Monday, August 25, 2008

Putting The 'Con' In Convention

As the Democrats meet in Denver to render unto Obama what is Obama's, ask yourself this question:

What is the god-damned point?

It's been over 50 years since there was a contested Democratic convention (even longer for the Republicans). And in that time, these scripted extravaganzas look more and more like award shows—Oscars for the politicians—a chance for our leaders to pat each other on the back and say to the electorate, "Look how f*cking awesome we are! Don't you just want to buy our brand of America?"

In reality though, modern nominating conventions are about two things and two things only: Boatloads of media exposure and unrestricted influence peddling. In fact, conventions are one of the few places left where access to the powerful (or the soon to be powerful) is available to anyone who can afford the price of admission. Why for a mere $250,000, a "sponsor" can buy their way into numerous private events, and for a cool $5M? VIP treatment, access to exclusive skyboxes, and an invitation to the host committee party.

In 2004, $250M was spent on the Republican and Democratic conventions, and although the price tag this election season may not approach that stratospheric number, keep in mind that almost $100M of the cost isn't the rich buying their way into the nominee's presence. It's the Feds using your tax dollars to put together the basics: The facilities, the security, and the infrastructure. That's right...even though there will be no floor fight, not the slightest chance of surprise in the outcome, you're paying a huge chunk of change just so corporations and well-heeled donors can legally get up close and personal with politicians who are supposed to have your concerns at heart!

Imagine all the great things we could do with that kind of money if we weren't wasting it on these glitzy spectacles. Now imagine that it will never, ever happen. Guess that's why it's called a 'Con'vention.

TAGS: , , ,

No comments: