"Home again, home again, jiggety jig."
Bad weather seems to follow us wherever we go. First Hurricane Isaac swept past us in Tampa, shortening the Republican Convention by a day. Then, some sort of offshoot of Isaac camped out near Charlotte during the Democratic Convention, causing the final night of festivities to be held indoors. And then, upon returning home, a tornado touched down about 100 blocks from my house in the Rockaways yesterday. Perhaps the gods are unhappy -- or at least uneasy -- after two weeks of speechifying and bloviating by America's best and the brightest.
Our Airbus home from Charlotte was filled with Democratic politicos and media hacks of all shapes and sizes. Noam Branson, the charming mayor of New Rochelle, sat next to me while a few rows ahead was Jack Lew, the White House Chief of Staff, with two incredibly large Secret Service agents.
Perusing Mayor Branson's blog, I noticed that his reflections on the convention echoed those of many Democrats: "I thought that President Obama fell just a little short of the standard set by the First Lady and Bill Clinton. But in that rarified company, third place ain’t bad." So it seems that both Obama and Mitt Romney were overshadowed by two Lions in Winter: Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood. Of course, Clinton was on-message while Eastwood veered so far off the map he ended up on Planet Mongo. (How wonderful is it that Eastwood's only interview after his speech was to his local paper, the Carmel Pine Cone?) The other unheralded speaker at both conventions was Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Has one person ever spoken at both conventions in the same year, let alone had the last word by delivering both closing benedictions? And the cardinal's political star will only burn brighter next month when he hosts the Al Smith dinner with both candidates.
It will take several more days to process everything that went on over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, we're all in recovery mode. I woke up on Saturday in a daze, briefly thinking there was a third convention that we were about to cover. And I still don't understand my dream last night in which I was playing Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and had forgotten all of my lines after the first act. There are a lot of loose ends that are flaying away inside many of us. Ultimately, I don't know if either one of these massive conventions changed much of the political dynamic but they showed that both politicians and the media can still put on one hell of a show. And the show must go on.