It’s political convention time (yawn)
Next week the Democrats hold their national convention in Boston. The Republicans will throw their party in New York City at the end of August. And like every four summers for the past 25 years, the anticipation has been underwhelming.
It has been that long since anything more unscripted than gales of hot air and ritualistic back-patting has occurred at these gatherings. That’s why the major networks have pared their live coverage of these infomercials to three hours a night. (Political addicts shouldn’t worry – you can track every clap and balloon on cable TV.)
Not that we have anything against conventions – we attend one or two ourselves each year. But these are the first national political conventions since Sept. 11, 2001, and there is something new in the equation: the threat of terror attack.
That means these conventions are going to cost taxpayers at least $100 million for extra security, resulting in gridlocked cities that in turn will mean – far from the myth of an economic boost – the loss of millions of dollars in business over those four days or more.
All this in order that pharmaceutical, defense and other special-interest lobbyists can throw $100 million worth of soft-money parties to further cement their control of our governmental processes.
Wouldn’t it be better to gather in a less vulnerable place, like, say, Omaha? Or limit it to one day? Better yet, why not hold it online?
Still, a poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion shows that more than half of registered voters plan to tune in to at least some of the coverage, mostly to hear what the top candidates have to say. Maybe the few remaining fence-sitters will be swayed one way or another by a statesmanlike turn of phrase or a stumbling gaffe.
Just don’t expect to hear any sorely needed discussions about the economy, health care, civil rights and world leadership.
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