It’s All in the Timing

John McCain will probably announce his Vice-Presidential pick on August 29th, hours after Barack Obama’s speech closes the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and a few days before the Republicans have theirs in St. Paul, Minnesota. This announcement can have two possible outcomes: it can neuter the wave of media attention surrounding Barack Obama’s speech, or it can get passed over by networks still eager to go over the previous night’s events.

Obviously, the former is the affect the McCain campaign would most like to see, since the vice-presidential pick is an important card in the media battle presidential campaigns have become. When it is used well, the candidate has almost total news attention, with pundits on cable news shows devoting hours to the campaign and how it just got stronger (given that you make the right choice, of course). McCain will make his choice public the day after the Obama speech at INVESCO Field, and odds are it will be a good one, on par with his oration at ’04 DNC. Convention speech analysis (especially with a candidate whose skills at the podium have been prominently featured in the news), and general reaction from what promises to be an exciting convention, could (if Republicans gets their way) all be forgotten when McCain makes his veep choice the next day.

However the result Democrats hope for is just the opposite: McCain makes his veep pick, and – after a moment’s notice – everyone turns their attention back to the Obama speech and Democratic Convention. That would make the McCain campaign seem futile in the face of an Obama media onslaught, and it would further showcase the major difference in popularity between the two candidates.

So, which of the two will play out a week from now? Well, if the pick is a “safe” one (someone like Tim Pawlenty, whose name has been on veepstakes shortlists since the beginning), I think McCain’s worst-case scenario of a media that’s completely “Barackupied” come August 29th, will become a reality. And I think even a more unexpected pick (someone like Joe Lieberman) could have the same result. John McCain ‘s decision to announce his running mate the day after the Obama speech was a mistake – he’s taking a big risk, and I don’t think it will pay off.

Then again, I predicted these candidates would announce their picks a few weeks ago…

And remember – Youth Radio (and Savidge for America) will be at the Democratic Convention next week, so for all your DNC coverage check out


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