In fairness, The One promised America a new kind of politics, didn't he?
Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention. Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent's nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee. President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla. Even first lady Michelle Obama is in on the act, scheduling an appearance on the “David Letterman Show” smack in the middle of Romney's nominating bash ...While both parties have customarily set up messaging war rooms in their opponent's convention city, Democratic operatives say they're taking that effort to another level this year. "It's gonna be the strongest yet," a Democratic leadership aide said Wednesday.
"Political historians" attribute Team Obama's decorum-trashing, bare-knuckles approach to "polarization" on "both sides," of course:
Political historians say the high stakes of this year's elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive. "Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye," said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University. But that "gentlemen's agreement," Baker said, has been largely abandoned as "a consequence of the polarization of American politics." He characterized the old tradition as a "quaint code of etiquette" destined to become a "remnant of the 20th century." Julian Zelizer, a congressional expert at Princeton University, agreed that the change is coming in large part because of the modern media environment.
Republicans plan to offer more traditional counter-programming during the truncated DNC, as well:
Republicans, meanwhile, are also setting up a war room in Charlotte, N.C., to hobble any momentum the Democrats might gain when they stage their convention there in the first week of September. GOP operatives have released very few details about that effort, however, and have given no indication they will counter Biden's Tampa visit by sending anyone as high-profile — such as Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — to campaign in North Carolina.
Is taking the high road an effective approach against ruthless partisans? Perhaps RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is re-adjusting his strategy, now that Democrats have thrown protocol and respect to the wind. Reprisals await:
"I think it's pretty common among parties to play with each other's conventions, and we'll have a pretty big presence in Charlotte as well," Priebus said. "The nice thing about going first is that whatever they do to us, we can do ten times over to them." Does that mean that Romney may counter-program the Democratic convention in Charlotte next month? Priebus replied "You never know where we are going to be. I'm a big believer in: if they punch us, we put on the brass knuckles and punch back," he added.
Congratulations, Mr. President. Your inspirational 'hope and change' temperament has truly elevated American politics. Bravo. I'll leave you with Prince Pious wringing his hands about the "corrosive" nature of "slash and burn" campaigns a few years back, followed by a extra special video presentation:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography