A Manic Edge Sets In

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Tonight we took the shuttle bus from Coply Plaza to the Fleet Center.
  It was eerie being the only vehicle on the recently completed Big
Dig I-95 extension, shooting us under the center of the city directly
to the parking behind the convention. Our bus, like the majority of the
others, parks as far away as possible from the fenced in protesters. As
we descend and march into the Fleet we pass no closer than a football
field away from them. It doesn’t really matter, since the police have
added a heavy plastic tarp to the cocoon containing the protesters, shrouding
them in shadows and making it impossible for them to see out and possibly
take aim at a delegate….

In fact, all we can see over on that side of the lot are a few curious
individuals and families with kids, one little girl holding an ice cream
cone in her left hand and a blue Kerry ’04 balloon in the right, looking
for all the world like suburbanites in town for a summer’s day at the
zoo. Behind the double chain-link fence dark shadows moved in the only
evidence the protest zone was actually occupied.

Tonight’s speaking schedule includes Teddy Kennedy, who is speaking
now, Howard Dean and a ton of Kerry and Edwards kids.  Teddy is
getting a fantastic ovation, of course he is a Massachusetts favorite
son, he seems in fine form as he welcomes the delegates to "my town…where
every street is history’s home."

Teddy has gained a gravitons as a senior statesman which would have
served him well back when he was a player in presidential politics.  As
it is, this is shaping up as a Last Harrah of sorts, and he obviously
is taking pleasure in being able to once again launch a Massachusetts
Senator on the road to the White House. We are sure he is looking forward
to sleepovers with the Kerrys.

One of the repeated themes, Kennedy echoing Clinton echoing Gore, is
clearly "This is the most important election of our times." Is this true?
The depth of the resolve to unseat the Bush Bunch is impressive, and
one gets the feeling that if Adam Sandler had won the Democratic Primaries
the entire party would be breathlessly massing behind the "Waterboy".

This is not to say that there is no real enthusiasm for Kerry. He is
trying hard to transcend the Anybody But Bush label and establish an
independent identity in the minds of the 99% of the US electorate that
don’t read blogs or follow anything that happens in American politics
between presidential elections.

"More than 900 of our servicemen and women have paid the ultimate price"
Tell ’em Ted.

Kerry’s speech on Thursday night will go a long way toward achieving
that aim.  It will be the template over which all of his subsequent
speeches will be laid. When he give official statements, reacts to the
news, appears in campaign commercial swing state blitzes, the images
will be seen in the context of how he appears and what he says 48 hours
from now.

Teddy has them stomping in the aisles. His unmistakable Kennedy
tone and inflection flood through the festooned hall. The audience is
transfixed
as the stentorian phrases roll off his gilded Irish tongue. "armed only
with faith and hope, like the marchers in Birmingham" "Our struggle is
not with some ruler named George, who inherited the crown, although sometimes
it seems that way"

However, for all the fire and eloquence of his speech, it seems he still
can’t get any respect in his own party, seeing as how he got scheduled
on "kids night" with the Kerry, Edwards and Reagan progeny rather than
with the "grownups" later in the schedule.

Meanwhile, an air of exhaustion has set in on blogger’s row, and around
the convention center in general. Obviously, convention virgins like most
of the Bloggers don’t yet know how to pace themselves for a four day marathon,
or they lack access to drugs of sufficient strength or quality to keep
a decent edge on. We should have known better, being a veteran of numerous
4-day conferences around the globe over the years – they all melt down
after a couple of days and then pick up steam again as participants get
their second wind and come to the desperate realization that the hours
they have left to have a historic good time are limited and dwindling,
so they better get cracking.

At this point, at least in major league events like this, a manic and
artificial euphoria takes hold, fueled by self-fulfilling expectation
and mammoth amounts of booze, and in our experience anything can happen.  With
this many people that close to the edge, fueled by exhaustion and a desperate
desire to get laid, careers can be made or ended by an inadvertent slip,
like the time the Senator from Missouri was discovered stark naked and
tied to a bed in a dude ranch outside of Reno, NV.

So we will try to keep our eyes open and our antennae tuned.  The
Dowbrigade works best when lack of sleep and recycled adrenaline boost
him up to an altered state of sensitivity and controlled paranoia. A
crowd this big can only be mollified for so long without anything real
happening before they MAKE something real happen. So stay tuned…..

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