As the Democratic Party's convention opened last night in Denver, El Jefe and I were reminiscing about the "old-time" political conventions we avidly followed in our youth. Those of you of a certain age will remember along with us the days when the (3) national networks went wall-to-wall with 24/7 coverage of every speech and caucus of both parties.
Back in my teens and early twenties, I was an idealistic political junkie. Along with my parents, I watched every minute of television coverage and read the analysis of the pundits in Time, The New Yorker, and the San Antonio Express-News. So did El Jefe. Except he read The National Review and the Borger News-Herald.
Yes, my children, in those days stuff actually happened at the conventions. The vice presidential nominee wasn't chosen in advance by the presumptive presidential nominee. Sometimes the presumptive nominee was very very presumptive and votes changed at the conventions. My ambition was to be a delegate at a national convention someday and take part in momentous decisions.
But all that changed. Now both conventions are tightly controlled and scripted. Their purpose is not to choose the nominees of the party or adopt the positions in the party platform, but to be infomercials touting the ticket and trying to woo undecided voters.
We're not undecided, so we won't find ourselves watching much convention coverage this year. But I do remember with wistfulness those days when my family gathered around the TV set and felt that we were a part of the great events of the day.