Events to watch at Tuesday's convention session
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) -- Here's what to watch Tuesday at the GOP National Convention:
Party poopers: John McCain has been a good sport of late, releasing his delegates and refusing to take the same shots at Texas Gov. George W. Bush that he did during the primary season. But how will his delegates react tonight when they have a chance to express their feelings for the man many of them still think would be a better president than Bush?
There are only a couple of hundred McCain delegates and alternates, but you can bet they will get a lot of face time on network TV when McCain starts to speak. Will they be boisterous, envious, or rambunctious? Will they show any signs of bitterness or spite? Will they exhort him to run in the future (and will he make any hints that he might)? The fate of the Democratic party in the 1980s could be read in the reactions of Kennedy delegates in 1980 and Jackson delegates in 1984 when their candidates had a chance to speak. Regardless of what McCain actually says, his followers' emotions will say a lot about whether they can be peacefully reassimilated into the party.
Negativity:The GOP claimed they would run a happy, upbeat convention free from partisan invective and so far have managed to do so. But this is a convention, and convention audiences demand red meat. Can the party keep from bashing Clinton and trashing Gore, or will hotter heads prevail?
Who gets the loudest cheers? Tonight's session will include salutes to previous Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan and the presumptive nominee's father, George H. W. Bush. Reagan has always been the man who can bring the GOP faithful to their feet, and it's very likely that he will receive the loudest and longest ovation out of sympathy as well as nostalgia. But it's not out of the question that the elder Bush will get an even longer and more heartfelt ovation than Reagan will, if only because he had the good luck to start a Republican dynasty. If that happens, it's one more sign, like the platform before it, that the Bush wing has taken over not just this year's nomination but the hearts and minds of the party.
Roll Call II: Five Keyes delegates from Arkansas spoiled Bush's chances of getting a perfect score in the roll call vote last night. Will that give ideas to other Keyes delegates, or anyone else who wants to rock the boat? In previous years, misfits and mischief makers had little chance to join forces spontaneously since the roll call was confined to a single night. Now, the Keyes votes from Arkansas might have planted a seed that will have up to 72 hours to sprout. Will the Bush forces be able to whip the remaining delegation into shape, or will a few random delegates continue to stray from the party line? By changing the rules, the GOP may have turned a tiresome one-night chore into a minor (and ultimately meaningless) soap opera.
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