Sports and Politics

No, that title isn’t a list of my two favorite things in the world – it’s the reason why John McCain and Barack Obama should announce their Vice-Presidential picks in the next two weeks. On August 8th, the 2008 Summer Olympics begin in Beijing, and will basically dominate the news until the closing ceremonies on the 24th: the day before the start of the Democratic Convention in Denver. By the time that ends on the 28th, we’ll be days away from the RNC in St Paul, Minnesota. So for the presumptive nominees of both parties, time’s a’wasting.

Barack Obama and the Democrats already know that the news media will be completely focused on them from August 25-28th, so what’s the point of announcing then? It would be like my Wisconsin Badgers running up the score against Northwestern, when they could have used that energy to beat Ohio State (sports + politics = college football analogies). Also, he knows that any announcement in the days before the convention would lose its airtime to the closing ceremonies in Beijing.

And though it might seem like John McCain has more timing options since the Republican Convention comes a week after the DNC, consider this: Barack Obama’s accepts his party’s nomination for President on August 28th (a Thursday), and his party’s convention begins just 5 days later on September 2nd (a Tuesday). All through that weekend, the news media will be basking in the afterglow of Obama’s speech at INVESCO Field, and by the time they’re done with that, it’s show time in St Paul (and I’ll refer back to my Wisconsin football analogy). McCain may also want to lead the way with his Veep selection – he’s often been shown as reacting to Barack Obama, not making the first move, something he could change when he picks a running mate.

So if Barack Obama and John McCain want the most media play for their respective choices for Vice-President, they’ll do it sometime in the next 10 days – maybe late this week or early next week, so as not to run up against the Olympics’ opening ceremonies. Otherwise we, may hear this on CNN: “And we interrupt this discussion of Barack Obama’s running mate because someone has pole-vaulted higher than anyone else ever has before!!”

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One Response

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