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A Taste Of Denver: Thank God It’s Over (1)

September 1, 2008

(note: this is the first of a series of articles on the recently completed Democratic Convention that nominated Barack Obama as its candidate for the presidency. It all happened so fast that it was a bit diffuclt to process…but i’ll try)

It’s over. Finally. The Denver Democratic Convention has receded into history.

The media hype is finally dying down and life in Denver can back to usual – whatever that is. The delegates and press have left, the media barrage slowed to a trickle, Invesco Stadium quickly cleaned up to host yesterday’s annual CU-CSU football game. No more overdone security, artificial (and unconstitutional) rules to keep demonstrators at bay. `Recreate 68’ – the bogus protest group – can can mercifully disintegrate to the oblivion it deserves.

If convention demonstrators were kept from the delegates, the lobbyists were bothered with no such restrictions. They had a field day, making a mockery of those insipid laws limiting campaign financing. They have already spent $1.5 billion in total on this presidential election, on their way to top the $2.8 billion spent (or at least officially reported) last year.

Through SEIU, the public employees union, Nancy and I had the possibility of witnessing history – of attending Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field with 85,000 others. We passed on that historic opportunity on hearing that we’d have to gather at 1 pm for an 8 pm speech. But the family was represented as Abbie, our younger daughter was present for the festivities and the speech.

Instead, I wound up seeing it at the Denver Press Club with a couple of good friends, together with whom I had drifted downtown. Beers in hand, we watched with about 50 others. Other than the one woman who commented loudly enough for all to hear `have you ever heard more bullshit?’- the rest of `the crowd’, mostly local journalists, seemed generally pro-Obama. The loudest cheers from that group erupted them came as Obama called for equal pay for equal work for women.

‘Little’ parties were taking place all over Denver this week, some hosted by corporations and their lobbyists, others by the politicans themselves. Nancy Pelosi held a major bash at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Norm Brownstein and Steve Farber, lobbyists and political players extroardinaire rented to modern art museum for a like event. This should come as no surprise. It was corporate lobbyists in large measure that had, despite laws to the contrary, almost entirely funded the Democratic National Convention, a tradition developed by the Clinton’s themselves to counter Republican corporate monetary contributions.

`In restaurants and hotels, the Financial Times (August 30, 2008) wrote, law makers mingled with lobbyists and other donors just as they do in Washington’. Among the other parties were JP Morgan’s `salute to women governors’, the Recording Industry Association’s concert featuring Kanye West. The California delegation was invited to a party hosted by ATT on Monday. The delegates were `greeted with goodies’ but the outside of the bags contained disclaimers `We [ATT] have been advised by counsel that we may not offer complimentary gift bags to public officials’ as if that somehow legitimized the gift giving.

Billy Tauzin, chief executive of the pharmaceutical lobby group PhRMA and scroundrel-extraordinaire of American politics, hosted a brunch, Tauzin, a Cajun born former US Congressman from Louisiana , retired from the US House of Representatives in 2005. Ten years prior, at sensing the winds of change, and claiming there was no place in the Democratic Party for `a moderate’ Democrat, he switched and became a Republican. It was reported that upon his retirement, the PhRMA offered Tauzin more than $2.5 million per year for his services, outbidding the Motion Picture Association of America, which had offered Tauzin $1 million to lobby for it.[1]

(to be continued)

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