Saturday, July 31, 2004

Political blog watch

The in-blog and out-blog crowds

There were two groups of bloggers at Thursday's speech by John Kerry: those that got into the FleetCenter to criticize or laud his salute to the audience, and those that wished they could have caught a glimpse of the gesture. Kerry stepped up to the podium at the Democratic National Convention, put his right hand to his forehead and said, "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty." The crowd went wild. So did the bloggers - those who got in, anyway. Apparently the center was so full that even some credentialed media, bloggers and delegates were turned away by police.

Enough already: During the convention, there was the biographical bit highlighting Kerry's life, with the longest part of it focusing on his short time in Vietnam. It seems like supporters can't get enough of his heroic adventures. Sean Munson writes on logicalrealism.org: "The anecdote [in his speech] about riding his bike in Soviet East Berlin was a charming way both talking about two Americas and about our status in the world community." But blogger Nikita Demosthenes (www.command-post.org) posted a fed-up remark on Kerry's opening salute: "Ahem. We get it, OK? You served in Vietnam. We get it. Sheez. This beginning was lame." In blogging, slang such as "sheez" and "lame" really helps get the point across.

A personal touch: Like a woman who can't say the word "fabulous" enough, some bloggers were salute-crazy. A blogger for www.theleftcoaster.com gushed, "His introduction was a nice touch, reminding us that being president is exactly that - a duty that is performed, not a grant of nobility that is bestowed - or assumed."

Lemme in there: Paul McCullum, editor of blog for dinner (www.dinnerforamerica.com/blog.cfm) , was not one of the lucky few who had a chance to remark on Kerry's remarks. Turned away from the FleetCenter - credentials and all - McCullum was so annoyed that he dedicated his blog entry not to Kerry's speech, but to being excluded. According to McCullum, "One person asked a police officer, 'What if you are a delegate?' The officer responded by yelling back, 'Go home!'" He went on to explain, "Before being swept out, many people told me that the cause of the problem was due to the [Democratic National Committee] issuing several hundred more credentials than it could honor. One police officer admitted to me, 'The DNC must have really messed up.' "

"Free, wretched food": Jay Rosen of PressThink (journalism.nyu.edu) detailed what experts and analysts would tell their audiences before and after the Kerry speech. But when he tried to get into the FleetCenter and couldn't, the discouraging experience outweighed anything Kerry had to say. "Fire marshals closed the place down after it got too crowded and no one could return until almost midnight," Rosen wrote. "I went to visit the media tent (free, wretched food, if you know where to look) and found I could not get back in."

If you see convention- or campaign-related blogs we should check out, let us know. Send suggestions to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com.

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