Pin It

Trail Mix - 8.30.12 

click to enlarge art18349.jpg
“It’s a Pageant”

That’s the memorable line describing how to sell America on a leader from the classic 1997 film, Wag the Dog. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, directed by Barry Levinson and co-written by David Mamet, it just seems more and more pertinent every year.

And it describes perfectly what our political conventions have become — heck, the Associated Press even dubbed them “carefully scripted pep rallies.” FOX News’s Chris Wallace recently longed for the days when there was actual drama and something got decided at the conventions.

Well there’s no more of that unpredictable stuff, and broadcasters aren’t so hot on airing them any more — CBS raised eyebrows earlier this summer when it announced it planned to show a rerun of Hawaii Five-O instead of live convention coverage. Some are even wondering if conventions are dinosaurs that need to go extinct.

But the fact is, America likes the conventions better than reruns. In 2008, a long slide in ratings turned around and more than 40 million people watched some part of one or both conventions. (By comparison, Hawaii Five-O gets 14 million viewers on its best night; the Super Bowl, however, is more like 100 million Americans.) Ratings will tell if 2008 was a one-year aberration or not.

Presidential historian Gil Troy is one guy who hopes they evolve and survive, as he posted on the New York Times politics blog this week, “Ultimately, these dueling conventions remind us that presidential campaigning is not just about choosing a winner, or debating the national future. It is also, like every good national ritual, about binding a community together through symbols and stories and reaffirming our joint past, common ties and shared fate.”

Hope… To Fill all Those Seats

While there’s no hurricane bearing down on Charlotte, North Carolina, yet there are plenty of squalls already hitting the Democratic National Convention there. Running Sept. 4-6, the gathering will be held without a sizable number of big-name Democrats. Claire McCaskill, who is locked in a tough re-election race back in Missouri, sent her regrets months ago. Maybe voters will forget she’s a Democrat if she isn’t there?

So who’s on deck to speak to the Dems? It’s some of the usual suspects — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John Kerry — along with some new faces. California AG Kamala Harris (African-Asian-American), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (Catholic) and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (Latino, Harvard-educated) are three up-and-comers you haven’t heard of yet.

Barack Obama will accept the nomination Sept. 5 in Bank of America Stadium, which holds 75,000. He drew 84,000 to Invesco Field in Denver four years ago. Does he still have enough hope in the tank to fill another stadium?


  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • America's Greatest Resource
  • America's Greatest Resource

    In a country of wonderful — and destructive — contradictions, we must listen to each other
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • On the Street
  • On the Street

    Have you ever been called a "special snowflake"?
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Independence of Mind
  • Independence of Mind

    The dance around the Neil Gorsuch nomination underlines the stakes of getting a peek inside his head
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • More »


Showing 1-1 of 1


Comments are closed.

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 7

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Most Commented On

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


green zone



do something

Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Nothing But the Truth?
  • Nothing But the Truth?

    Some police caught lying or committing crimes remain on the job. What that means for the integrity of the criminal justice system
    • Mar 31, 2016

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation