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Dateline Tampa: Should We Still Have Conventions?

In many ways, the funniest character to make his appearance here is my hometown mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. For reasons unknown (okay, maybe because he's Hispanic) the L.A. mayor has been appointed the Democratic Party counter-representative here in Tampa. Never mind that Los Angeles is an economic disaster area almost, but thankfully not quite, resembling Detroit. "Hizzoner" actually stood among one of those reporter gaggles, holding forth on his dubious fiscal views. (I actually was in that gaggle and asked Villaraigosa a question about all the empty storefronts in our home city. He gave me a look like Linda Blair in The Exorcist and turned away without answering.)

But back to the question of the relevance of conventions. At least they give the candidates a chance to give speeches for national audiences. Tonight we have Chris Christie, Ann Romney, Nikki Haley, and our own Janine Turner.

I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Ann Romney, because what may perhaps be the greatest calumny of the many Obama-instigated calumnies this year is the so-call Republican "war on women." It shouldn't fall on one person to counter this propagandistic nonsense, especially since there is a line-up of women tonight, but unfortunately Mrs. Romney has been put to a great degree in that position. I have suspicion, however, that she will be up to the task.

So I guess I'm still skirting the question. Are conventions worth it? I'm not ready to answer yet. Ask me again on Friday.

More from Roger : Video: Encountering Protesters at 2012 GOP Convention