The Democratic party has gathered in Denver for what will be without question one of the most exciting political conventions in decades.
Granted, this is like saying that Moe was without question one of the smartest Stooges. The political conventions have been pointless and boring for years, culminating in 2004, when MSNBC, during its prime-time coverage of the Republican convention, broadcast 38 straight minutes of Chris Matthews snoring and drooling into his lap. (This got by far the highest ratings.)
But this year will be different. This year there is high drama in the Mile High City as the Democrats gather under their official 2008 convention slogan: "A Unified Party, United in Unity Together As One, Undivided."
Already there has been sporadic gunfire between the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton delegates. Political observers see this as indication that there is still some underlying tension between the two sides. Yes, Clinton has been making speeches urging her supporters to work for Obama; but at the same time she has also been using what one Obama adviser described as "a lot of air quotes."
It's hard to blame Sen. Clinton for being bitter. Here she is, the smartest human ever, PLUS she spent all those years standing loyally behind Bill Clinton wearing uncomfortable pantyhose (I mean Hillary was, not Bill) (although there are rumors), PLUS she went to the trouble and expense of acquiring a legal residence in New York State so she could be a senator from there, PLUS she assembled a team of nuclear-physicist-grade genius political advisors, PLUS she spent years going around to every dirtbag community in America explaining in detail her 23-point policy solutions for every single problem facing the nation including soybean blight. And after all that, she loses the nomination to a guy who has roughly the same amount of executive governmental experience as Hannah Montana. Hillary is like: "Are you KIDDING me?"
Sen. Clinton is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday night, when she will either call on her supporters to unite behind Obama, or attempt to snatch the nomination and escape with it by helicopter to a secret mountain fortress. ''We are fully confident that Sen. Clinton will do the right thing," stated a Democratic party official, adding, "but we have a net.''
The Obama-Clinton tension is only one of the dramatic storylines developing in Denver. Another one is Obama's choice of running mate. Following days of feverish media speculation over a list of names that at one point included the late Hubert Humphrey and a probably fictional congressperson named "Chet Edwards," Obama, in a bold move, went with the one name guaranteed to send an electric shock of electricity through the spinal cord of American politics: Joe Biden.
This choice not only virtually locks up Delaware's electoral vote (which it shares with Wyoming) but it also buttresses the Obama team with one of the Senate's most vocal voices. Sen. Biden is scheduled to address the convention Wednesday night from 8:48 p.m. until dawn.
But in the end, the focus of this convention will be on Barack Obama, who on Thursday night will receive the nomination in long-overdue recognition of a distinguished career of seeking the nomination. His goal, in his acceptance speech, will be to win over the undecided voters — the people who are unsure of what he really stands for, or who have received emailed rumors that he is a Muslim, or a socialist, or a vampire, or a lesbian. His goal will be to show, with no disrespect to the Muslim socialist vampire lesbian community, that he is a regular person just like you, except he has Vision and Leadership. After that, he will lay out his specific policies for building a brighter future. Then he will turn into a bat.
No, he won't, although that would make this the most fun convention EVER. But it still promises to be interesting. I'll be on hand to report all the convention-news developments to you from Denver as I think them up. Then next week I'll head to Minnesota or possibly Wisconsin and do the same from the Republican convention. Back-to-back party conventions! It's an exciting time to be a political "junkie."
Please, shoot me.