TDS managing editor Ed Kilgore Blogs at The Washington Monthly on the MSM buzz about some Democrats taking a pass on the upcoming convention, and it’s a fun read because Kilgore knows the turf like few other political writers — from the inside.
Both Republicans and some MSM purveyors of a snail’s-eye-view have been richly enjoying the drip-drip-drip of “stories” about this or that Democratic pol in a highly competitive race deciding to skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. …Look, don’t get me wrong: I love national party conventions, God help me. I’ve been to six of the suckers myself, and have watched as much as I could of both parties’ conventions since 1964. Hell, there are years when it was about the only thing I watched on TV, other than election night coverage itself and University of Georgia football games.
But let’s face it: national conventions lost their deliberative functions long ago. The last multi-ballot affair was in 1952, long before the advent of the modern primary system. The last convention where there was any doubt after the opening gavel about the identity of the nominee was in 1976, and that was only because of a miraculously close primary finish between Reagan and Ford. The last time there was any serious convention maneuvering over the platform was in 1980, when the Carter forces blithely caved to a full-employment plank designed to embarrass the president.
Kilgore acknowledges that political conventions do serve some worthwhile functions as “a well-timed opportunity for message delivery” and “fundraising and GOTV preparations.” However, “For a junior congressional candidate in a tough race, it’s time better spent either on the hustings or dialing for dollars. Kilgore concludes, “So let’s give the no-show meme a rest, folks. It’s news about nothing from nowhere. ”