Considering the Conventions: Enough with the Children!

Five quick thoughts on the recently concluded Democratic and Republican National Conventions:

Can the kids – At what point did someone decide it was a good idea for children to introduce their parents at the conventions? It’s hard to imagine Benjamin Harrison or Ike being introduced by his loving son/daughter. The hard-bitten old pols in those convention halls would have been gagging on their cigars. Both nominees this year had their kids tee them up in – surprise – the most loving and admiring terms. The only people who had really glowing things to say about one nominee were his four kids. All the children seem like solid, impressive people. That’s great, given their unusual and highly visible upbringings in often-uncomfortable circumstances. Get em out on the campaign trail, but enough with the syrupy convention speeches.


Incarcerated in-laws – Speaking of families, this must be the first time in history that both major party nominees have son-ins-law with fathers who spent time in federal penitentiaries.

Keynoter Casualty? – Whatever happened to the major keynote address? We all remember Mario Cuomo’s rousing address in 1984, Barack Obama’s ‘no red states and blue states’ star turn in 2004, Ann Richards going after “poor George” Bush’s silver foot in 1988, etc. … hey, these were all Democrats. Yes the Republicans had a few over the years (who could forget a disputatious Democratic Senator Zell Miller in 2004) but in looking back the most memorable seem to have been Ds. In any case, it is hard to put a finger on who, exactly, was supposed to be THE keynoter at either convention this year. Monday night’s Democratic convention saw a number of big hitters including Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, and of course runner-up Bernie Sanders. Republicans had Chachi. Perhaps we’ve seen the last of the keynoters.

Four too many – Heading into the final night of each of these political confabs, for the second time in four years it felt like there wasn’t enough action to justify a four night event. Each of the conventions suffered from down-nights, Tuesday in the case of the Ds, Wednesday for the Rs. The actually business end of these things is over and done with by the first night so is the extra time really worth the investment?

Big Money is on the Ds – From our standpoint – and observation also reported on by the New York Times – moneyed interests came out in full force for the Democratic convention, for the Republicans in Cleveland, not so much. Many deep-pocketed lobbyists and business groups reportedly stayed clear of the RNC while Philadelphia was a feeding frenzy of the kind of lavish galas and side-bar entertaining with fountains of shrimp and gin that really make these events worthwhile in the first place. We hope some of that dough made it to Delaware!

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