Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
So, it's almost here. Are you excited for the national conventions in Denver and Minneapolis?

– Wondering in Woodland

Hey Wondering,

Far be it from me to criticize anyone for wanting to go to a four-day party, with lots of free flowing booze, parties galore, free-flowing booze, power-hungry political groupies and free-flowing booze. I understand why these conventions seemed to have created some motivation to get a budget deal passed, when the mere prospect of state workers not being able to pay their bills did not.

And I understand why the AARP and NAACP are looking at these particular conventions with a special sense of history and pride, as each group prepares to nominate one of their own for president.

But if you're not going to the parties, there ain't much reason to pay attention. Sure, arm-chair psychologists will try to look for clues in the plastic grins of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Guffawers will guffaw at John Edwards' absence. And a tired nation will all learn how to spell the name Pawlenty. But those hardly pass for real intrigue.

Political conventions have become, well, conventional.

It wasn't always so. Back in 1960, when Democrats nominated John Kennedy in Los Angeles, that was a fight. Pat Brown almost spoiled the party with his cockamamie "favorite son" bid. And of course there was Chicago in '68, in the great Hippies vs. Cops battle royale. But for the last 40 years, conventions have been a good time for the rest of us to go on vacation.

But there will be coverage. Oh, will there be coverage. A lot of wasted makeup and Red Bull will be spent as talking heads and bloggers dissect every last uninteresting detail from each of the confabs. An eager nation awaits.

Ah, the great irony. A trillion so-called reporters are going to swarm into Denver and Minneapolis in the coming weeks, and offer wall-to-wall coverage of an event completely void of any news, and with all the excitement of a rice cake. Meanwhile, the governor will be contemplating hundreds of bills, half-cooked and poorly drafted, that will have a very real impact on 38 million people or so, and hardly anyone will notice, or care.

But such is the world we live in.

As for me, I'm going to be sitting back, reading the fine print on the budget. I'm sure that once the choruses of Kumbaya begin, the budget will largely be forgotten. (Someone should design the post-budget drinking game: every time the phrase "half-a-loaf" is uttered, or a variation of the phrase "nobody got everything they wanted in this deal" is uttered in the post-budget recap, you drink. Roundup, I'm talking to you).

But there's always a few good little nuggets buried deep in the $100 billion spending plan worthy of some further scrutiny. This is, after all, Don Perata's final budget. Now, I'm not saying that everything won't be by the book. It's just that the book Perata plays by is the one written by Mario Puzzo.

So, all you legislators eat, drink, and be merry. And somebody be sure to wake me before Election Day.


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