For a politician, going to a party's national convention is like a football fan going to the Super Bowl. So why (as politickeror.com reports) is Gordon Smith probably not going to attend the Republican National Convention in September?
The official story is that the senator most likely will want to spend the first week of September campaigning in Oregon. But blogger "torridjoe" at Loaded Orygun has another explanation: Smith wants to downplay his association with the Republican Party and its presidential candidate, John McCain.
"I think it's less about losing a week in Oregon than it is showing up for a week with other Republicans, and especially being seen in the vicinity of John McCain," he writes.
"We know that Smith has spent much of the last few months doing everything possible to distance himself from [George] Bush and the Republican brand. That could all fall apart with a couple of days' newspaper coverage discussing his connection to McCain, picturing Smith and McCain at the convention arm in arm - or perish the thought, in a similar Embrace of Death that continues to follow McCain around the blogosphere like johnny paper stuck to his shoe.
"But it's not just McCain, it's the entire Republican brand. It stinks like fish at the moment, and many Republicans who would like to keep their jobs are deathly afraid of getting the stench on them."