Once upon a time we might have imagined a 2008 Democratic National Convention that would grab the country with the force of Senator Obama's inspiring spirit. And that could still happen. But face it, it's been awhile since we saw signs of any Obama magic. My pessimistic Down With Tyranny colleague Ken is especially worried about a repeat of 2004, where the Democrats had a perfectly pleasant, correct convention, which passed almost unnoticed-- except by the Republican commentators hired by the networks to trash it-- after which the Republicans raised the roof off New York's Madison Square Garden, with the help of barn-burners like Rudy "9/11 Is My Middle Name" Giuliani and Zell "I'll Do Anything for Attention" Miller.
Ken fears that this year the pollsters may need microscopic instruments to measure the "bounce" the Democrats get from the convention. And then he encountered an idea on an online list. Convention delegates and other attendees were being encouraged to come to Denver armed with keychains loaded with 10 or 12 or however many keys you'd need to honor the Many Homes of John and the lovely Cindy McCain. It was suggested further that the keychains and keys be the biggest and noisiest keychains and keys possible. (One list member recalled the brightly colored plastic key set -- Learning Center's First Teether Keys she'd bought for her infant daughter.)
Then another list member came up with the killer idea: During the convention, have everyone jangle their keys every time the name of the Man of Who-Knows-How-Many Homes is mentioned.
It would be great television. It's reported that SEIU is bringing massive supplies of key rings and keys to Denver for distribution. Take it that one step further, and the media would love it, the public would see that we Democrats really do know how to have fun (and would also be reminded of who this "straight-talking" supposed man of the people McCain really is), and-- best of all-- the Republicans would go nuts.
"The Republicans would do it in a heartbeat," Ken says, but he fears that the Dems running the convention would find it too "rowdy" or even "disrespectful." He points out that "respect" is about the last thing the Repugs will be showing when they evoke the name of Senator Obama. Neither of us can tell you exactly how many keys to put on the key ring; McCain still professes not to know; but my guess is... 13. There are some clues here: