February 06, 2004


This week I set up a deal that will send me to Boston in July for the Democratic National Convention, and then to New York for the Republican National Convention in August. Expect unfair and imbalanced blogging from both events, and daily reports at The Bulletin’s website.

Word on the street is that several other journalists may also attend; their activities will be closely monitored. As well, minor celebrities, failed candidates, and insane delegates will be sought out for punishing interviews on all the Major Issues. We need to know exactly what Dennis Kucinich thinks about Phillippe’s campaign, for example, which is so obviously based on his own.

I covered the DNC in Los Angeles four years ago (well ... I was there) but Ken Layne and Matt Welch ruined everything with their yelling and their antics and their "hey, I found some vodka in this AP reporter’s briefcase". Even so, our uncompromising independent journalism still won widespread applause.

This I pledge: coverage in 2004 will be even more uncompromisinger and independented.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 6, 2004 01:42 AM

Why waste your time? The conventions are as relevant these days as Dan Qualye and Admiral Stockdale.

Posted by: Zach at February 6, 2004 at 02:19 AM

Excellent news, Tim. Of all the unfair and unbalanced reporting that can't be trusted yours is the unfair and unbalanced reporting that I know I can't trust the least.

That's a compliment. I think.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 6, 2004 at 02:27 AM

When convention reporting is unfairer and unbalanceder, it will be Tim Blair who makes it the most unfairest and unbalancedest. In addition, of course, it will be the uncomprimisingest and independentest. (Probably also the drunkenest.) I always turn to Tim Blair for my unfair and unbalanced (and drunken) reporting.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at February 6, 2004 at 02:31 AM

hey, as i work in manhattan i hereby officially offer to assist you in maintaining the proper drunken state of mind when you're here in august.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 6, 2004 at 02:55 AM

Cool! Will Dave Barry be there too, or is he only covering the primaries?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 6, 2004 at 03:01 AM

Holy crap, that's great! I'm 100% serious, Tim, when I say I'm your biggest (only?) fan in Boston. Then again, I'm the biggest (only?) Republican in Boston. You must get in touch with me when you're here in August, and let me treat to at least one long lunch and a pint or two...hundred. Finally, something to look forward to about the Dem Convention.

Posted by: E.A. at February 6, 2004 at 03:22 AM

I can see doing one, but both? How do you propose keeping your sanity?

I remember the Good Old Days, when a convention was a thing to be remembered. Dozens of votes before one Great Shining Leader emerged from the pack. Smoke-filled backroom conferences, where Minnesota and Kansas would argue for days over snifters of brandy about who they'd pledge their delegates to.

Nowaydays? Where's the suspense? Where's the tension? The Democratic Convention in Boston - will we be surprised if JFK (John Forbes Kerry) emerges as the baton-twirler - oops, carrier?

Extremely clever of you to post that RNC link. Could you say that there are actually any Republicans in that organization?

Let's take a peek behind the scenes: "Friends of rcnotwelcome":

United for Peace and Justice
Campaign to Demilitarize the Police
International Socialist Organization
Revolutionary Workers Party(Trotskyist-Posadist)
Socialist Party of Michigan
Spartacist League/US
Young Peoples Socialist League

OK, that does it.

Probably the most influential supporter of "not welcome":

mad anarchist bakers league
Make Pie Not War.

With those groups against them, the Republicans might just as well give up now.

Posted by: Mike at February 6, 2004 at 03:32 AM

Tim, you might be able to help out the Kucinich campaign by giving his delegates a lift to the convention. Right now you could probably get by with a small two-door rental but if his campaign catches fire you might need to upgrade to a four-door mid-sized sedan.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 6, 2004 at 03:40 AM

Heh heh. Reminds me of what used to be on the Counterconvention site before the scumbags crushed dissent and pruned these groups that the Best of the Web clued us into back in September.

* The Contradictionist Society. "The Contradictionist Society is a group (well, not really a group but a loose collection . . . wait, it IS a group, or a club, or a society, yes, that's it, a society) of like-minded, or almost like-minded individuals who have agreed to disagree on the most relevent [sic] issues of today. Or yesterday. Or tomorrow. Our group (club, society, whatever) has come to the conclusion (the vote was 25 for to 25 against) that the US invasion of Iraq was a bad thing (or good thing depending on how you look at it).

* People for the Eating of Michael Moore. At a time when millions . . . no, wait, that's not enough for people to join our cause . . . HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of people are starving and forced to star in Sally Struthers informercials, PEMM is dedicated to killing two birds with one stone. Help make our world a better place.

* Rachel Corrie Memorial Protest. In memory of Rachel Corrie's noble sacrifice, we will staple Kraft Singles and other flat and squishy items onto random passerby [sic].

Posted by: Sortelli at February 6, 2004 at 03:40 AM

Another fan from greater Boston. The convention will be hilarious. Mayor "Mumbles" Menino is a piece of work. You gotta hear him speak. Frantic effort$ are being made to put the Big Dig in some $emblance of temporary order for the convention.

With luck, we'll have labor riots going on (city workers vs. Mayor), Gay Marriage protests of all kinds. And Kennedys running wild as there is a new special law allowing bars to stay open past 1AM just for the convention. Don't miss it!

Posted by: phil at February 6, 2004 at 04:11 AM

I am pleased to learn of this excellent new law.

Posted by: tim at February 6, 2004 at 04:14 AM

Boston libertarian voting for Bush reporting in. The only thing more hideously boring than Boston in August is the thought of hordes of Democrats drinking our beer and ogling our wimmen. I'd prefer the redcoats. They were less invasive, and they knew when to leave! :)

Looking forward to your "Fear and Loathing in Beantown" tour, sir. Avoid "Cheers", see the USS Constitution, and revere the excellent microbrews. Also pay respects to lovely Irish waitresses at the many pubs in town!

Posted by: M in boston at February 6, 2004 at 04:30 AM

Admiral Stockdale is a man who should NEVER be cast as "irrelevant," sir. I realize the jesting nature of your statement, but I consider it, still, offensive. The self-sacrifice of the Admiral should far outshine any momentary flustering.

To educate yourself, and perhaps gain a bit of respect for Admiral Stockdale, perhaps visit this page: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3404566/

Find a different icon to debase and mock, please. If for no other reason than out of respect for a man who has already paid a higher price than many for being the victim of circumstance.

Posted by: Einzelgaenger at February 6, 2004 at 04:54 AM

I think Dave Barry will be there. I am already planning for hangovers that will set off seismographs in China.

Posted by: Lileks at February 6, 2004 at 05:12 AM

Chalk me up as another Greater Boston fan (and I never voted for a Republican president before, but I will this year).

I can't imagine why you'd want to come here in July, but hey, I'm glad you will! The first beer's on me.

Daniel in Medford
(e-mail address without the hyphens)

Posted by: Daniel in Medford at February 6, 2004 at 05:36 AM

Hey Tim, you set up the registration crap yet? Is it tricky, just like the computers? Was already thinking I should go (never seen the Boston before, after all), but now this seals it. As long as you understand that "covering the Democratic convention in Boston" means "dressing the Foreigner in an 'I heart the Yankees' thong and parading him around Fenway park"....

Posted by: Matt Welch at February 6, 2004 at 05:40 AM

Good on ya, welcome back. In preparation for another OZ invasion, here's the Boston based Beer Advocate. Their reviews of brews, brew pubs, etc...should be worth the Tim time.


Posted by: Carl H. at February 6, 2004 at 05:45 AM

What would be interesting is if somehow they could schedule a Yanks/Sox three game series in Boston the same weekend as the convention...just to see which was more entertaining, and frankly, more relevant.

However, I am OUTRAGED that once again West Virginia is being subbed by the two parties. I'm taking my four electoral votes and going home...

Posted by: Jerry at February 6, 2004 at 06:33 AM

Actually Jerry, the Yanks-Sox will precede the DNC invasion by a day. The Yanks leave Fenway after a three-game sweep on July 25, and the Party's party starts July 26.



Speaking as a transplanted New Yorker who proudly wears his Bomber hat in the cheap seats of Fenway every year, I've got to say that the Sox fans' rep for mayhem is wildly overrated. The horde of homicidal Bronx fans imported in beer-soaked buses tends to have a chilling effect on local rowdies, for some strange reason ...

Posted by: M in boston at February 6, 2004 at 06:45 AM

As there seem to be a fair amount of us in the Boston Area who are regulars here maybe we should pool our efforts to give this man a brew and a dinner? It would be a modest price for us for Tim's sacrifice of putting up with us in such a setting.

Posted by: P. Ingemi at February 6, 2004 at 06:53 AM

Tim - You think you have seedy bars in Sydney? I'll show you a spot or two!

Posted by: Roger Bournival at February 6, 2004 at 07:03 AM

As a Southie native and current Northeastern student, let me clear up two things: The bars have always been open till 2, they are trying to get them open till 4 while the convention here (which is even better).

And M, if you think that "homicidal Bronx fans" put Sox fans in their place at Fenway, you haven't been there nearly enough. I worked the hot dog stand under the bleachers for 2 years, and every single half -inning of a NY-Bos game there would be cops dragging fans of both sides out the back gates in headlocks.

Posted by: pete at February 6, 2004 at 07:14 AM

Okay - now I can't wait for the conventions. I generally pay no attention at all because I find them to be so ridiculous - but THIS should be fun.

Posted by: Teresa at February 6, 2004 at 07:28 AM

Pete, I think the box score of arrests is about breakeven between Yanks and Sox fans. I was there three years ago when a major brawl broke out, and unfortunately, I think the Bronxsters started it. My comment was tongue-in-cheek, but to be honest, no one ever gave me a hard time at Fenway, not even so much as a dirty look, Yanks cap aside. All I ever got there was good conversations about baseball.

Posted by: M in boston at February 6, 2004 at 07:53 AM

This might even make the damn things interesting.

No, on second thought they'll suck like always, but a friend who's been to two as a Republican delegate says the whoring and drinking make up for it.

Posted by: LB at February 6, 2004 at 07:57 AM

"Set up a deal"? Why you fatcat mogul, Tim!

Posted by: A Token Lefty at February 6, 2004 at 09:22 AM

Tim... lemme buy you a drink when you;re in Beantown!

Posted by: James A. Wolf at February 6, 2004 at 09:25 AM

Another fan from the Greater Boston Area.

Boston is horrible for all but foot traffic these days, thanks to our Big Dig. I only drive into Boston now when I *absolutely* have no other choice. They are making progress with the Big Dig, but I really doubt all will be that great by the summer.

I do suggest you take in the Big Dig Museum. They found lots of interesting things while digging and have put them on display. Some of them, anyway. (I found it interesting.)It's also interesting to see how they were able to go about construction while keeping the city running. (Very sloooow, but running.)

I'd love to meet up with other Boston-area fans, but I decided to take my vacation while the DNC is here. I work in Cambridge and expect the commute will be worse than when the all the students arrive in Sept.. I'll take my laptop and keep up with all the goings on from the FAR western part of the state and then from out of state.

It's true what some have written about Boston's mayor. He has EARNED his nick of Mumbles Menino!
Some radio stations here get lots of mileage out of replaying some of his 'unique' sound bites. It's rumored he always speaks English, but I defy any English speaker to translate some of his more 'unique' utterings (mumblings).

Various city unions have him by the balls right now as they threaten a strike during the DNC. He is, so far, holding his ground and not yielding to whatever their demands are. So, there may be a strike.

There most certainly will be protests, pro and con, about gays being given the right to marry by our court. Probably will be other protests as well, since we have lots of activists for various causes in Boston.

Should be a fun time for all! The actual convention probably won't be as interesting as what takes place on the streets outside the convention hall.

Welcome to Boston to everyone who is coming. Sorry I'll be far away enjoying the peace and quiet.

Avoid the tourist traps like Fanuel Hall Marketplace. Fanuel Hall is worth seeing, but don't bother with the shops. Too crowded and too expensive. Very over-hyped.

Visit some of the neighborhoods like the North End or Chinatown. Better value for the money and MUCH better food. Visit South Boston. Great bars and food.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 6, 2004 at 09:31 AM

M: I hope you've bought an Aaron Boone shirt for this season.

I hear that guy's really popular in Massachusetts.

Posted by: Mork at February 6, 2004 at 09:44 AM

Thanks to everyone for all the fantastic background information, invites, and emails. I'm stunned. This convention -- or, as Chris points out above, the streets outside the convention -- will be a lunacy tour-de-force. I can't wait.

My one special Boston quest will be to hunt down master carpenter Norm Abrams. I believe he has unique election wisdom, for some reason.

Posted by: tim at February 6, 2004 at 09:55 AM

Tim! You're coming up to my neck of the woods! I'm about 20 miles north of Boston, I'd sure like to know where you'll be so I can drop by and say "Hey". Even though I drank my lifetime quota of booze over ten years ago I'll stand your drinks. An Aussie's money is no good as long as I'm there!

The mention of "Mumbles" Minino is "spot on". We had a big hoe down in Boston for the WORLD CHAMPION NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS recently. 1.5 million people and no Porta Johns. So Mumbles is defending that on local radio and says "we didn't have any pota potties (sic) because people can tip them over and use them as weapons".

news story:

A man brandishing a pota potty robbed a liquor store........

Just remember in Boston they're not "liquor stores" they are "packies" (short for package store)

Posted by: Two in the Hat at February 6, 2004 at 10:17 AM

Next to the scotch and cigars, Tim, pack the serapax, it will be hell amongs that rabble of leftoid delinquents.

Posted by: d at February 6, 2004 at 10:35 AM

I think you should also look up The Car Guys. I think they will provide the special insight you're looking for.

Posted by: Polly at February 6, 2004 at 10:37 AM

Gotham in August? I'll see you there, mate. I'll pack my spare liver.

Posted by: iowahawk at February 6, 2004 at 10:51 AM

That goes double for you, Lileks. I know a few GOP hotspots in the Village and the Meat Packing district.

Posted by: iowahawk at February 6, 2004 at 11:01 AM

I suggest a big drunkfest, perhaps more, for all interested parties. How about it, all?

Posted by: Roger Bournival at February 6, 2004 at 11:08 AM


Boone's not quite as popular as Grady Little, but close.

Maybe I can come up to the DNC convention as part of Robert Byrd's "entourage." I can fake being an ass-kissing Democrat who loves listening to his long-winded, tangential takes on subjects that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. He often reminds of a homeless guy ranting on a corner about the suspicious nature of the Queen of Diamonds, or something.

Posted by: Jerry at February 6, 2004 at 11:28 AM

I am so relieved you will be leaving Australia again, if only briefly. Our children will again be safe, if only for a short time.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 6, 2004 at 11:41 AM

After all, it's All About The Children...

Posted by: Roger Bournival at February 6, 2004 at 12:09 PM

Our children will again be safe, if only for a short time.

Sounds like somebody's trying to set you up for another phony paternity suit, Tim. I suggest demanding a DNA test if they can determine her kid's species.

Posted by: iowahawk at February 6, 2004 at 12:32 PM

We don't need a DNA test. An IQ test should do it. If Ms Divide's kid is more than 50% spaz, I'm not the father.

Posted by: tim at February 6, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Am I the only one who thinks that Phillippe looked a little like the angry Howard Dean in the Feb. 2 strip?

"I think everyone is disappointed by the failures of the current administration!" He's even pumping his little fist!

Posted by: Sean M. at February 6, 2004 at 02:27 PM

So Tim, have you worked out what visa you'll need? What's the US embassy saying this week?

Posted by: Tom at February 6, 2004 at 02:35 PM

It was nemesis - Andrea was there, she saw it.

If you sieze Miranda's frocks via a court order you'll find the evidence on one of them - unless she's already washed it, but I don't think does a lot of that.

And if you find any cigars, don't smoke them ...

Posted by: Arik at February 6, 2004 at 03:19 PM

I can see it now. Tim lans in Boston:

"Sir, we need to conduct a search."
"No problems, mate."
A long glance up and down Tim by the security officer.
"Why are you sweating so much?"
"Sweat?" Tim touches a finger to his temple, rubs it with his thumb, and gives it a quick sniff. "Oh, this is just oatmeal stout. It had no where else to go..."

Posted by: Jerry at February 6, 2004 at 03:47 PM

I'm not sure if it's legal for an Australian to vote for a 5-year old cartoon animal running for President, but if it is, then I want to vote for Phillipe.

Posted by: TimT at February 6, 2004 at 08:29 PM

Oh Arik, you had to remind me of that traumatic experience... My eyes! They still burn!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 6, 2004 at 10:43 PM

Just checked in at Achewood today. Check out Phillipe's vice-presidential candidate! You just gotta vote for him!

Posted by: TimT at February 7, 2004 at 07:49 AM

Mr. Bingley, Iowahawk, Tim,

I live in LA but I am in. I haven't been to NYC since 2000 - would love to return, especially for this.

Anybody else? Can we not outdo the Boston contingent in showing Tim a good time?

Posted by: Alice at February 7, 2004 at 03:08 PM

I'm very glad that Blair's fingerprints will at last be on file.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 8, 2004 at 01:12 AM

He's been to the States before, asshead, so obviously having his "fingerprints on file" wasn't a big worry. Ever been to the US? No? Why not? What do you have to hide?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 8, 2004 at 01:49 AM