Republican and Democratic party national conventions are always a mix of content and choreography. The relative mix of both tells us the shape that a party is in. Quality content with fitting form is the sign of a healthy party. A party in bad shape will have mostly form (choreographers are easy to hire) to deflect attention from an absence of ideas and content.
A few short weeks have passed since the conclusion of the Democratic convention. Can anyone recall what he or she heard from John Kerry and John Edwards? Does anyone have a clue what specifically they have in mind for our nation? I'm trying to avoid being partisan here, but I would like anyone to tell me one creative new idea he or she heard during the four days that the Dems met in Boston.
This week's Republican convention was a refreshing contrast. Whether or not you agree with George W. Bush's take on the world, the week in New York left little doubt what this man is about.
I walked away from a week in New York with a clear sense that Bush is about a strong and unapologetic U.S. stance around the world and a society at home emphasizing an increasing role of American citizen in controlling all aspects of their lives.
The choreography of the Republican convention was also interesting to note. As unapologetic as the Republicans came off regarding what they believe, they were equally unflinching in having this message delivered uniformly by tough white men - John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudolph Giuliani, Zell Miller.
Gone was the usual attempt to showcase the big tent. Where was the usual high-profile trotting out of the blacks, the Latinos and the women?
Recall that in 2000 Republicans were falling over themselves to show the nation that the Bush administration had given blacks lofty positions of unprecedented influence.
It was almost as if the Bush administration was saying this time around: "We've got important business to do here and not a lot of time to get it done. The focus needs to be on getting our message across as clearly and forcefully as possible. There isn't time here for the usual political affirmative action games."
As a black woman, am I offended by this?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, when I am looking for someone to give me tax advice, guidance on how to invest my money or ideas on how to manage my organization, I'm looking for content, not form. The marketplace is too unforgiving, and the rewards too attractive, to look for anyone other than those who will provide the best information and advice. Why should the criteria be any different in choosing those who will run my government?