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The Action on the Edge of the Action

National political conventions are gatherings of VIP's, and every VIP expects a good hotel room. That's why media types tend to be relegated to the outskirts, or the suburbs, or the exurbs. And that's why the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver -- it is indeed inside the city limits, barely -- has become a vast resettlement camp for notebook-carrying, camera-toting refugees from Washington and New York.

We stick out. We're the ones on foot (this part of town was definitely made for cars), wandering in aimless circles, hoping to stumble across a Starbucks. Helpful hint: If you ask a local and he or she describes a destination as "right up the street," that means two or three miles.

I was trudging "right up the street" this morning when I ran into a displaced person from the New York Times whose stride, anomalously, had bounce and purpose. He was carrying a swimsuit. "At our hotel, they said we could use the pool at the Holiday Inn if we showed our room card," he said. My smile was, perhaps, needlessly patronizing.

Our hotel has a pool.

By Eugene Robinson  | August 24, 2008; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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A NOUN, A VERB AND POW - a preview of the upcoming debates between Senator Obama and Senator McCain.

Moderator: Senator McCain, what is your stance on leaving Iraq?

McCain: I was a POW at the Hanoi Hilton. I'm against it.

Moderator: Excuse me Senator but what does being a POW have to do with Iraq?

McCain: Nothing and I was a POW at the Hanoi Hilton for 5 long agonizing years.

Moderator: Yes, I understand.....Senator? Do you need a hanky? Perhaps some time to collect yourself?

McCain: No no....sniffle....it's nothing. You should try spending 5 years as a POW being tortured.

Moderator: Well, my heart goes out to you Senator. Perhaps we should move onto another question.

McCain: Yes, that would be nice.

Moderator: Please tell me then Senator McCain, what is your position on abortion.

McCain: When I was a POW in Vietnam, I always thought how precious life is and how evil abortion is - even in the case of rape.

Moderator: I see. And so you would appoint a conservative pro-life judge to the Supreme Court?

McCain: Definitely. But before that I would return to Vietnam and tour the hell hole that I was imprisoned in for 5 long years - all for the sake of our great nation.

Moderator: I see.......Senator Obama, could you please tell the viewers your position on abortion.

Obama: I believe every woman has the right to choose, especially I might add, in the case of rape. I will not nominate a judge that does not take into consideration the rights of individuals. And I refuse to support a State that seeks to assert its will over it's citizens.

Moderator: Thank you Senator. Now I will turn to Senator McCain. According to most experts, your plan to drill for oil would do little if anything to bring down the price of gas for the next 10-12 years. Why do you remain steadfast in supporting a bill to open up environmentally sensitive areas in the Outer Continental Shelf?

McCain: When I was a POW I use to think if I had a drill I could drill a hole and get out of this rat hole. No human should have to suffer as I did during those awful years. But of course I endured it all for God and Country - for 5 excruciating years! Did I mention 5 years?

Moderator: Repeatedly.

McCain: Well anyway, if I had a drill I would bore a hole in the earth and tunnel my way out. And if I hit oil all the better.

Moderator: That is your answer, Senator?

McCain: Yes.

Moderator: Senator Obama?

Obama: First we have to start developing alternative sources of energy with an effective infrastructure to wean America off oil. We can no longer allow our dependency on foreign oil dictate foreign policy. It's time for America to move into Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Bio-fuel, Wave Energy and Geothermal Power. However, drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf will yield little if any benefits to the consumer; that isn't however to say that an energy bill couldn't be crafted to utilize off shore oil reserves as long as strict environmental guidelines are in place. But this would have to be supplemental to a strong Alternative Energy Plan - not paramount to it. However, it is also incumbent on oil companies to start drilling on the millions of acres already leased to them, areas which have already been cleared by the EPA.

Moderator: Thank you Senator Obama for that concise answer. And now lets move onto Social Security. Senator McCain, at the current rate, by 2012, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than it collects in revenues. This is a serious matter since it could cause Social Security to go bankrupt and in turn threaten America's many old.....

McCain: Did you say old? You know, when I was a POW and sitting in a small dank 6 by 8 cell for 5 brutal years, I use to think 'God I feel old'! Americans don't know how lucky they got it. No social security when you are rotting in prison for the good of your country.

Moderator: And.....you are for?

McCain: Privatizing Social Security.

Moderator: I see. Senator Obama?

Obama: We have ignored Social Security too long and when I am president...

McCain: Excuse me but can I go to the bathroom....as a POW all I had to do was go stand in the corner and relieve myself. Sure it wasn't very hygienic but it was for the good of our nation. Any patriotic American would have done the same thing. If I had to do it all over again I would do it in a heart beat. That's what makes a good president - patriotism.........

Moderator: Thank.....thank....you.....please stop Senator and let Senator Obama answer the.....Senator Mc.....McCain........

McCain: ............I remember once while drawing crosses on the floor of that smelly, dirty cell and said to myself.............

Posted by: woody | August 25, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

Woody's "comment" (skit about McCain's constant use of 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton) is right on target. The Democrats need to hit back HARD each time the Hanoi Hilton is mentioned. It has nothing to do with today, other than to point out that McCain and the Republicans have no answer to TODAY'S problems.

Posted by: FLTNVA | August 25, 2008 5:42 AM | Report abuse

What Mr. McCain might be saying instead of the POW jazz is that Joe Biden endorsed him for president and even said he would run as his running mate (Washington Post, today). McCain doesn't need to remind the PA, MI, OH, and MO voters that he was a POW. They know Obama wasn't, and that alone will sink Obama's chances (besides his supercilious manner). We Democrats have done it once again: Carter, Dukakis, Kerry, and now Obama, to lead us to a point of snatching Defeat out of the jaws of Victory. I will have to vote absentee this year, because I will have to think long and hard about supporting such a nonsensical ticket as the Dems have provided me.

Posted by: James Linney | August 25, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations on a room with a pool, Mr. Robinson. I have a feeling, though, that every time you take a dive you'll be thinking of millions of Americans living in need who are out here depending on you to give us the straight story. I don't begrudge you the pool if it helps you think better. Just remember, that is what the pool is for.

Posted by: Olive | August 25, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Excellent post, hillarious but right on target. McCain needs to realise that his POW status does not equate to being qualified to be POTUS.
McCain, another underachiever, graduating fifth from the bottom of his class, who got by on his family's name, & money...a Bush clone. Surely America should have had enough of the last 8 years of incompetence: economy, health care & war to opt for something more ie to change the course Bush's clone, McCain will continue.

Posted by: Sandra | August 25, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"My smile was, perhaps, needlessly patronizing"

Naaaww! You?

One can tell what kind if Obama fans your followers are by the kind of stuff they've already posted under your meaningless post that isn't even an interesting affectation.

What makes me think your blog will have all the crazies hugging each other in it?

That's a good kind of segregation.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Y'know, when John McCain was a POW in Hanoi for five long years... FIVE YEARS, do you hear me?!... he often longed for a pool. Have you no shame, Mr. Robinson, smugly noting you have access to a pool when so many North Vietnamese POWs whose last name is McCain had to do without for FIVE LONG YEARS in Hanoi? As a POW?

You think about that, Mr. Robinson, as you arrogantly lounge in your hotel pool, while brave POWs like John S. McCain continually reminisce about the time they were prisoners, for five long years. Maybe then you'll begin to recognize the sacrifice he made over five years as a POW in Hanoi.

Posted by: lritger | August 25, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I hope someone puts up a counter/meter that keeps count of the number of times McCain mentions or advertises his POW status. For fun you could also count the number of times he says "My friends".

Posted by: Kathleen | August 25, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Cherry Creek isn't that bad, you should rent a bike and take the Cherry Creek trail into downtown - you ride along the creek, out of traffic, and it's only a few miles. And it's downhill the whole way to downtown, what could be easier?

Posted by: Denverite | August 25, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Cherry Creek itself is it a pretty bland suburban area of town, but I agree wholeheartedly with Denverite about taking a bike ride down the Cherry Creek trail into the downtown area.

Also, avoid the 16th Street Mall, a classical tourist trap if ever there was one. The best places to eat and drink are all just off the Mall, not actually on it. Try Larimer Square and the Ballpark area - between 18th and 20th and Blake.

Also, there are enough good coffee shops in the area - both Cherry Creek and downtown - to make Starbucks wholly unnecessary.

And seriously, if you are not going to comment about the article, don't use the comments section. You think this would be common sense to anyone who understood the English language. If you want to rant and rave about unrelated topics, get a ******* blog.

Posted by: Jeff | August 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Would charter member of WaPo Chauvins for Obama Robinson do or say anthing but how wonderful the second coming Obama is?

Therefore whatever the Gene says is of no importance!

Posted by: William | August 25, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Gene:

Better idea to google it before trucking "right up the street" on foot, and beware of "two hoots and a holler up yonder" in Tennessee. Oh, when you come to Michigan, soda is "pop."

Happy travels and enjoy Denver.

Posted by: aBigSAM | August 25, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

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