.
Another positive is that Pali….er….the VP selection could then be used for fundraising events/rallies/as a major TV surrogate much earlier than Obama, or anyone, likely expected. Also, the usual negative vetting that comes days after the selection could be muted by the lack of coverage due to the Olympics.
The question then seems, do these positives outweigh the fact that Obama will be able to base his selection off of McCain’s choice? Clearly, it seems to be a benefit for Obama, but the media also will likely heighten the pressure of making the correct choice. If he doesn’t, or if he seems to be pandering to fit McCain’s choice, then Obama could get ripped apart throughout the fourth estate.
Quite a conundrum, eh?