Around this time of year, nostalgia for the old days of politics runs deep. Thus—bunting, whistle-stop campaigns, somber invocations of the triumph of generations past. On the stump, everyone’s grandfather is an immigrant, everyone’s mother a saint of sacrifice. Such paeans to the past become especially prevalent now, when party stalwarts gather for the quadrennial conventions. Sixteen-thousand journalists are expected down in Tampa and Charlotte, and it is safe to say that nearly all of them will express some form of lament over the fact that the conventions are now so scripted , so info-mercional. Where is the excitement of the conventions of yore, with their skinny ties, delegate wrangles, smoke filled backrooms and uncertain outcomes?
Is there a word for nostalgia for something that you do not really know? There hasn’t been any drama at a convention (assuming you don’t count aged Hollywood stars talking to chairs as drama) for 35 years, and the outcome of one hasn’t seriously been in doubt for probably 60, meaning that practically none of the scribblers in the press riser have living memory of the kind of conventions that this year’s are a mere pale imitation of. Read More