That's it for the Republican National Convention, and that's it for Convention Season as a whole -- we'll all have to wait four more years for the circus to come back around again.
Could anyone dream up a one-two convention punch like this one, though? From Barack Obama's VP texting to the media camped out on Joe Biden's lawn to the Clinton drama (and yes -- catharsis) to the soaring spectacle of Invesco field, to the next-day bomb drop of John McCain's VP choice -- in the form of one helluva neutron bomb in Sarah Palin, who exploded on the national scene in all her wild and woolly Alaska glory, or at least as much as teams of reporters dispatched to Alaska have been able to dig up. Bristol! Levi! Troopergate! That speech! Mom, Moose-Hunter, Maverick! Barracuda! It almost made you forget there was a guy named John McCain...except for the fact that over 39 million people watched his speech last night -- topping Obama's record of the week before. Two words: Wow.
For me, I was just glad to be there and get a chance to soak it all up from the center of the action. I've still got tons of pictures to post (Jake Weisberg doing a heastand in the Oasis! Eugene Mirman kissing Jon Klein! Chad Hurley putting the moves on Henry Kissinger! Me and Rahm Emanuel! Okay, I know, now I'm just bragging. Me and Tommy Thompson?) -- so check this space over the weekend as I recuperate from caloric overload at the CNN Grill.
By now, journos, delegates and pols are catching the last flights out of Minneapolis (perhaps after one final annoying commute from St. Paul), and I just wanted to share one small farewell anecdote with you: As I hoisted my bags off the security conveyor belt and prepared to make a dash for my gate, I saw CBS' Rick Kaplan and NBC's David Gregory in the airport, walking along together and chatting. My reporter's instiinct kicked in, and I whipped out my camera like a weapon, ready to strike. But they looked so relaxed, finally escaping from two weeks of unrelenting coverage, and it was nice to see two rival networks strolling along, in the spirit of bipartisanship. So instead, I passed them and said hello, and made brief small talk, and went on my way. Then I shot 'em in the back, because like Sarah Palin, I like to toy with my quarry first.
Actually, as they retreated I realized they were probably the only two people in TV news who could make each other look normal-sized. So I snapped the picture -- not only as a fitting farewell shot for these crazy two weeks, but as a reminder that context and perspective are eveything. Without it, you can't always tell that, say, two guys walking together are actually giants, or, say, that someone reading a well-rehearsed speech off a teleprompter in front of a roaring crowd might not be. You can only realize it when you can see things in perspective, measure them up against each other, step back and see a fuller picture.
The pageantry of the conventions are now over, and now we get to pull back and see things in context, in frame set against each other, unscripted and engaging with the real world. That's how things work in the reality-based community, and for the next two months, that is where this race will be taking place. So - it will be interesting to see how everything looks -- in context.
Until then, I have only this to say: Oooh, barracuda!