Saturday, July 31, 2004

Third Day of the Democratic National Convention 2004

This time I was in no mood to miss breakfast. I did get a late start from out in Chestnut Hill, around the Boston College area, which is an hour from the breakfast venue. However, when I got to the Maryland Delegation breakfast at the hotel, the morning breakfast program was still ongoing and an astute gentleman, a server, brought me a nice hot plate of scrambled eggs, frenchtoast, one thick juicy sausage and syrup. Breakfast was sponsored by Baltimore County. Thankfully, I had missed all the speeches, but apparently Howard Dean had made a surprise visit and I missed that too. Also Kweisi Mfume was the keynoter and I missed that. I wouldn't have minded listening to him.

I later picked up my daily credentials and "repaired" to the hotel lobby to read the free NY times, Washington Post convention special, and Boston Globe along with my USA Today I brought with me. I am a news glutton and I need to go confession for that. An hour later I decided to head back to the apartment I was staying at. At this point I was totally beat and I knew it wouldn't take much to fall asleep. And so I rode the "T" for an hour back to the apartment. Just as I positioned myself on the couch to sleep, one of the resident cats felt that I was cudley enough and jumped in my face to snuggle. Surprised, I sat up just to let the cat know that it had interrupted my positioning and that it was in my way. The cat did not care, instead it inched closer in order to get snuggly. I had no choice then but to sit up and read more newspapers. The cat had no intenion of moving and I did not feel like throwing it off the couch. So no nap for me.

I found out one day late that there was a faith forum at the DNC which I missed. I am frustrated because I'm not sure how we were supposed to know. It was well attended so I suppose the info was out there somewhere, but I had no idea. I think it was a great idea and that I could have been there. I read a bit about it in the Boston Globe, but that's not like being there and getting the buzz. Well, so be it.

On the way into the Fleet center, on the train, I dozed off repeatedly. It was going to be a long long evening. After getting through security, which was not bad at all, I trudged all the way to the 7th floor nose bleed seats. I settled in and struggle to stay awake. There was enough happening, but at this point, I had been averaging about 4hours of sleep and been doing a whole bunch of walking.

I don't remember all the speakers. I did not even try to clap or cheer or anything, I simply nodded my head in agreement. Then the Rev. Al Sharpton came up to the podium.

At first I thought, this should be fun. Sharpton was going to be a clear improvement over the previous three hundred and twenty-eight preceeding speakers that evening. Well, Sharpton started out and he got quite fiesty. I was like wow! and then he began to speak to me. Normally I can't stand Sharpton at all. I find him to be a grandstanding wordsmith who is all rhetoric, but he was speaking to me right there and then. Even though I was as tired as heck, I came to life, clapping, screaming, etc. And then he ended with this: (the part that touched me in bold)

As you know, I live in New York. I was there September 11th when that despicable act of terrorism happened.
A few days after, I left home, my family had taken in a young man who lost his family. And as they gave comfort to him, I had to do a radio show that morning. When I got there, my friend James Entome (ph) said, Reverend, we're going to stop at a certain hour and play a song, synchronized with 990 other stations.
I said, That's fine.
He said, We're dedicating it to the victims of 9/11.
I said, What song are you playing?
He said America the Beautiful. The particular station I was at, the played that rendition song by Ray Charles.
As you know, we lost Ray a few weeks ago, but I sat there that morning and listened to Ray sing through those speakers, Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains' majesty across the fruited plain.
And it occurred to me as I heard Ray singing, that Ray wasn't singing about what he knew, because Ray had been blind since he was a child. He hadn't seen many purple mountains. He hadn't seen many fruited plains. He was singing about what he believed to be.
Mr. President, we love America, not because all of us have seen the beauty all the time.

But we believed if we kept on working, if we kept on marching, if we kept on voting, if we kept on believing, we would make America beautiful for everybody.
Starting in November, let's make America beautiful again.
Thank you. And God bless you


That was it for me, it took all I had to stop the tears. Something about that really brought it home for me. In reading the newspapers on Thursday, everyone simply commented that Sharpton electrified the house and gave a rousing speech, but he did much more than that, he touched many people. I say this because i was at Boston College the next day, talking with a few people and they watched the convention coverage and were talking about Sharpton's speech. I think sharpton did a great job.

The next big speech was by John Edwards, who was introduced by his wife Elizabeth, who in turn was introduced by Cate, their daughter. Neither one of the introductions was particularly rousing, but they warm and touching and you could feel the love in the room. We all love Elizabeth and were waving our Elizabeth signs.

BTW, the signs thing is quite interesting. I just found in funny how the signs were distributed in anticipation of the next speaker. The floor delegates all got signs because they were in direct view of the cameras, we nose bleed types got the scraps and it was a free for all as people lunged eight rows down just to get a sign. Thankfully,there were enough signs for Wednesday nite to prevent a full scale war up in the bleachers.

John Edwards electrified the crowd more by his presence than speech. The speech was very good, but not great by John Edwards' standards. You could feel the hoarseness and fatigue in his voice, but he came through. I thought the whole bit about the coming negativity from Bush and the "aren't you just so sick of it" bit was very effective--it shines a light on the coming negativity by the Bush /Cheney team and will make it so that it backfires on them. I was glad that he stuck with his two Americas theme. It is clear that Kerry wants to bring Edwards onboard as himself.

Tuesday Morning
Second Day of the Democratic National Convention

Was late to breakfast. I thought I had the commute figured out, but I didn't and I missed breakfast and a reporter who wanted to interview me. It is not a good feeling to miss breakfast especially when you are hungry and traveled for an hour to get there. I picked up my credentials and then headed to the lobby to read the papers. I then decided to go back to the Boston College area, actually to Boston College itself-I had work to do (Husserl is work).

BC is a great looking campus. You can tell that the school is flush with funds unlike another unnamed Catholic school I was/am affiliated with--Catholic University of America. I suggest walking into the main libraries of both schools, the difference is immediately clear. I think CUA just fixed up its library, so it looks better now than it did not long ago.

My afternoon was spent plowing through hundreds of embedded Husserlian clauses trying to figure out what the heck his point is-that Descartes was not faithful to his method, he stopped short of doubting everything and retained certain assumptions. I takes Husserl 50 pages to say this.

Upset at missing breakfast (I paid quite a bit to the MD state party for those breakfasts) but not upset at missing speeches, I was speeched out, I chilled out the rest of the afternoon. There were caucuses and things everywhere, but I did not know where to get a schedule and I was hungry at the time so I could have cared less.

I had dinner with my friend I was staying with and two Dominican sisters, who were simply delightful and then I headed to the Fleet Center.

As usual the Nazi propaganda megaphone was blaring from the free speech zone. There weren't too many protestors. There were literally hundreds of Planned Parenthood people handing out pro-choice stickers. I can't tell you how many times I smiled sweetly and declined a large red stand up for choice sticker. I like to think that we are all on the same side. Ultimately, we want a world were human beings are fully respected and afforded full dignity-besides, we are all Kerry supporters. Kerry is a uniter. I have seen it since the beginning of this campaign. Early last year in 2003, Kerry supporters included pro-lifers like myself who voted for Bush in 2000, pro-choicers, long time Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, veterans, etc and that was insipiring--it was one of the untold stories of the primaries, the diversity of Kerry's supporters.

So up I went to the 7th floor of the fleet center, watching with disdain as the red-pass snubs who got to get on the convention floor. Every now and then, there those extra snubs, the denizens of the special VIP boxes. (This convention was a very humbling experience-you learn quickly that you are a nobody. I always thought I was a somebody-just didn't know who.) I found a seat in my nose bleed section-the section for us nobodys.

Highlights for me were Rev. Alston, Theresa Heinz Kerry and Barak Obama. The evening starting off slow for me, I just couldn't get excited. I was tired, cramped, my knees hurt, and I was falling asleep. I struggled from speaker to speaker. There was enough excitement in the room and so they didn't need my puny claps and screams anyway. It was not until Rev. Alston (I hope I'm not merging days into each other-I actually think he was on on Monday night) that I perked up. He got me going-he was one of Kerry's crew mates in Vietnam. He was just a 21 yr and Kerry was about 26-27. After every fire fight, Kerry would go to each crew member, lay his hand on their shoulder and calm them down. It was a moving testimony I thought.

Barak Obama. What can I say, what can anyone say. I was so nervous for this guy. I recall in 2000 Al Gore got a coveted prime-time spot for Harold Ford Jr, a young Black congressman from Tennessee, a rising star in the party. The speech dropped like lead, it was far from memorable and even less inspiring. I remember thinking it was okay, but not much else. Given that back drop, I was so worried for Obama. But i didn't need to be, he cleared the bar by a mile. Some are saying that he may be the first Black president. I don't see why not, however, he is going to have to bring himself to the center if he has such aspirations and his speech was a surprisingly moderate speech.

As for first Black presidents, apparently some magazine did an article on and believes that Harold Ford Jr will be the first Black president of the United States. I think that makes sense. He is from the south, he is a conservative Democrat and he was one of the first politicians very early on to endorse Kerry--he and Dianne Feinstein, for which we all will be eternally grateful. He stood up for Kerry when Kerry wasn't popular. Obama clearly has a shot, but he has to establish a centrist and independent record in the Senate. If he runs, the Black vote will come out in record numbers in the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia and I dare say he'd pick off a couple of southern states. He could clearly win. I'd be intersted in seeing Harold Ford on the stump, I don't know if he has the rhetorically electricity that Obama has, he is more a cool customer that appears thoughtful and balanced. Ford clearly has his eye on the Tennessee Senate seat and I hope he goes for it. If both Ford and Obama run for president at the same time . . . it wouldn't be until 202o after 8 prosperous years of a Kerry administration followed by 8 glorious years of an Edwards administration. I don't have to make an endorsement now.

Back to the convention. BTW a quarter pounder meal which is normally 3.99 ish was 5.70 at the Fleet center if I recall. Or maybe it was because I got a large choclate milkshake in place of the drink--who knows.

Theresa Heinz Kerry is a darling (my wife loves her too). I thought she was a very powerful speaker. She's not a politician so she isn't into the rah-rah thing. She speaks softly and from the heart. I think we may have won the election with her speech. If Kerry wins, many will attribute it to a variety of moments, I think her speech should be one of those moments. I think she reached many women who connected with her. As an ardent Kerry supporter, I had watched her many times on C-Span so I knew the effect that she had on people and so I was excited to see her talk. As confirmation, I was at Boston College a couple of days later and they were talking about her speech. One lady said that from all the sound bites she had seen on tv, she had thought THK was a nut case, but after watching her she was very touched. I think she hit an in-the-park home run.

Monday Night-
First Day of Democratic National Convention 04

One problem with the whole event was how hard it was to get a schedule of events before the event, so I felt like I never really what was going on. Part of it was my fault. I knew that the Sheraton was the were the main office was and that suttle services were free. So I could have gone there and found out what I needed to I suppose.

I arrived at the Fleet center on Monday at about 6 pm. I later found that the actually program started everyday at 4pm. Unless, I was being paid, which I wasn't, there was no way I was going to listen to 4 hours of speeches before the prime time slot of three hours of more speeches.

Besides I got into a rather interesting discussion with my friend about Christianity. I believe that Christianity and Catholicism have failed and that something needs to happen to to move us to a new baseline. Paul says that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold all things are new. We've had 2,000 years of Christianity and we've fall far short of that standard of newness that it makes one wonder if it is at all possible. Also Paul in Galatians talks about the fruit of the spirit of God which are love, joy, peace, gentleness, temperance, patience, meekness, etc. In Christian history and in the present, we clearly don't see this fruit, in fact Christians are among the most mean-spirited people, unhappy people on the face of the earth, so what gives. Are we meant to simply strive for these goals but never really achieve them? We clearly have not even come close (I don't think the saints are examples of success either-Catholic saints are who they are because first and foremost, they validate the Church's claims and preserve its self proclamations) There is no evidence that Christianity makes people better. We all know wonderful, wonderful people who are atheists or adherents to other religions, and the vast majority of dedicated Christians fall short of the Pauline standard of the standard of the Sermon on the Mount. It seems that one's life is more a function of personality than specific religion. Some people are simply more disposed to peacefullness, gentleless, love, kindness, etc. This is not to say that the
Spirit of Christ is not at work in Christians. I believe he is, it just that we are not bearing fruit. . . .blah, blah, blah. . . anyway, back to the convention. (As you can imagne we got to talking for hours so I left for the Fleet Center later than I wanted to. On this issue, the benefit of talking over this with my friend was that I was able to unearth my assumptions. In terms of self-criticism, I freely admit by dependence on an individualistic protestant view of Christianity which views its successes as a function of the individual and not as a function of community. One could argue that the values brought by Christianity to the world are its success, but my argument is that such values are not the point of Christianity, new creatures in Christ bearing the fruit of the Spirit are the point and so ancillary benefits notwithstanding, wherein can we affirm the success of the Christian faith?)

On my way to the convention I ran across the group Billionaires for Bush. I got a picture in (will be posted later). I also saw quite a few anti-abortion protestors, a few anti-war, a few Larouchers, . . . a few . . .I didn't quite get to see the "free speech zone/pen." I hate free speech zones when they keep Bush-protestors out, but I have to admit liking this one, I really did not think any disruptions of the convention would be helpful to our cause. I didn't get to see the protestor pen/chicken coup, which I was assured was quite embarassing, but that was Menino's idea not the DNC. One reason I didn't venture into the free speech zone was the blaring megaphone. I swear it sounded like Nazi propaganda. Picture Saving Private Ryan, that scene were they come a town and the Nazis are screaming propaganda, where Vin Diesel's character takes the little girl and gets shot-that's what the megaphone sounded like. I thought someone needs to tell this guy that his blaring has a more of a chilling effect than not.

Security was tight, but it was not as bad as every expected. I pretty much breezed through the security lines and got into the Fleet center. The fleet center was a zoo and it was overwhelming trying tal make heads or tails of anything. After walking for five miles I finally found the Maryland delegation entrance. I walked in and promptly got trapped on the steps going down. People were not moving and I was getting irritated. I had just had a huge 100% ground beef burger with fries and a beer and I needed to sit down and relax, put up my feet and listen to more speeches. Well, it was then that I looked up and saw Howard Dean. That's what the problem was, everyone was star struck. Of course, I could have cared less, notwithstanding the open mouth and sttutering and the "oh my God" exclamation. After staring at Howard Dean for about a minute or two, I decided to head on to the MD delegation. Then I realized that I did not have a floor pass. As an alternate delegate, I was not worthy of the convention floor--so much for security. They had tons of people posted at entrances to inspect credentials, so how I got through is a mystery. So I decided to leave and spare myself the embarassing situation of being asked to leave. On my way back up, I noticed a throng headed down-Howard Dean was on the move and by some freak of circumstance he stopped right by me to be interviewed by CNN. So there I was standing infront of Howard Dean. I did not spare Dean the flash. Incredible insightful observation here--he looked just like he does on TV.

I found out that I was correct, I was on the lowest rung of the feeding chain and was condemned to the nose bleed seats and so affirming myself in humility (someday, they'll beg to have me on the first row) I trudged to the 7th floor found a seat.

The Program

First, I have to say that it was one heck of a set up. I was very impressed with the stage and everything. Also, there was a live band that absolutely rocked. There was also the 90 ft screen, but my view was blocked by the lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Ah, the life of lowly alternate delegate.

Bebe Winans sang the national anthem. For those who don't know, he is of the famed Winans gospel singing clan, who normally teams up with his sister, CeeCee. I will say hands down, the best ever rendition of the national anthem I've ever heard.

Gore's speech--okay. I'm not a Gore fan and I was deathly afraid that he'd start one of his fanting "how dare they drag . . ." speeches. I know Gore is the darling of the left, but I didn't vote for him. I hoped he would realize that his time had passed and this was now Kerry's convention. He did. He aluded to 2000 to fire up the troops and state the obvious that this would be his convention if all the votes were counted, but he did a good job setting the tone.

Hillary Clinton--Her intro of hubby/speech was okay. As with Gore, I'm not exactly smitten. (I did listen to her on the Tavis Smiley show on Thursday and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed listening to her. She was refreshingly candid, maybe the more I listen, the more I'd like.) Hillary is not a very good public rah-rah speaker. She tends to shout and her cadence and rhythm are off often. She's more a doer than speaker. Nonetheless, everyone was electrified by her presence and speech, except me. I do think this whole situation is a tad dissappointing to her. If Kerry wins then she can't run until 2012, by which time Edwards would be the annointed being the VP for 8 years. The extent to which she wants this ticket to win has been a question that has dogged her. I would say that she did not necessarily hide that dissappointment, in my opinion, in the Tavis Smiley interview. I think she and Bill are resigned to whatever happens.

Bill Clinton--background-I am a Clinton supporter. Even during the Lewinsky affair, I was not embarassed to stand up for a man I thought was a good president and being unfairly demonized. That said, I am not a Clinton worshipper. For instance, I don't have his book. I watched his 60 minutes interview, but after that I couldn't watch him any more. I think I have immense respect for him, but I don't have affection for him. I like him, but I don't think I trust him. The truth is that I feel that he could be lying to you at any point and you wouldn't know it. I suppose that's it, you never know what's a performance and what isn't. (Unlike with Kerry. I've been a Kerry fan for years because you always felt like you were getting the real deal. He's answers were never simple and cliche-ish, he always expressed his mind and sometimes speaks his thinking process out loud. While that doesn't make for bumper sticker cliches, it makes for an honest man that you know is truly speaking his mind and not performing. [I am John Kerry and I approve this message])

Clinton's speech was a definite A plus. The man is quite simply a genius. He is the best politician of our generation and could vie as one of the best ever. He capture the essence of the choice facing this nation and put forth compelling reasons for the Democrats. Nothing was more clever than the "send me" refrain. Clearly biblical, it send shivers up my spine. (The next day I was speaking with a couple of fairly liberal Catholics and we were all saying how we missed Clinton. He knew he had us eating out of his hands and he knew that we knew he had us in his pocket, but that's the pleasure of the seduction. He is so smooth that it is like a guilty pleasure). Clinton's speech capped off a succesful first day and set the tone of the convention-the choice between Bush giveaways to the wealthy few or John Kerry's devotion and service to the many. After his speech, I felt that even if his was the best speech of the convention and overshadowed Kerry's coming speech, it still was perfect, because he had made the case succesfully for Kerry.

Side buzz about Clinton/Kerry. I think this convention and the party is now Kerry's party. There was an obvious struggle between Clinton and Kerry, but inevitably Kerry wins out because he is the nominee. The Kerry Democratic party is one that presents idealism tempered and guided by toughness, common sense, and values. Clinton could not project strength because of his vietnam record and his moral issues. Kerry fought and bled courageously and can stand toe to toe with anyone on the toughness issue. Kerry is also a deeply spiritual man. His faith and spirituality run beneath the surface as opposed to Clinton who peppers his speeches with scripture and holds his bible on the way in and out of Church. Clinton's life however, seems to run contrary to scripture which then gives off the appearance of a performance. Kerry doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve, but when you dig deeper, you find it there. Kerry is also very much a common sense, pragmatic type. He has broken with the party in the past on issues like the budget, welfare, etc. He was something of a lone wolf in the Senate, while you could count on a progressive agenda, you couldn't necessarily give him an easy blanket definition. However, in all this, he is a dreamer and a progressive idealist. And while Clinton may use catchy phrases like building bridges to the 21st century, Kerry seems to be driven by a true vision of what this century should be about, especially in energy independence and science.

There were articles in the Globe about how Kennedy was marginalized by the centrist Clinton in the 90s and now, in Kerry, Kennedy has made a come back and is clearly wresting away control from Clinton and moving to consolidate Kerry's power over the party.

Monday Morning--
First day of Democatic National convention 04

I stayed out near Boston College with a friend, so my general commute into town was about one hour each way. The Maryland delegation breakfast was from 7:30am-9 am, which meant that I had to wake up at 5:30 am.

Casually dressed, I straggled into the breakfast looking to dig into a buffet, get my credentials (credentials for the day were only given out on the day itself and we had to pick them up by 11 am or we lose them), any generally convention material and then head on to any events. There was an African American caucus meeting that I was interested in. To my surprise, everyone was all dressed up and looking tre chic, except, thankfully, a couple next to me on my table--they had the same idea and rolled out of bed to grab a bite. There was no buffet, it was an actual program and sit down breakfast. That was not a welcome piece of information, but c'est la vie.

The way the breakfasts worked was that Prince George's County, just east of DC sponsored it on Monday, i forget who sponsored on Tuesday, Baltimore County on Wednesday and Montgomery County,just north of DC on Thursday. An unspoken "tension" in the delegation that was a sub-surface issue was that the two men who plan to run against each other in the Democratic primary were both there and clearly needed to make impressions on delegates who are the heart/grassroots of the local party.

The main speaker for that breakfast for Donna Brazille, quite the catch, but not after sitting through dozens of elected officials who all gave "brief" remarks. Tired as I was, I was not in the mood to sit through all those speeches, but they are a necessary evil. It was hard to put down a bite of juicy french toast to clap every two minutes, but clapping and cheering was the appropriate thing to do--it's all part of the ritual. One thing I didn't mind was that everytime someone said anything about "John Kerry" I dropped everything, sausage, scrambled eggs, french toast, fresh fruit and coffee and clapped like there was no tomorrow. As an original Kerry supporter, I feel like I have to defend him to other party activists, many of whom supported other candidates in the primaries. I guess I also got sensitive to the whole deal that people are anti-Bush and not pro-Kerry--well, here's one Kerry worshipper here and I'll be damned if I didn't show it.

Donna Brazile was great. She was plugging her book Cooking with Grease. I'm not sure I can read a book with a cholesterol inducing title like that in all good conscience. The other thing at the breakfast was the rah-rah speeches affirming pride in being Democrats and that "liberal" is not a dirty word. So it was quite funny then when Jack Johnson, Prince George's County Executive, introduced Steny Hoyer a prominent Blue-Dog conservative Democrat, of my quite conservative district, Mr. Johnson felt he had to justify Hoyer's conservatism, saying he always votes with us on things important to us.

Barbara Mikulski also featured prominently. She is running for re-election so the party is in re-elect Mikulski mode. She is a charming, sharp and quick-witted lady. I have to say that I really like Senator Sarbanes, he seems quite out of the mould as far as politicians go. He definitely is not rah-rah. Sarbanes is widely respected and is behind some pretty complicated bills, most recently Sarbanes-Oxley which dealt with corporate fraud and other issues. Steny Hoyer boasted about the strength of the Maryland congressional delegation. He is the minority whip, Dutch Ruppersberger, a freshman, is on the House Intelligence cmttee, Chris Van Hollen is on Gov't reform, etc. He seemed quite proud that for a small delegation, they were as well situated as any other state, save California who has people to spare. Hoyer certainly knows the importance of being well-placed. The Pax river base is a major, major source of employment in Southern Maryland and he has been tirelessly fighting for saving it from Base realignment or closing. He frequently brings Pentagon folks down and they meet with community people, etc.

Anyway, back to Monday at convention. I picked up my credentials and more welcome stuff. By the time breakfast was over, it was well past 9 am and I didn't think I'd make it to the Black caucus meeting. Besides, being full from breakfast, I had had my share of speeches, clapping, cheering, smiling, etc. So I decided to head back to Chestnut Hill--my buddy, a Benedictine brother, and myself were going to hang out anyway.

One interesting thing was that there were free Washington posts, boston globes, and wall street journals and National Journals. For a news junkie it was terrible. I found that after each breakfast, I settled into the hotel lobby and read and read and read (throw in a USA today) and an hour and a half later, I emerged feeling like glutton. I felt like I had done a bad thing, I don't know why.

I was fortunate to be elected an alternate delegate for the 5th Congressional district in Maryland, a district led by Steny Hoyer, an admirable man by all counts.

I'll go over my DNC 2004 experience as best as I can recall.

I hung out with a couple of friends. It was my second time in Boston, so there was some sightseeing. I will say that I am impressed with the city. Besides being a beautiful place, it has personality. We stopped by Quincy Market, an open air shopping center with outdoor performers etc. I loved it. I'm not one to generally gawk at performers, but there was this guy who was a general performer, i.e., juggling while spinning a plate on his mouth and balancing on rolling stuff, he was nothing short of amazing.

It was great to see fellow Kerryites out there-there weren't as many demonstrations as I thought. We sae the MSNBC set up and Chris Matthews was doing a show. I got a picture me and Chris behind me, I hope it turns out.

Being in Boston, there was a major buzz about the Yankees coming to town, so we were parked in front of a TV by 8 pm. To my surprise Kerry was at Fenway with prime sitting. Apparently he did a ceremonial pitch which I missed. He seemed pretty comfortable. I always feel queasy about politicians being at sports events because it looks contrived. But Kerry is a bonafide Red Sox fan. There was a Kerry interview at some point which I hated. It went on too long and this was while stuff was happening--bad pr because the game was a nationally televised game on ESPN and sports fans watching could care less about Kerry's views on the DH.

The buzz from the news networks was that conventions, now are scripted and contain no drama. Confirmed how stupid I think some of these people are. They are there to report the news. It also confirms that entertainment, not news, drives them. What they were interested in was "drama."

Anyway, at the end of the day, I was somewhat excited and a touch apprehensive. I realized that the convention was make or break, so there was the natural nervousness about the whole thing being a success.