Dave Barry on the convention

Dave Barry is writing a column on the convention for National Journal. It is the most fearlessly truthful reporting I have seen so far. (What a ridiculous profession this is.)

Call me a courageous explorer in the mold of Lewis and Clark if you want, but I did something insanely brave here: I traveled alone, on foot, all the way across the convention floor.

This is actually a lot harder than what Lewis and Clark did. Yes, they had to cross thousands of miles of hostile wilderness surviving on pine needles and squirrel jerky. But that’s nothing compared with the obstacles I faced. Spike Lee, for example.

Here’s a minute-by-minute account of my ordeal:

7:40 — I get a temporary media floor pass, which allows me to be on the floor for exactly 30 minutes. If I don’t return the pass by 8:10, something bad happens, although they don’t tell you exactly what, so you have to assume waterboarding.

7:41 — I step onto the convention floor and am immediately caught up in a surging mass of humanity consisting of every Democrat who has ever lived. Grover Cleveland is in here somewhere. Yes, he died in 1908, but the crowd is so dense that he is unable to fall down.

7:43 — Somewhere in the distance is the podium, where an important Democratic dignitary is speaking about Change. He is for it. Down here on the floor, we are wishing that our fellow surgers would change to a stronger deodorant. We are pressed together so tightly that some of us could easily wind up pregnant by as many as eight different people, and I am not ruling out Grover.

7:48 — Through intense effort I manage to surge maybe eight feet, where the path is blocked by a TV network that has set up a platform on the floor so its reporters can report on the convention by talking to each other with their backs to the actual convention. There is huge excitement in the surge as people catch glimpses of both Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer, who are, in this environment, the Beatles. The surgers all stop, whip out cellphones, and take pictures of the backs of the heads of people who are taking pictures of the backs of the heads of people who might actually be getting direct visual shots of Anderson and Wolf. It is a lifetime convention memory.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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