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The Iowa Straw Poll and the National Political Conventions

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Xavier Becerra looks around the set up for Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

And though journalists complain about the logistical nightmares of conventions, most reporters love them. They like the excitement, the easy access to interviews and the opportunity to bump into an officeholder or insider who may give them a tip or point them to a story. And face it, some journalists are celebrities who love being the center of attention at conventions.

Weather shortened this year's Republican event from three days to four, just as the Labor Day holiday has shortened the Democratic gathering, and it's clear that nothing has been lost. It's not as if a fourth night or a fifth or a sixth would make any of the speeches more effective or make it more likely that the party's message would reach persuadable voters.

Maybe I'm in the minority on this, but I wouldn't miss the hours of pandering to supposedly key groups or the predictable speeches by sitting Members of Congress or state officeholders. I wouldn't miss the parade of speakers telling me how poor they were growing up or how many challenges they have overcome.

Keep the candidate videos and the speeches by the nominees for vice president and president. And by all means, keep the balloons. As a country, we need less politics and more balloons.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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