2008 The Procession
posted by August 27 at 10:30 AMon
I think I’ve finally settled into a good daily rhythm here in Denver. It took a little while, partly because this whole experience is a huge swirl of logistical and technical and celebrity-gawking madness, but mostly because convention time takes some getting used to. It turns out to be close to the ideal type of time, but it’s definitely something different.
I’m not talking about the one-hour time difference between Seattle and Denver. I’m talking about the fact that nothing happens at the Democratic National Convention before 3 p.m. Think about that. If you’re a journalist, you’re used to politicians holding conference calls and press availabilities at insanely early hours of the morning, but here in Denver, the rule is that no big public business gets done before 3. It’s lovely. It’s also a recognition of the fact that most people here, including the politicians, were probably out drinking until 3 a.m. the previous night and need some time to sleep before showering and heading to one of the early afternoon free cocktail hours that precede the opening gavel.
So, for example, yesterday I woke up early (the fatal flaw in my daily convention cycle is that I don’t have time for the sleep-in-until-noon part); grabbed one of the free bikes (a much better one than before, whoever thought up the idea of automatic transmissions for bicycles should be shot); rode to a light rail station to grab my computer from Annie Wagner (don’t ask); rode back to the journalist tenement I’m crashing at and started riding the Slog; showered; rode across town to the convention hall; checked out the scene; left to go to a free 4 p.m. cocktail hour hosted by Media Matters; and then joined the procession:
That’s not me sweating through my shirt, but the amount of hustle and perspiration this guy was showing is representative of what happens at the security checkpoints around the Pepsi Center starting in the late afternoon each day and increasing in intensity as the prime-time speech hour approaches. Yesterday’s late-afternoon line to see Hillary speak was huge, with all kinds of important D.C. types trying to cut in front, using the trick of pretending to talk about urgent matters on their cell phones while walking briskly to try to avoid being stopped by the police who were attempting to maintain order. My view from the Hillary line:
It took about 40 minutes under a very hot sun to get past security, and then I was in and on the floor and watching Clinton speak, and then I was out and hustling off to a party hosted by Politico and the Glover Park Group. Then, after about an hour of free booze and high-end-journalist-schmoozing there, and just as Congressman Rahm Emanuel was pulling up to the door and his Secret Service detail clearing a path at the crowded entryway, we rushed across town to catch Death Cab for Cutie playing an acoustic set in the upstairs of an old church in honor of an environmental group. I missed Gov. Gregoire introducing Death Cab, but I caught most of the set and it was an amazing event—the set, the setting, the sweatiness of the young crowd, all of it. Charles has a lot he wants to say about this, so look for that on Slog later today, but I want to say simply that the Death Cab concert was the embodiment of the liberal utopia that has materialized in Denver this week—free music, free drink, politics on the agenda but not as the only item on the only agenda, sex in the air, dancing, and afterward stumbling out smiling, headed back to the Politico party (it took up two bars, we wanted to check out the second one) where Howard Wolfson sang his favorite political song for a new friend from Seattle who I met on the plane here, and everyone was talking loudly about Hillary or some other bit of political intrigue, and the lights came up a little before two, and then off to sleep so that I could wake up a few hours later and do it all over again.