Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: It's Convention Season!

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Convention Season!

With the Beijing Olympics passing into history, the public's focus can again move over to politics with the Democratic convention starting tomorrow, and then the Republican convention following quickly on its heels. It used to be, back in the day, that political conventions were big, important, newsworthy events. Nowadays, though, I'm not sure they have much real news value at all. We know who the expected Democratic candidate is, as well as who he's going to make his running mate. The Republicans have their candidate, as well, and the only question is who he will pick to add to the ticket--no matter who it is, though, just like Obama did before him, McCain will announce his choice before his convention gets started.

Each party's platform gets worked out during the convention (although I'd imagine each one is much farther along at this point than we'd expect), but in many ways, those are relics of parties of the past. Candidates and parties give lip service to them, but they're pretty much irrelevant beyond that. What else will the conventions bring? Not much in the way of news that's not been preplanned and manufactured. The gatherings are little more than excuses to issue press releases that have already been written.

I don't actually mean to suggest that the conventions should be abandoned--politicians and party regulars have as much right to get together with their friends and have a good time as anybody else. But I'm not sure that we need to have them heavily covered in the national news. This week we'll see the Democrats try to stage manage themselves to victory while the McCainiacs do their utmost to steal focus. Then the next week the positions will be reversed, although I suspect that the Obama campaign won't have quite the same feeling of desperation in competing with the Republican convention. After both of those are over, then maybe we can get down to the actual business of running for president (he types, as though the actual issues will ever see any kind of significant attention).


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