Election 2004


Report from Tuesday's round two: Obama-rama meets Reagan-palooza.
That thunderous breeze you just felt was Democratic staffers all over Boston letting out a deep collective sigh of relief as Teresa Heinz Kerry didn't screw the pooch on Tuesday night. Her Tuesday night performance will go a long way in burying "Shove It-Gate," although I'm sure many Americans remain confused as to why the woman refuses to comb her hair. "You're a pretty woman, why don't you do something with your hair?" It takes a lot of old money to pull off that whole windswept look on national television. Fittingly, the heiress appeared very ketchupy in a zippered red Members Only two-piece suit, speaking eloquently of her upbringing in Africa. It was yeoman-like spousal duty, although at times she appeared to be chomping at the bit. If you think Democratic insiders can throw their hand-wringing towels away, you got another think coming.

Earlier, the Fleet Center was treated to Ronald Reagan, Jr. speaking on stem cell research. The effect was like a writhing smiley face fashioned out of live leeches. Even though it wasn't the Great Communicator himself, just hearing that name announced at a Democratic Convention followed by applause must have had the old man spinning in his grave so rapidly, an electromagnetic hookup could have produced enough energy to light up Fenway Park from here to October. The mere fact that lightning did not strike and level the place into pea gravel went a long way to diminish the god-like stature ascribed old Lizard Neck during this summer's Reagan-palooza.

But the speech to be remembered was given by "the skinny kid with a funny name," Barack Obama. Can we say "rising star"? (CNN certainly could, and did. And did... and did again...) If Republicans thought they had a problem finding someone to run against him for this year's open Illinois US Senate seat before, ha. I said "ha," and I meant "ha." After last night's verbal standing triple, finding an opponent will be harder than three-week-old bread studded with concrete nails. Treated to their first taste of "Obama-rama", the hall went wild and I'm already putting down a double sawbuck that the 2020 presidential election pits Obama against Bush III: George P.

Crouched inside the belly of the beast, it's hard to see how this whole four-day extravaganza is playing out in the heartland, or even if it's playing, but it doesn't really matter: Everything is judged by the bounce. The bounce being the post-convention jump in the polls that hopefully occurs after your ordinary average four-day, red-white-and-blue infomercial. The incumbents are considered the home team, which is why the challenger gets first ups. And usually after all is said and done and both conventions have drop kicked their last balloon, an equilibrium balance is struck.

Of course, right now, the Dems are trying to lower the bounce expectation so if it's small, they don't look like total losers, while the GOP is trying to overstate the expected bounce so if it's small, they DO look like total losers. But it's all okay, because at the end of the August in New York, the two will just rotate their bouncy arguments. Turns out, politics is a lot like volleyball. Who knew?
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