Now that the Olympic flame has been doused by the tears of a thousand jade blossoms, its time for America’s most athletically dexterous mutants to stash their red white and blue togs and head home. And the national spotlight turns to the political conventions featuring our most ethically dexterous mutants. We do cherish our little freak shows. The patriotic rhetoric and colors remain the same, only the fabric changes. Less emphasis on day- glo spandex and more on washable wool.
The major party conventions are like baseball, with the incumbents acting as the home team, giving the challengers first ups; the reason why we start off with the Democrats in Denver on Monday, then shoot east by northeast to St Paul the following week. The score is kept in terms of “bounce.” But John McCain may have spotted the opposition a two run lead when he forgot how many houses he has. We could say the guy turns 72 next Friday. He’s probably not sure how many fingers he has. But that’s so unlike us.
The Mile High City and the Twin Cities’ Red Headed Step- Child promise to put their own inimitable spin on the proceedings. Buffalo burgers for the Dems and Juicy Lucys (a burger patty with cheese oozing out of the middle like lava) for the GOP. And in a twisted tamping down of the true tradition of the heartland, both sites have set up “free speech zones” which barely share the same area code with the events being protested. Of course, the chants will still maintain that, “the whole world is watching.” But in reality, it’s more like, “a tiny portion of America is casting half an eye towards us every now and then, maybe, we hope” kind of a thing.
Nobody knows why the parties continue to hold these over- staged inflated pseudo events when the bulk of the proceedings could be taken care of in a corner booth at Denny’s over a Grand Slam Breakfast. “All in favor of having the presumptive nominee be the actual nominee say ‘more pork sausage please.’ Okay, it’s unanimous. Sally, could you bring everybody their own carafe of syrup and drop the check at Microsoft, AT&T and GM’s table over there in the corner. That’s a darling.”
The thing is, political conventions are like Professional Wrestling. Even though you know what’s going to happen, every four years, it’s fun to watch one. And the Democrats are eminently more observable because no matter what high priced washed up Hollywood producer is trotted out to choreograph and shrink wrap the proceedings, getting Democrats to follow a party line script is like trying to barbecue squid on a chain link fence. Major slippage is bound to occur. Think 18 wheeler highway wreck squared. No one wants to see to actual blood or GORE, but who doesn’t glance through a wince hoping to catch the Jaws of Life at work?
Even with their pulsating white hot Bush- loathing bonding them together like crayons left on a stove over Thanksgiving Day, the hair trigger self- destructo possibilities are endless. Will Al Gore channel the spirit of James Brown again? How will Teresa Heinz Kerry react when her credential gets pulled? Will Bill Clinton hit on Campbell Brown within camera range? Can Hillary Clinton contain her cackle? Be sure to tune in this week for your quadrennial dose of those demented Dems: Danger, Intrigue, Disorder.
Catch Will Durst’s campaign update at Zanies, Downtown Chicago, on Saturday and Sunday, the 23rd & 24th. And yes, he will be at the conventions. Blogging for progressive.org and performing at Lannie’s Clocktower in Denver on Friday the 29th.
His new book, The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing, is available at Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours.