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The Convention by Telephone

For all of those readers out there who can't empathize with the ennui so many reporters feel about political conventions (Mike Kinsley has just described himself as "one of the thousands of journalists, all chasing the same story") I have decided to launch an experiment: How much can you learn, really and truly, about Barack Obama if you aren't in Denver, aren't even in the U.S. and don't have C-SPAN either? I'm not exactly in outer Siberia, but I'm not exactly in the thick of things in Denver (rural Poland, if you must know). Nevertheless, U.S. politics tend to echo around the world in odd ways, almost like a game of telephone: Obama says something in Denver, it gets repeated in New York, it gets changed slightly in Paris and by the time it appears in Moscow, he seems to be saying the opposite. I've decided to listen to those echoes from my strange perspective, and see how they sound.

It is possible, of course, that the answer to the "how much can you learn, really and truly" question is..."nothing." A quick review of the convention Web site this evening, European time, produced some boosterish city-of-Denver video propaganda and a lot of what British papers call "curtain raisers": stories written before the event has actually happened, and that say, therefore, almost nothing. And now it's bedtime. But by the time I wake up tomorrow, Michelle Obama will have spoken, and the game of telephone will surely have begun....

By Anne Applebaum  | August 25, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
Categories:  Applebaum  | Tags:  Anne Applebaum  
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Next: What to Expect From Tonight's Kennedy Catharsis

Comments

"...How much can you learn, really and truly, about Barack Obama if you aren't in Denver, aren't even in the U.S., and don't have C-span either? "

Probably at least as much as if you are in the US, surrounded by pontificating pundits and both amateur and professional spinmeisters.

Best way to take both conventions- with an enormous grain of salt.

Posted by: weary | August 25, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Following is the list of keynote speakers and topics at the upcoming Democratic Convention:

Marion Barry --- Drug Abuse

Rep. Denny Kucinich --- How to garner 1 % of the vote in every primary entered

Sen. Chrissy Dodd --- Obtaining Countrywide loans

Sen. Chucky Schumer --- How to initiate a run on a bank

Jesse Jackson ---- Marital fidelity and Castration

John Edwards ---- Ambulance Chasing and Spousal support in time of need

Sen. Theodore Kennedy --- Driver education and How to stop a pending autopsy

James McGreevey ---- Gay rights

Mayor Ray Nagin --- Emergency evacuation preparations

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – Email etiquette in the workplace

Al Sharpton ---- Race relations

Sen. Evan Bayh --- How to ignore the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party and support the war in Iraq

Al Gore --- Snow Removal

Louis Farrakhan --- Muslims in America and Muslim in the White House

Posted by: gary | August 25, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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