Conventional wisdom holds that the Democrats have a good shot this year, unless they somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For instance, by embarrassing themselves with stupid policies.
Of course, we know that could never happen.
Dateline: Denver. The Democratic convention — once seen as an arena for the apocalyptic battle between Clinton and Obama, now seen as an opportunity to profess unity, smother dissenters, and mutter pleaseGoddon'tletusfuckitupthistime like an unmedicated derelict.
Are plans proceeding apace?
Well . . . sort of.
First, local authorities have thoughtfully set up a comfort center for protesters. It's called a "Public Viewing Area," no doubt in part because "Free Speech Zone" is in our post-ironic age seen as doubleplusungood. It's a chain-linked enclosure (or possibly chicken wire — no easy jokes, Republicans!) in a parking lot, the reasonable proximity of which to the convention is in dispute. Now, no doubt the Secret Service has some hand in this, but a lot of the credit goes to Denver's administration, which is headed, I must add, by a Democratic mayor.
Second, tragically, the convention planners have been thwarted in their attempt to find fanny packs that are both organic and union made. Apparently the organic ones are made by indentured servants and the union ones are made out of medical waste, or something. That's a real setback, because when Americans look for leadership — when they raise their eyes hopefully to find people who can inspire them, defend their children and values, fight adversity, and achieve prosperity — they naturally look for the people wearing fanny packs. Now, there are some minor differences of opinion — Naderites only want people who wear them in the front, for instance — but generally it's a sign of star quality equal only to a flag pin. Maybe they can find organic union man-purses.
Third, in a more heartening development, the Democratic elite has food orthodoxy and calorie symbolism well in hand, thanks to Director of Greening (no. really.) Andrea Robinson:
No fried food. And, on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white." (Garnishes don't count.) At least 70% of ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel burned during transportation. "One would think," says Mr. Burns, "that the Democrats in Denver have bigger fish to bake — they have ruled out frying already — than mandating color-coordinated pretzel platters."
Democrats say the point is to build habits that will endure long after the convention. To that end, the city has staged "greening workshops" attended by hundreds of caterers, restaurant owners and hotel managers. "It's the new patriotism," Mayor Hickenlooper says.
Laura Hylton, general manager of Biscuits & Berries catering, agrees in principle. But she has been testing her recipes using local ingredients for weeks and still can't get the green peppercorn sauce right when she uses white Colorado wine. The state's high-altitude wine industry took off in the early 1990s and produces some award-winning labels, but Ms. Hylton says diplomatically, "It's a little…lacking. Our wineries out here aren't what you'd see in California or France."
Joanne Katz, who runs the Denver caterer Three Tomatoes, will take one for the green team by removing her fried goat-cheese won tons with chipotle pepper caramel sauce from the menu.
With attention to detail like this . . . who can be against them?
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