At political conventions there are always people who have short term power because they get to make decisions about access. There is nothing more important in politics than access to some venue or a person. It’s how lobbyists make their living and how political staff people keep their candidates in the dark. But that’s another blob. Anyway, some of these people issue credentials, some (in the name of security) decide if your credential matches an area where you may want to sit or pass through and some are assigned to the ‘door’ outside at VIP clubs in the hall or outside at parties celebrating some person or organization. There are those people (usually volunteers) who use good judgment in their decision making and those who wouldn’t know a decision from an incision and isn’t it good that they are not doctors.
Yesterday I had two experiences that were perfect examples of good and bad political judgment. They were so distinctly different (and kind of inside politics) that I thought I would share them.
The Florida Delegation (Floor)
At the Pepsi Center, once you get through the overkill yet inadequately prepared security checkpoints, you are credentialed for different areas. The most important area is Podium. This credential allows you to actually get up on the podium and if you should so choose, wave to the crowd. You can’t do it when there is an important speaker but you can visit when some lesser VIP is blabbing about life, liberty, and their pursuit of some payoff. The next level is Backstage. This means you can be behind the podium (usually some team dressing area, but you can’t leap on to the stage.) The third level is a Floor pass. The floor is right in front of the podium and once you get there you can’t move. But it’s an important credential so you want everyone in the hall to see that you have it. From there, the delineations are guest passes, honored guest passes, press passes, camera platform and a whole range of other identifications. The important thing is the color of the pass – because again, that permits access to different areas.
Caroline Kennedy introduces Teddy (Podium)
Along with these credentials, there are tickets which get you into VIP areas where there is usually some kind of food, and the wine flows. Some of these suites have a view of the hall and some just have TV’s. The beauty of these suites is that you don’t have to mingle with the ordinary run of the mill delegate or guest. Which brings us to the point of my blob.
Iris on the "delegate bus"
I had a ticket for one of these areas and a very dear friend did not. So when we got to the door the person who was authorized to make the decision about who could come and go was fine with me, but not with him. We explained that we were old friends and wanted to spend some time together and after just a few minutes, she said, “sure come on in.” She used good reasonable judgment.
Much later in the evening, we decided to hit the party circuit and after a few rather disappointing efforts we went to the Mayor’s party. Another friend said to ask for his son because he was some humma in the Mayor’s office. Actually, we went because David wanted to tell the Mayor how screwed up everything was in Fort Denver. When we got to the door there were two young women who investigated the list of attendees and found we weren’t there. “Yes I know”, I told her but call Nathaniel and he’ll say it’s OK to let us in. Well, they couldn’t do that, but they called Bree. Another woman then appeared and announced that Bree was not to be called—but Bree showed up and they all chatted about when to call Bree, if they should call Bree, and like that. Finally, I interrupted and introduced myself and again said that they should call Nathaniel because we wanted to say hello. She refused to do this (she probably didn’t have access to Nathaniel) and began to lecture me on the rules of going to a party. Her lecture was nasty but not particularly interesting and it was so late that everyone was leaving and they were no longer serving, so we left. That was bad judgment. First, because I was going to tell Nathaniel—not only that she wouldn’t let us in but that she was nasty. And second, because the party was pretty much over and it was a no brainer. We would have said our hellos and goodbyes within minutes of one another. At some point she will say a foolish “no” to someone who cares or can impact on her career or life, and then she will understand about reasoned judgment.
By the way, last night the security people first tied the delegate buses up for hours and then, after the convention, stopped the buses from running. We opted for a bicycle rickshaw with a most entertaining and reasonable driver – who despite many requests had the good judgment to select us as his passengers. We’re just sayin...Iris
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