Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Convention Time!

Yipee! Well, sort of. I like the idea of the conventions a lot. I like the ritual, the ceremony, the funny hats, the balloon drop, the insipid TV pundit talk about the significance of how well the balloon drop is executed (do they still do that? It was very big for a while, after one of the conventions -- I think it was DNC 1980 -- muffed the balloons), a select and small number of good speakers -- really hoping that the GOP develops a couple of those, the C-SPAN coverage between speakers where they just let the music play and pan around the delegations, the state signs in the delegations, the talk about how favored delegations get good spots and the unfavored ones are exiled to Siberia...I like conventions.

I have not, alas, ever attended one, so my conventions are TV versions.

Now, I like all that stuff about conventions, but actually keeping them on in the background while I'm working; that's another story. Or even when I'm not working. I lasted all of three minutes into the RNC (that's Republican National Convention) this afternoon before giving up for now and flipping on music instead. But I'll try again after this album is over, and again after that, and I'll watch the prime time speeches tonight. My real favorite part is late this afternoon, however; as I'm sure regular readers can guess, I absolutely love the roll call of the states for the nomination vote. You know, the part where you get to see which state political celeb gets to talk about all the wonderful things in The Great State of whatever. It's best when they aren't partisan (The Great State of South Dakota...home of Mount Rushmore, the Corn Palace, and Wall Drug, and hundreds of other beloved if hokey tourist traps, votes unanimously for the Next President of the United States, Mitt Romney!), but partisan digs can be fun too, especially if they're local.

Anyway, with the conventions this week and next week I have no idea what kind of posting schedule I may wind up with -- might do more than normal, might do less. I will be doing late posts over at Greg's place (tentatively scheduled tonight and tomorrow) or, probably, PostPartisan after the big prime-time speech. I'm not sure whether I'll get around to doing "elsewhere" posts after those -- but I'll almost certainly tweet them when they're posted, and I'll probably do a fair amount of tweeting both conventions when I can stomach watching/listening to them, so please follow me if you're interested in that. As always, any live tweeting is more along the lines of theater review than analysis...the conventions do matter, but the specific quality of mid-evening speakers? Not so much.

Hey -- it's democracy! We should try to enjoy it and celebrate it, if possible. Even if that's sometimes are real stretch.


  1. yes, 1980, but DNC 2004 was a snafu for the ages.


    Thank you forever CNN for (inadvertently?) live-airing director Don Mischer's increasingly infuriated balloons-and-confetti rant.

    Damn, we gotta start a Kickstarter campaign to send you to the next convention. ... Next Week!

  2. You've never been? I'd highly recommend it!

    I attended parts of the 1996 RNC as a volunteer for a local CA Republican candidate. I didn't set foot on the convention floor, but I loved dropping into all the different factions' hospitality suites, meeting some of my favorite journalists in the news bullpen, and waving at Bob Dole in the Marriott lobby. It was great fun.

    Apart from the conventions' value to the top-of-ticket candidates as media events, I think all those smaller gatherings on the sidelines are, in sum, very important. That's where the people you generally refer to as "party actors" really get together for their big quadrennial planning and alignment.

  3. Conventions. They're like a wet t-shirt contest for wonks. Always something to see even if the talent is uneven and the coverage poor.

  4. Speaking of celebrating: When I lived in Minnesota, I watched the network-televised portions of the 1984 DNC convention that nominated Mondale and Ferraro. I vividly recall some band or other performing Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" ("Celebrate good times, come on!...") in a mighty effort to generate excitement as the two of them waved to the crowd. This was, of course, after Mondale's speech in which he told the convention, and the electorate, that he'd raise taxes if elected ("Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did.”)


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