Slogging the Convention — Welcome to Boston ’04

Election 2004 | Greater Boston | Access/Network
As tough as summer is for sitting down to write– I’ve been nicely distracted from my Civilities— it’s even tougher to put aside summer and dive into politics. This coming week I’ll have to do both, with Democratic National Convention 2004 steamrolling into town. We asked for it, and we got it.

Here’s the list of convention bloggers. I’m not on that list, since I take exception to calling this website a blog. Nonetheless, if I do come up with some idle thoughts that are blogworthy, Jon Lebkowsky and Aldon Hynes have asked me to contribue to Greater Democracy. With 15,000 journalists in town, it’s going to be a challenge with any unique slants. I expect to contribute one or two articles here. And about 200 pictures.

For those wondering just how I’m getting access to the various parts of the convention, here’s how it breaks down:

  • Convention passes: I earned ’em, with my second-place finish in the KerryCore contest. I’ll concede, there are probably loads of people more deserving than I, and many of those would probably get more out of the convention than I. But I worked hard to win the contest, and I’m going to make the most of it. But it’s really just a small part of the whole week.
  • Convention driving: I showed up to volunteer, since the Mass. for Kerry team needs people to drive Kerry people between Park Plaza, Emerson College, and the Fleet Center (otherwise a 5-minute ride on the Green Line— even with the Fleet Center stop closed. When you exit at Haymarket, you can see the FleetCenter)
  • Convention parties: One I bought wholesale– the Massachusetts delegation party. Cost me $100, though I think I can bring a guest. The Jewish Community party I think I earned, through a friend of mine, and fellow synagogue board member, who works at the JCRC, one of the sponsors. Other parties OurConvention, a project of DL21C and 2020Dems.
  • Democratic GAIN — 4 days of free workshops at the Hynes Convention Center. Which, by the way, is one of other two convention centers we have.

And here’s my tentative schedule:

Saturday — Pay tribute to the greatest Democrat of them all, at the grand opening of the FDR Heritage Center, out in Worcester.
Sunday 25th 9-1pm — Democratic GAIN training.
2-4pm — Laundry would be nice to do.
4-7pm — Jewish Community party at the Seaport Hotel.
8:30-2am — Jumpoff Party at Avalon sponsored by DemocaraticGAIN et al.

Monday 26th
7:30am — Barney Frank and Jerold Nadler at the AJC breakfast in the Marriot Copley.
11am — Get convention passes at the FleetCenter Then drop off bike at the office (or the repair shop?) and head over to the Park Plaza.
12-6pm, volunteer and drive the shuttles to ferry around.
Evening — Convention, See Gore, Carter, Clinton.

Tuesday 27th
9am — Get the car inspected, since it expires the end of the month.
10am GAIN Training at the Hynes, 10am Grassroots technology.
Tuesday night — Convention: Ted Kennedy, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, and Barack Obama on TV. Call the Jewish Advocate‘s focus group, and phone in my observations.

Wednesday 28th
8am-1pm — volunteer driving? if I don’t stay up too late the night before.
2:30-4pm — Networking Reception with the DL21C & 2020Dems at the Marriot Copley Bike home and change for parties later.
3pm — Check out the bloggers at GAIN, and hit them with tough questions.
7pm — Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas is at the Harvard Coop… couldn’t have picked a better time. I would be thrilled and delighted if someone could get the book signed for me.
4:30-7pm — Rising Stars Reception at the Odyssey $20. How much of this can I possibly take?
Evening — Convention: Edwards is the featured speaker.
8 till midnight — The Samuel Adams Massachussetts Democrats Party at the Children’s Museum. I paid for this, I better show. Also, my Congressman, Barney Frank told me he was looking forward to seeing me there, following our correspondence on my AlHurra research.
10:30-2am — NJDC party at Aria.

Thursday 29th
10am-12pm NPR’s Connection at the JFK Jr. Forum at the KSG
3pm — GAIN Workshop on Fundraising by Beth Ship NARAL Pro-Choice
Evening — No more convention passes! the main event, I’ll have to watch, maybe at the KSG. Kerry accepts the nomination, proving his competence by pronouncing the word “nuclear” correctly.

The schedule is subject to change. At any moment I may just head over to the Charles and go sailing. Or cross the river and go to the office.

Boston will be a total disaster of course. First of all, a bunch of shuttle drivers will be adding to the traffic madness, thanks to the road closures. The cops are not going to get their annualized 4% raise they’ve been asking for, but they still may continue with their “informational pickets” as Mayor Menino’s office has described them. And for crying out loud, the trashcans along Newbury Street and Cambridge Street have been designated as potential bomb drops and summarily removed (so much for my uninformed idea of “keeping the soft targets softer”). What an awful mess!

Here are my other preparations:

  1. I broke down; I bought it. The 2004 Almanac of American Politics, which is the indispensable (and, at 1800 pages, un-portable) guide to the wildlife that’s going to flock to town. Not sure when how much I’ll get much use of it after the week.
  2. I got tired of printing out my own business cards, so I’m going to get a Civilities.Net hat printed up over at Downtown Crossing. Figured I’d spread the good word. Though not sure how much I’ll wear it after the week, either.
  3. Buy a notepad, so I look like a journalist. Find some pens. Test my NOMAD II digital recorder, which was state-of-the-art, oh, at the time of the last convention.

August update:
Here’s a picture that Jessamyn took of me on the second day of the convention. The previous day she had taken this picture of the back of my cap before she met me.