I was at the movies with my younger son Sunday afternoon watching “The Bourne Legacy” (which I’m sorry to say I found far less engaging than “The Bourne Identity”), and the character played by Rachel Weisz had just been introduced when my phone started buzzing.
It was E.J. Dionne. I stepped out into the corridor to see what was up. He was just driving down from Washington, taking the scenic route through the Shenandoah Valley, one of the most beautiful drives in America (I drove that way many times when my youngest daughter was studying at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet). But E.J.’s not the kind of guy who finds pleasant vistas enough occupation for his hyperactive mind, so he wanted to chat.
The first thing he asked was whether I would be crossing the border this week, and I had to think a second before realizing he meant heading up to Charlotte.
Nope. I’m not. Or at least, I don’t think so. Ever since the DNC venue was announced a year or so ago, I had had it in my mind that since it was just up the road, I might bop up for part of it. But since that didn’t require any preparation, I made none. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I emailed Amanda Alpert Loveday with the SC party to see about credentials. That’s the way I had arranged it the couple of times I went to conventions before — just contact the state party, since it’s the state delegation I’d be following. But she said, “Press credentials were required to be requested by April and they are done by the Convention staff.” April? Like I’m going to prepare for an impromptu drive up to Charlotte in April?
I could still go. After all, when I’ve covered conventions in the past, I may have entered the actual hall where the convention was going on a couple of times total. But then, having those credentials did help get me into other places as well. Add to that the fact that the events worth being there for tend to happen early in the morning or very late at night — delegation breakfasts, and after-session social gatherings — and it just seems really inconvenient to try to cover any of it from home.
So I’m going to stick to Columbia, and watch the speeches on the Tube, just as I did the one in Tampa.
What do I expect to see? Well, I’ll tell you what I hope to see.
I hope to see a party that’s reaching out to independents and undecideds — a party that emphasizes things that pull Americans together — rather than a party that’s firing up its base with its ginned-up “War on Women” and other Kulturkampf flashpoints. You say there are no undecideds? Well, E.J. and I were talking about that, and he referred me to this analysis by ABC showing a large number of “persuadable voters:”
One in four registered voters may be persuadable in the 2012 presidential election – rich pickings if either Barack Obama or newly minted GOP nominee Mitt Romney can win their support. But doing so may be a challenge, requiring both subtle and substantive political persuasion.
That’s because persuadable voters, as identified in this analysis for ABC News, are less apt to be ideologically committed ones, and more likely to take middle-ground rather than strongly held positions on issues such as Obama’s job performance, Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan and their own partisan views.
Good to hear that I’m not alone. OK, we’re out here — so persuade us.
Dick Harpootlian says Jim Clyburn’s role in speaking tonight is to “excite the troops.” That’s exactly the sort of garbage I don’t want to hear. Guys, you don’t have “troops.” You’re not in a war. You are in a marketplace of ideas, and you’d better have some that are compelling to people outside that convention hall.
Anyway, that’s what I’m looking for. How about y’all?