I overheard some writers from the Daily Show talking about how great it is that Hurricane Gustav has been downgraded: now they can write some jokes about it, they said.
That kind of practicality is pretty much the attitude shared by the rest of the convention. The hurricane itself is treated not so much as a reality here as it is a political device, part of the strange tableau that began at the DNC when the Clintons delivered so magnificently. The overriding sentiment (at least in the Reuters camp) is that this is a good thing, news-wise. Will the Republican Party use this opportunity to distance itself from Bush’s divisive legacy, promising a new era marked by restraint and candor? Or will the toned-down convention be a let-down – a sparse preview that leaves Americans bored? Either way, the news will be interesting.
Way to go, hurricane.
Of course, the big upset for me is that Bobby Jindal is a definite no-show. He didn’t send in a speech like some of the other governors who aren’t here, which is…well…commendable, considering he really should be focusing on his home state right now. So in that sense, at least all is in perspective.
The other big news here is today’s anti-war protest-turned-melee. The National Guard was called out to deal with the more than 150 “violent” protestors, who pushed a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car, threw rocks at police officers, and were eventually pepper sprayed by the cops (many of the self-proclaimed “anarchist” protestors were wearing gas masks). Only one officer was signicantly injured by the mob – punched in the back, according to St. Paul’s police chief. The National Guard was called out, but that was all part of the police force’s “initial” plan for this week, Chief Harrington told us at a press briefing. The word “initial” was an interesting choice – makes me think the NG was thought of at the very beginning of the brain-storming process and then ditched. The St. Paul police force knew all this would happen – over the weekend they burst into homes and confiscated barrels of urine (the contents of which would have been used as bombs??? –>straight from the Police Chief’s mouth). How’d the police have such uncanny foresight? They attended the planning meetings advertised online by the anarchists.
(V. organized anarchists.)
Word on the street here is that McCain will definitely show, but we’ll see. For now, at least, what we know for sure is that hundreds of red, white and blue balloons are sure to be dropped. And that too, in front of a computerized red, white and blue screen. Pretty snazzy stuff.