no box is too small
Our boy Hemingway proving that some sentient beings can find more to amuse them than political conventions. Seeing the orange character in a box has poetic symmetry this week.
a conventional truth
If you are of a certain age and curious or interested you may remember when national political conventions held drama, something more intricate than the infomercials and coronations they've fallen too. This year there is bit of a carnie flavor, especially when the party of Lincoln becomes the party of Trump in Cleveland this week.
Cleveland hosted Republicans in 1924 when Calvin Coolidge was nominated and again in 1936 when Alf Landon won the nomination. The Trump carnival will be a far cry from those GOP confabs.
I began covering nominating conventions when there were still battles over credentials and platform issues. It all changed. At my last convention assignment I was parked in one of those sky boxes with only limited access to the delegates. Our edit and work space was a couple of blocks away in a building that had been turned into a "media center" and we came and went behind security lines. It all seemed prefabricated, sanitized, managed and scripted. There was very little real "news."
Since the statute of limitations has run and while I'm not likely to need credentials anytime soon I can share an "off the record" experience. It was the mid 70's and an issue in the Democratic party had Bella Abzug and Ron Dellums trying to work out a compromise. The Black Caucus and the National Womens Political Caucus had enough sway to force the party on a particular issue, if they could agree.
There was much interest in a private meeting between the two camps but the media was barred from the hotel parlor where they were to meet. As I milled around waiting for the principals to arrive I found a delegate badge and credential on the floor. There was no id picture, so I quietly put it over my press ID hanging around my neck and I walked into the room like I belonged. It was a crowded space so I floated back to a wall but close to where Abzug and Dellums were going to confer. They arrived, each said a couple of things. A couple of their assistants asked follow up questions. On the spot they drafted a brief statement.
While the business was underway I took off the delegate credential. In about 20 minutes the huddle was done and a statement agreed to. I walked to where Dellums and Abzug were now standing and handed the delegate credential to Abzug. She looked at it, looked at the media credential around my neck and just smiled.
I dashed to a phone in the press room, called in the story to our news desk. Lou Palmer, the afternoon editor was only mildly interested and asked why he hadn't seen it on the AP wire yet. I told him the details. He got interested, asked a couple of questions. Later he told me after he broadcast the news he got a call from the state's AP Bureau Chief who said they were waiting for their convention staff to file, where did we get the information? Palmer told him we had it from reliable sources.
Let's see what stories emerge from this week in Cleveland.
See you down the trail.