What the conventions are really about

Assorted thoughts on our political conventions:

First, these are not really political conventions. These are get-togethers for media and security folks. Truly. There are 15,000 media guys. We’ve invaded whole countries with fewer than 15,000.

And nobody knows how many security people are at these circuses. Nobody knows because half of them are unidentified.

The guy sweeping the convention floor is a bodyguard. For the woman selling the hats. She is undercover. For the guy setting up chairs. He is police. Assigned to protect the guy on the lights. The lights guy is secret service.

They are all asking each other why 15,000 media birds need to be there.

It is a bit like the Super Bowl. You may think it is a gathering for football players and fans. Not really. It is actually a gathering of advertisers. They put on a game for entertainment.

If you were at the conventions you would see mobs of folks of course. Among them, roaming cameras and microphones.



And muscling through the mob, hangers-on desperate to reach those cameras and mikes. At a Democrat convention I saw Jesse Jackson knock folks aside, following his guys. “Over here, Jesse. There’s a camera over here.” Think about it. A chance to show millions you are important and sought after.

You would also see some political stars ignore the delegates. I am not kidding. Some are sooooo focused on getting to broadcast booths they pay no attention to the crowds. No waves, no smiles or handshakes for them. They can afford to be this way. Because everybody at the convention is already on their side. The audience the pols seek is behind the lens of that tv camera over there.

Our conventions are fun, of course. They are like the circus come-to-town. A parade of political stars and wannabees. We hear the words of speaker upon speaker. Then we have commentators who tell us what we heard. And didn’t hear. And if a speaker comes on who they don’t like they switch to themselves. Or to a commercial.

Do you think the Chinese have half as much fun with their conventions? Or the Russians? They start with a parade of tanks and goose-stepping guys with guns. Nobody seems to be having fun.

Behind the scenes there is a lot of horse-swapping going on. The new President will appoint something like 5000 people to Washington jobs. So thousands of attendees are lookin’ for work. For themselves or their pals. Yes, they can raise $200,000. But what job will that buy for them?

You can tell young people this election will be unusual. And that they may never see the likes of it again. An election of distinction for sure.

One possibility is that it will lead to the first woman president. The other possibility is that it will lead to the first businessman president in a long while.

Several presidents had business experience. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer. But only sort of. And his claim to fame was that he was in the Navy and governor of his state.

Harry Truman was a failed haberdasher. But that was when he was young. For many years he had been a politician. Bush I and II were oil men. And the younger owned a baseball team. But mostly they were politicians.

You would have to go back a long way to find a president who came directly from a career in business and only business.

The campaign is unusual in another way. In other campaigns we’ve heard “Sure, he is a wonderful candidate. But curb your enthusiasm because here is a flaw.”

This time around we hear “He (or she) is a monstrous candidate. But wait, here is something about them you might like.”

Did you notice the word ‘might’? And the sprinkling of grains of salt?

From Tom…as in Morgan.

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