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Enjoy the conventions, but remember what they are
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 25, 2008

People on a whole, are just beginning to pay more attention to the November election. This week - with the Democratic convention - signals the "official" start of the election drama (even though it's really been underway for almost 2 years).

Voters will take a look at both candidates and depending on their perceptions, juxtaposed with what they perceive as their priorities, pull the lever for one of them.

I have to wonder what those not yet caught up in the hype of the election or the super-hype associated with Obama are going to see when they view the Dem convention. I wonder if they'll be blinded by the glitter (and glittering generalities) or will be able to see through all of that?

Conventions are shows and America does love its spectacles. I just wonder, given the serious cult of celebrity we seem to have in this country, whether the voting public will see through the stagecraft and propaganda of each convention's presentation and be able to drill into the specifics that apply to their list of priorities and how they address them.

Of course conventions really aren't about that if you think about it. They are designed, anymore, to anoint the chosen one - and that's true of both party conventions, not just the Dems. They are used to build party unity, present a positive image, and rally the base while, the parties hope, presenting a spectacle which appeals to voters.

In fact, unlike days of old, there are no real decisions being made there. Those were made within the primary system prior to the convention. Even the choice of a running mate is something done prior to the actual convention.

So the conventions are reduced to spectacle. An important spectacle because of how their purpose has evolved from deciding on the party's candidates to more of a cheerleading momentum building event, but a spectacle nonetheless.

Since they're no longer where candidates are chosen, they're graded more on the "effect" they have on the electorate. That effect, if positive or negative, can certainly color the voter's choice. So for that reason, they aren't without risk. Think back at some notable conventions and the tone they set - the Dem convention of '68 for instance.

So these shows we'll see in the next couple of weeks should be understood for what they are. Get out the popcorn and enjoy. But understand that everything that is said and done is going to be carefully scripted and stagemanaged to convince you that a vote for their guy is a good thing while the other guy is dangerous. Each will attempt to define what is "good for America" and what is "bad for America". And each will also claim to understand and speak for the American people.

Neither, of course, does. And that is probably the most important point to remember while you enjoy these quintessential American spectacles.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

If nothing is decided there, other than who has a better show...why the hell are we subsidising the damned things using tax dollars that will be much better spent, I don’t know, building a border fence or giving health benefits to people who cross through the border area that is unfenced.


Between the security, logistics, and so on that the national government will have to put forth so the parties can have a show.
If I form a party, can I get $50 million for a convention? (I already KNOW the answer).
Written By: looker
URL: http://
They should start the conventions with ELP’s “Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression, Part 2.”
Written By: Keith_Indy
It would seem the eating-of-the-young has already started, with Jones, leader of the Illinois State Senate, calling a black delegate for Hillary an Uncle Tom.

I knew I should have bought shares of Jiffy-Pop...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
It’s an odd year to post that, given the distinct possibility that the Dem convention could become something other than a simple coronation....
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
In our dreams.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Shows still tell you something. Kerry reporting "for doody", for example. It changed me from a very passive supporter of George Bush (because we were at war) to an actively vehement anti-Kerry advocate.

As a VN vet, I took great offense to his attempt to use his "war hero" credentials yet again for anti-war activities.

a great majority of my fellow VN vets agreed with my assessment to the detriment of the Kerry campaign.
Written By: vnjagvet
This is why I hate election years, well, this and the olympic cheatfest. Football can’t come fast enough.
Written By: kyleN
Shows still tell you something. Kerry reporting "for doody", for example. It changed me from a very passive supporter of George Bush (because we were at war) to an actively vehement anti-Kerry advocate.
Yeah. Kerry was also highlighting the fact that the top of his resume read

"Executive experience: 4 months in Vietnam (with Xmas in Cambodia) 36 years ago".
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Donna Brazile just explained that the petition in circulation on the convention floor right now has been manged by the Obama campaign in order to place Der Rodham’s name in nomination.

Here’s the image that that should inspire in your mind: "A walk in the Park."
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
1u2Ck7 rvijnjzbvcjf, [url=]pvmxfrcghtau[/url], [link=]suagjblhedea[/link],
Written By: 7

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