Now that the Olympic flame has been doused by the tears of a thousand jade blossoms, it's time for America's most athletically dexterous mutants to stash their red, white and blue togs and head home. And the national spotlight turns to the political conventions featuring our most ethically dexterous mutants. The patriotic rhetoric and colors remain the same, only the fabric changes. Less emphasis on spandex and more on washable wool.
The major party conventions are like baseball, with the incumbents acting as the home team, giving the challengers first ups - the reason why we start off with the Democrats in Denver today, then shoot east by northeast to St. Paul next week. The score is kept in terms of "bounce." But John McCain may have spotted the opposition a two-run lead when he forgot how many houses he has.
The Mile-High City and the Twin Cities' Little Sister promise to put their own inimitable spin on the proceedings. Buffalo burgers for the Dems and Juicy Lucys (a burger patty with cheese oozing out of the middle like lava) for the GOP. And in a twisted tamping down of the true tradition of the heartland, both sites have set up "free speech zones" which barely share the same area code with the events being protested. Of course, the chants will still maintain that "the world is watching." But in reality, it's more like, "a tiny portion of America is casting half an eye towards us every now and then, maybe, we hope" kind of a thing.
Nobody knows why the parties continue to hold these over-staged, inflated pseudo-events when the bulk of the proceedings could be taken care of in a corner booth at Denny's over a Grand Slam breakfast. "All in favor of having the presumptive nominee be the actual nominee say 'more pork sausage please.' OK, it's unanimous."
The thing is, political conventions are like professional wrestling. Even though you know what's going to happen, every four years, it's fun to watch. And the Democrats are eminently more observable because no matter what high-priced, washed-up Hollywood producer is trotted out to choreograph and shrink wrap the proceedings, getting Democrats to follow a party line script is like trying to barbecue squid on a chain link fence. Major slippage is bound to occur.
Even with their pulsating, white-hot Bush-loathing bonding them together like crayons left on a stove, the self-destructo possibilities are endless. Will Al Gore channel the spirit of James Brown again? Will Bill Clinton hit on Campbell Brown within camera range? Be sure to tune in this week for your quadrennial dose of those demented Dems: Danger, Intrigue, Disorder.
Will Durst (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a political comedian.