Sabato's Crystal Ball

Low-Carb Convention Wrap

Peter Jackson, Senior Correspondent August 31st, 2004

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Twist and Shout

Just as the Republicans did this July in Boston, the Democrats have setup a rapid response center to spin the news coming out of Madison Square Garden. A direct twist of the banner that hung above President Bush when he declared an end to hostilities aboard the USS Abraham on May 1, 2003, the Democrats established missionnotaccomplished.com. The team includes New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, New York Congressman Charles Rangel, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, and General Merrill McPeak. There’s even a banner in Times Square.

But the effect of this group will barely be felt. Just like last month, the media know that this week is for the party holding the convention. As was argued last month, it’s all about the balloons, not the substance, or rather, lack of substance to the convention.

Where Do They Get These Numbers?

At a National Republican Senatorial Committee press conference this afternoon Chairman and Virginia Senator George Allen commented that “California has an opportunity to really be turning around” this year, referencing the race there between Senator Barbara Boxer and former Secretary of State Bill Jones. Allen also noted that Jones is only four points behind Boxer in their latest poll.

After spending an inordinate amount of time scratching its head, the Crystal Ball proceeded to check on the latest polling data. The last non-partisan poll by The Field Poll in fact shows Boxer ahead 17 points.

There is, however, reason to believe that California may be wobbling toward the GOP. Voters there ousted Democratic Governor Gray Davis and installed the Republican action-hero-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is slated to speak tonight. As Bill Jones noted, “You will hear tonight that California is back, and it’s back with a roar.”

The quote generating the best response from the small gathering of political reporters came from Congressman Jim DeMint in response to a lengthy debate about presidential coattails: “We look pretty good in South Carolina and I think my coattails will help the President.”

In anticipation of tonight’s program, the Crystal Ball would like to point out a fact that many observers from both parties have glanced over: should Carl Weathers find his way into the governor’s mansion in one of the fifty states, “Predator” would be the first movie to have three of its stars go on to serve as a state’s chief executive.

Primetime Viewing Guide

Night two of the Republican National Convention is the first to be broadcast by the major networks. If you can’t get enough of your favorite cable news personality, stick to CNN, FNC or MSNBC. Die-hard political junkies that would rather watch the convention in the raw should tune to C-SPAN.