2:20 PM PDT
What’s the problem with the Republican party and bloggers?
Here on what is passing for “Bloggers Row,” there is plenty of grumbling about the accommodations supplied by our hosts. Some descriptives are not printable. Most reflect a huge disappointment with the way the GOP has shunted most of the bloggers off to the side, far from the action, dispersed throughout a gigantic “Press Filing Center” where the working media comes to hook up to the net and file their stories.
Josh Trevino of Joshua Trevino.com thinks that the blogger setup at this year’s convention compares very poorly with the 2004 GOP confab in New York.
“It was better in 2004,” says Trevino. “There was a sense of community.” The bloggers were all together in one place, located next to “Radio Row” where talk radio hosts were on the air constantly. Besides, there is a natural symbiosis between bloggers and talk radio that worked to give the pajamas crowd the feeling that they were part of the event.
The dungeon that the GOP has put bloggers in this time around would be familiar to Torquemada and his buddies who made the Spanish Inquisition such a great party. And the labyrinth one has to navigate to find the darn place would tax the abilities of a carrier pigeon. I honestly felt like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs when I went out for a quick smoke. Not that it would do any good. The food on our level is so bad that I have no doubt some ravenously hungry media type would have preferred the breadcrumbs to the greasy, tasteless crud they were serving at the kiosks. If I wanted the same stuff they serve at a hockey game, I would go to the Libertarian convention down the way.
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs found herself having to sit on the floor to blog. She wrote the RNC and got a nice little note back apologizing for the fact that they don’t take bloggers very seriously. They were contrite that they could “only work with the resources” they were given and said they would try to bring some people by to interview. Pamela is still waiting.
Another blogger, Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog, wrote this on her website:
I’m now posting at the Press Filing Center, which is in a separate building from where the convention is being held. The Press Filing Center has free internet linkup, which costs $800 at the Press center. There is no video at all of any happenings at the convention, unlike CPAC, which had live broadcast of the speeches. The only video available comes from CNN and CSpan, which anyone could watch from their home. To see any of the convention in real time we’d have to move to the regular seats at the Xcel Center with no means of posting.
Bloggers could do just as well “covering” the convention by sitting in their hotel room. Or better yet, they could have saved a lot of money and stayed home and done as good a job. No doubt the McCain people did not mean to slight the bulk of the online community. Indeed, Pajamas Media has a booth for the brand new PJTV above the floor of the Xcel Center, while some of the larger blogs have excellent accommodations.
But the campaign should understand that all the smaller bloggers together make up a considerable force on their own. And they are not happy with what many of them feel is the disrespect shown by the GOP toward the majority of the online community.
9:32 AM PDT – The Party is Back On
The GOP convention will get into full swing today following the expulsion of a very uninvited guest.
Hurricane Gustav’s inopportune appearance during the week of the Republican convention may have seemed to some that the Lord was on the side of the Democrats — at least several gleeful Dems thought as much. Party leaders caught gloating over the misfortune of their political opponents (not to mention the tragedy of people caught in the storm’s wake) will not have to pay much of a price for their insensitivity.
The media doesn’t cover such inconvenient story lines and therefore have joined in flogging the meme that the convention is now ruined and John McCain is in trouble. I don’t see that. The delegates I have talked to have been upbeat and still excited about getting the convention into full swing. They are really looking forward to tomorrow night when Governor Palin is going to speak. Judging by the anger I hear about the left and the media smears and other attempts to belittle her, the Xcel Center will be rocking when Palin hits the podium and begins her address. These Republicans are going to show the world that they are behind Palin 100% — good news for John McCain, who is being skewered for what the media have apparently decided was a lax vetting process.
That theme has taken hold and the Obama camp and their friends in the blogosphere have picked up the media battle cry and are giving McCain a very rough time of it. There are even some delusional Democrats who believe that either McCain is going to have to eventually dump Palin or that the Democratic smear machine will cause the Alaskan governor so much grief that she will take herself off the ticket. Neither is likely and the speculation represents a smear in and of itself.
The idea that McCain would throw a running mate off the ticket would mean that he was conceding the election — not very likely. And anyone who believes that Sarah Palin would remove herself from the ticket needs professional help. Those who underestimate how tough this woman is will rue the day they did so. And that goes double for Senator Biden. He is walking into a bear trap at that veep debate in October and if his nauseating condescension toward his counterpart continues, he will wish he was back in Delaware chasing ambulances for a living.There isn’t the excitement level that there was at the Democratic convention. But there is little doubt that many of these Republicans are ready to roar once things get underway tonight.