Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Meet the press

My workstation in the Press Filing Center (photo: North Star Liberty)I got a taste of what it's like to be a member of the credentialed press corps at a national political party convention this week. As a blogger at North Star Liberty, I submitted an application to the convention host committee, and was accepted.

I picked up my credentials, attended CivicFest, went to two private parties, blogged next to two foreign journalists (whatever language they were speaking, it was not Latin-based or Asian), and listened to speeches from President and Laura Bush, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Fred Thompson, and Sen. Joe Lieberman from up in the nosebleed section. I learned that it takes me a lot more time to write and post than my fellow bloggers Derek Brigham and Marty Andrade.

I went through airport-like security, saw Secret Service agents in tactical gear, a Coast Guard vessel patrolling the Mississippi River with tripod-mounted machine guns, and spotters on the roof of the Xcel Energy Center with tripod-mounted binoculars. I saw police bicycle and mounted patrols but only saw the anarchists, riot squads, tear gas, and explosions on television.

Kellogg Blvd. and West Seventh Street (photo: North Star Liberty)

I went from too much fabulous free food and open bars to a $4 Rice Crispy Bar and risking dehydration-induced "convention breath" while blogging in the press filing center at the convention venue.

I went to a blogger breakfast hosted by RedState and Google, where Fred Thompson spoke and took questions, and a National Taxpayers Union (NTU) happy hour at The Liffey on West Seventh Street, where Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) delivered a pro-tax cut, anti-pork barrel spending message. The NTU is the ideological godfather to our own Taxpayers League of Minnesota and other taxpayer groups across the country.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (photo: North Star Liberty)

I ate up the convention edition periodicals from the National Journal, Congressional Quarterly, and Roll Call, and hunted online for late-breaking blog fodder by continually cycling through the official convention web site, The Drudge Report, Fox News, True North, Real Clear Politics, Politico, C-Span, and RedState.

I saw the hair and makeup stations, the computers, telephones, lights, cameras, and other equipment belonging to media from around the world, including Al Jazeera, that crammed the sports spectator luxury suites, turning them into broadcast suites.

If I was younger, single, and childless, I would try to find a full-time job in "politics." After this week, I can begin to imagine dealing with the travel, late nights, weird food, intellectual stimulation, and long BlackBerry-connected days as a lifestyle. It's another world — but what a world.

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