Conventions and Clint Eastwood: May They Go the Way of the Dodo Bird

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Tiny Convention Hat

The Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Barack Show is underway, leaving us all to wonder why we even need conventions – especially if your secret guest speakers are His Eloquency Clint Eastwood and the Imaginary Barack the Kenyan Kommunist. They are outmoded in an instantaneous 24×7 world.

According to the Great Big Screaming Heads, the primary function of the Republican World Lie-a-Thon Champeenships was to introduce Mitt to America. Apparently introducing him is really hard. He’s been running since 2008. Of course, the crazy wing of the party could say incredibly stupid things at exactly the most inopportune times. Party swells cozied up to big donors and assorted cash-laden hangers-on for a little up-close and personal grifting. And, Mittens got to enjoy his favorite political banquet meal…rubber chicken slathered in Dom Perignon caviar sauce served by a brace of virgin Sister Wives.

Barry doesn’t need a convention to introduce himself, though maybe pretending to be someone else would be advantageous. When people can’t decide between you and an unprincipled, unlikable misfit there is trouble afoot. Still, Democrats will indulge in the same conventioneering as the Mittenites, except they’ll replace the infirm Clint with ancient Betty White. We should never allow people that old to drive or address large groups of people in prime time – with or without an empty chair. It’s a disaster.

Once upon a time, conventions – like 4-year long campaigns and the Electoral College – meant something. Today, not so much.

Crazy Tea Bagger HatBefore people became professional candidates instead of legislators and corporate lackeys, conventions still held some magic, some suspense. Occasionally, the primary orgy of the previous two years didn’t lock up every state before things even got off the ground. The parties didn’t usually squash the rugged individualism of states and single delegates out of existence by bald threats and deft agenda control. Votes still meant something. Now? Pffft!

People used to pay attention to conventions too. They tuned in to watch grown men and women in plastic straw boater hats tell the world their political shit not only didn’t stink, but was positively essential for a balanced diet. There were balloons and tchotchkes and back room deals. It was all quite festive and gave delegates a reason to vote FOR someone instead of prevaricate for an unapproachable, stock-still statue of the Angel Moroni.

Many people used to look forward to the party platform’s grand reveal. Democrats and Republicans always used the same standard template. There were lots of flag-waving, no-brainer, popular, chicken in every pot promises that wouldn’t survive the inaugural ball. No one actually believed them, but they were such fun.

Today, nasty outliers conspire to create platforms guaranteed to piss everyone off – including their own supporters, God, and Jerusalem. Planks like no abortions – even when a rapist with a rusty Bowie knife stabs Mom to death – don’t elicit much support. Well, except for professional goobs like Rush Limbaugh, Tony Perkins, and any Republican who wouldn’t understand a rape if he woke up with a sore bunghole.

The modern convention – and likewise the Electoral College, primaries, and campaigns lasting more than 2 weeks – are anachronisms. They are overly expensive dodo birds that serve no discernible purpose. They distract everyone. But then, maybe that’s why we still have them. People need a distraction after a 4-year campaign.

“The delegate from the great state of Sensibilonia moves we abolish all conventions and adjourn so we can get to the massage parlors before they close for the night!”

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