Dan Balz on the Republican National Convention in Tampa
Question 3:Will the intraparty divisions that marked the GOP primaries show up in Tampa?
The summer has been another reminder that the Republican Party is still fighting internal battles. There’s the tea party versus the establishment and then there’s Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and some of his fellow religious conservatives against, well, against almost the entire party hierarchy.
Romney has struggled to consolidate the party. But this isn’t Houston 1992, which featured Patrick Buchanan’s culture wars speech. It isn’t 1980 with Jimmy Carter chasing Ted Kennedy around the stage in New York in the hope of getting a photo of unity. It certainly isn’t 1964 in San Francisco with the Goldwater insurgents routing the Rockefeller regulars.
Look for the media to try to keep the Akin abortion story alive, at least in the opening hours of the convention. “Coverage of political tension will dominate the first few days but it quickly shifts to the big picture with the nominee’s speech,” said Democrat Kiki McLean.Any attention paid to Akin and the abortion plank in the GOP platform isn’t helpful to Romney. Republican Reed Galen believes the near-universal condemnation of the Missouri congressman and Senate nominee makes the convention well inoculated from any real damage. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has been prominent in defending Akin and condeming party leaders but he is not likely to carry those grievances to the podium when he speaks in Tampa.
Tea party problems are less likely. The selection of Ryan helped significantly with the tea party activists. Beyond that, Romney and the RNC have bent over backward to accommodate Ron Paul and his libertarian followers. Paul will hold a rally on Sunday. His son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has a speaking slot Monday. Tuesday’s session will feature a Ron Paul video.
Bottom line: This is a Republican Party that, whatever divisions it may have, is united in its desire to defeat Obama in November. That alone will provide all the energy and enthusiasm Romney needs in the hall in Tampa.
(Select from the questions below)
- 1Is it possible for Mitt Romney to reintroduce himself after the attacks by President Obama's campaign?
- 2What can Paul Ryan do to top Sarah Palin's 2008 convention speech?
- 3Will the intraparty divisions that marked the GOP primaries show up in Tampa?
- 4Will Chris Christie steal the show -- or overplay the moment?