The 1912 Republican Convention, the 1924 Democratic Convention, the 1968 Democratic Convention.  Three conventions which tore a political party apart.  The 1924 convention spurred on the burgeoning medium of radio, and sooner or later I think I’ll post on the history of the intra-mural fighting with the Democratic Party in the 1920s, but tellingly the 1924 convention was considered a disaster as it went on to an absurd number of ballots — interesting because the 1880 Republican Convention went on and on and on, but the Republican won.  And then was James Garfield was shot months later by a man who desperately wanted Chester Arthur to be president.  Times change between 1880 and 1924.

In 1992 Pat Buchanan gave a fire-burner of a speech.  And that marked the last time the script of a major party’s convention would ever not be carefully calibrated.  In 1988 someone remarked to the head of the Democratic Convention that there was no news to report here, and the head man smiled and said, “Good.”  So, dredgling into the theaters, the Republicans whooped the Democrats in 2004 by having Zell Miller shout “Spit-balls!”, and we’re waiting to see if the Democrats in 2008 have learned the art of the body slam.  The Great Muddle through worked well in 1996, but times have changed.

But there does not really seem to be any reason to pay attention to the Grand Infomercial.  I guess you just kind of have to look around and see if there is something elsewhere.  The AT&T goody bag of stuff, including the commemorative Kraft Macaroni and Cheese “Donkey” box — which is in stark contrast to the commemorative Kraft Macaroni and Cheese “Elephant” box given in Minnesota next week.  I think these Cynical Unintentional Metaphors things have been around since 1996, but for all I know they flashed into existence with Stevenson and Eisenhower.  More alarming is the bash AT&T is throwing for the Democrats who voted the right way on the Telecom Immunity deal.  If you are in Denver, I think I would get bored listening to the Oregon State Beavers coach*, scoff at the media narrative of the Hillary Clinton disaffectees, and poke about here and there — to be blunted by security and turned scornfully away– to take note of these behind the scene money-lubrications.

Or, I would take in some fresh air outside, the grand sociological experience of observing the Portesters — sympathetic here, indifferent there.  Hopefully not get trapped in the Protest – Cage, but it is worthwhile to note the ineffectual bunch — and a collection of discordant causes.  The “Re-Create 68″ers — not so much re-creating ’68 as re-creating … well, ’04, which if you don’t remember what happened at those protests, that’s sort of my point.  But there aren’t too many ways of getting past the media.

* Craig Robinson looks to me and all the world what you call a “Stunt Hire”, I gather.  Brother-in-law of Barack Obama, hire him and maybe you have a good hook for recruiting.  The University is allowed such a thing, though, as they just came off a season where they finished, in conference, with a grand total of ZERO wins — a record.  It was debated as to whether this is the worst PAC – Ten College basketball team in history, the consensus answer appears to be “No” — one or two of the teams that managed a victory or two were deemed worse.  So good for Oregon State University for hiring him!

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