Old-timers tell me of the heady days when Party Fat Cats would grunt and laugh maniacally through the dense cigar smoke of their Back Room and stagger out, with deals having been struck, backs scratched, and egos soothed, and announce the presidential candidate at their conventions. Nowadays, of course, the presidential candidate is selected by the fine folks of Iowa and New Hampshire a good six months or more before the formality of the convention.
In the olden days of black and white TV the networks turned over a week of Prime Time to the parties' conventions, which featured true drama, like Fannie Lou Hamer or Severe Police Beatdowns or, in the case of the original Manchurian Candidate
, assassinations. Nowadays all you get is a handful of tightly scripted hours broadcast to most of America, with mere seconds of highlights on the news or radio.
Once upon a time, conventions were for building up and presenting a platform, a positive statement of what the party stands for and its vision for the future. Nowadays the conventions are for presenting facades and tearing down the otherr party, not to mention spinning the hell out of every single word uttered at the microphone.
So here's my question: What's the point? If the conventions are anachronistic and little better than soft-core political porn; if the candidates' identities are a foregone conclusion; if the free press, being neccessary for a well-informed etc, can't even bring itself to cover the things; should we then just abandon them altogether? Or do we need this theatre, this cathartic release, this forced climax to a displeasing primary season?
What say you, Iron Blog denizens?
Jay Bullock, Iron Blogger Democrat