Thursday, May 27, 2004

Political conventions

The Wall Street Journal editorial page might be the Defenders of Wealth Against Justice, but they sure can write well. Here's a great line on political conventions:

The news that the Massachusetts senator may delay
accepting the presidential nomination until several weeks beyond the Democratic Party's late-July Boston convention exposes two truths that the political class hates to admit.

The first is that the party conventions are now little more than free advertising vehicles. They long ago lost all political drama, but this year one of them may not even nominate a candidate. The next step would be for the media finally to agree not to cover them, though we probably won't because these week-long affairs have also become the equivalent of cardiologist conventions for the political press. We get to see old friends and eat well on expense accounts.


So, if the Dem convention is a "late-July Boston convention" will the WSJ call is an "early-September New York City convention" to make it very clear that the Bush campaign is looking to exploit 9/11? Just asking.

While the Journal might be right, I love conventions. The civic energy is astounding. It's like the accessibility of Springfield but with federal electeds.

An anedcote (apropros of nothing, with no particular point to make). I went to the 96 Chicago convention. Got an internship through the Washington Center (which cost me $1500 as I recall -- not cheap). I 'worked' for Cox newspapers, but ended up with and wore a baseball cap that read That made me a cutting edge web-savvy college student journalist-of-the-future. I could tell all these print journalists looked at me with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity. What *is* that strange Internet thing (in August of 1996)? Anyway, that was sort of a magic pass, so I could wander anywhere I wanted. I ended up on the floor during Al Gore's famous speech on how his sister died from smoking. I was standing directly behind Cokie Roberts (who is a tiny woman). And she just snickered the whole time, with this attitude of contempt and superiority. She was the Beltway journalist, personified.

Anyway, I'd like to get to Boston. I applied to get a journalist crediential through the party. I'll let you know what happens.

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